Vincent Turner is a 15+ years fintech entrepreneur. His first company, Pisces, which he started at age 21 in 1999, built mortgage software used by over 90% of Australian banks, processing $50bn/year in mortgages. In 2010 he moved to San Francisco and set up Planwise, again taking venture investment, to build consumer financial software. While in SF he founded SF Fintech, the 3rd largest fintech group globally. Vincent is an active investor and adviser to early stage companies across a number of verticals including energy, sustainability and fintech and also is the host of the Shape the System podcast.
In this episode we explore Turner’s decision to leave university at the age of 21 to pursue a business idea of selling his messenger technology to investors and how 20 years later he has become an innovator in the finance and property industry with UNO Loans, which is Australia’s first Active Home Loan Manager, launched in mid 2016 and has secured > $50m in funding from Westpac.
After returning from Silicon Valley and launching his company uno in 2016, Turner rediscovered his passion for helping people find the best home loans and offering the best financial services available on the market.
In this episode we discover how Turner plans to make his customers the happiest home loan customers in the business, whilst getting some insight into Turner’s own property investing journey. He jumps into some of his most challenging investing moments and gives some tips on how to find the best deals and how to know when you’re making the wrong decision.
Vincent Turner (00:00):
I had developed some messaging technology and we, my friend and I, had been like, ‘Have you got a patent on that technology?’ We'd sold it to a few real estate agents and about four weeks later we pitched them and some of their investors and they ended up just writing us checks on the spot.
This is Property Investory where we talk to successful property investors to find out more about their stories, mindset and strategies.
I’m Tyrone Shum and in this episode we’re speaking with Vincent Turner, director and founder of four tech companies. We explore Turner’s decision to leave university at the age of 21 to pursue a business idea of selling his messenger technology to investors and how 20 years later he has become an innovator in the finance and property industry.
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Turner has undertaken many roles within his businesses, but with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry he understands that the small components cannot fly under the radar.
Vincent Turner (00:20):
I'm the founder of uno and that's my fourth tech company. So, being an entrepreneur… a tech founder, for 20 years of four different businesses, I'm currently focused on the innovation part of what we do. My official title, I think if you went to my LinkedIn, which is founder and director of uno, what my role predominantly is is working on these key things that are kind of, I hate the word special projects, but it's those things that have to be done that don't really fit in someone's role. And if someone does them, it can be a real game changer for the business, like some of the tech we launched last year.
So how did he get started and what made him so successful even after the 2001 market crash?
Vincent Turner (01:13):
It sort of happened by accident, which I think is how a good chunk of my life has happened. I was at university in Perth and I was studying finance and it was in 1999, during the first tech boom. I walked into the wrong lecture theater and there were some guys giving a talk saying, ‘Hey, when you finish your commerce degree, come and join us and become an advisor’, at a financial advisory firm...I said ‘I've got a startup idea. Can I come and pitch you my idea?’ And the guy's like, ‘sure’. I went to lunch about two weeks later and I pitched these guys my idea, I had developed some messaging technology and we, my friend and I, had been like, ‘have you got a patent on that technology?’
Vincent Turner (01:50):
We'd sold it to a few real estate agents and about four weeks later we pitched them and some of their investors and they ended up just writing us checks on the spot. So I left university to go and pursue this business idea and then the investors ended up putting another million dollars in, I'm 21 at this point. I was told ‘You need to leave university and go to Sydney’. So that was business number one. Then we found ourselves in 2001, when the tech bubble burst, we had money, we had customers, we had revenue. We were going well, but the market became terrible. So we started thinking, what else can we do? Given we have all these things and we pivoted.
Vincent Turner (02:29):
We pivoted to mortgage software because all of our customers were banks. So we had an opportunity to build mortgage software for one of the banks and then ultimately all of them and then that became the second business if you like. So it was the same business, but it was a totally different shift to what we were doing. We ended up having about 90% of the banks on that platform. We're processing about 50 billion a year in mortgages through that platform so it was pretty significant at the time. Then I ended up getting sick of that so I decided to leave that business altogether. In fact, I walked away from it. I got nothing out of it in the end because we had so much investment and a number of other factors. I was also young and didn't negotiate very well.
Vincent Turner (03:11):
I ended up learning a lot and executing a lot and getting a reputation in mortgages and finance. Then I went to San Francisco, originally to do industrial design and then decided that I didn’t want to do that. I had an opportunity to do financial technology when FinTech was becoming a word, so I started a company called Planwise, which was focused on helping people make better financial decisions. This was partially motivated by a very terrible property decision I made a few years prior, which we can talk about in more depth later. In that business, we did the standard startup thing in the Valley, which would entail raising money and getting the press and we did develop some really cool tech, but ultimately the business model wasn't right. It was clear we actually needed to be in financial services and I realised my network in Australia was much better than it was in the U.S and that we would need a lot of capital, which I couldn't get in the U.S. I had an opportunity to come back to Australia in 2015 and ended up getting that company and that technology and rolling that into uno, which is what I'm now focused on with the money.
SILICON VALLEY PROVED TO BE TOUGH, EVEN FOR VINCENT TURNER
How did Turner do in Silicon Valley and does he consider it a valuable experience?
Vincent Turner (04:23):
Silicon Valley is very good at funding things with a lot of capital. Once they're already working, there's a lot of capital over there for that. There is a lot of capital for early stage ventures or models that don’t work yet. But those models tend to look a certain way. There are people who go there without any of these things and raise money and do well, but I didn't. Typically you've come out of a particular college such as Stanford, or you've worked at a particular company such as Facebook, Google or Apple or you've had an exit previously. If you can get through those lenses then U.S investors in Silicon Valley will invest in you. I didn't fit the mold there and although I was still able to raise money, it was not from the Valley. I raised it from a variety of different places in my own networks, and it was surprising, but I understand it.
Tyrone Shum (05:22):
Let’s take a look at what a typical day for Turner looks like?
Vincent Turner (05:37):
The kind of knowledge of how mortgages works and what we're trying to achieve, even though I'm not in the day to day, is still in my head. A lot of what I'm doing day to day is getting that information out of my head so that the people who actually deal with it day to day can design the software, drive the customer experience and execute the marketing. Although I am a founder and am quite founder-led, I stepped back from the CEO role about two years ago. I think a lot of my days entail meetings with people in the business who need to get doing their job, I need to hand over those day to day roles to them. I'm also doing a lot with external stakeholders, whether it's people who might want to invest in the company, who we might want to partner with, or banks who you do a lot of work with. We're trying to do more work, we want to do more than just send them loans.
Vincent Turner (06:28):
We want to actually help them with their technology. So a lot of it feels like enterprise business development… taking a lot of calls and following through with the process. Uno is probably where I spend the bulk of my time, but I've invested in probably about a dozen companies, a half a dozen of which are active at the moment and I'm often helping them. I probably spend about four to six hours a week helping other entrepreneurs, which I enjoy and have a hard time saying no to. Separately, I run a podcast as well. I interview people who I think are doing impactful stuff, which is really interesting to me and I'm not doing enough of that myself. I also have a belt that I'm going to launch soon as a side project.
Along with many other projects, Turner enjoys helping out other companies and entrepreneurs, even if he doesn't quite have the capital to keep them running.
Vincent Turner (07:24):
I'm not a full time angel investor. I don't have the capital to do it to be perfectly honest. I'm kind of opportunistic, wherein if I see a company or a brand that I love, that's doing really cool stuff that I think I can help out with, due to my 20 year background in start ups, I usually just find them on Twitter and let them know i love what they're doing. If it turns out that they're raising money at the level and stage that I can play at and be meaningful from a helping perspective, I will usually ask if I can put a small amount of money in. It's never enough for them to run their business, but it's more to get me a seat at the table because I like what they're doing.
Turner prefers to focus on the problem solving of tech startups, rather than the stories of rags to riches.
Vincent Turner (08:35):
I’ve lived in San Francisco and I think we do have a lot of startup culture and some aspects of it are good, but I think getting too focused on the rags to riches story and hearing about when someone ran out of money and what they did next I’m less interested in, as opposed to finding out what problem are you solving? Who does it impact? How are you rethinking the way the world works? Those stories I think are far more fascinating and reach people in a different way. There's only so many times you can listen to the story of ‘I ran out of money and then I had this big break and now I'm worth a billion dollars.’ I think a lot of people want to hear about something they can potentially relate to as well.
TURNER HAD TO FOLLOW HIS INSTINCTS AND MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS
With doctors for parents, Turner was expected to study medicine, or at least finish his university degree. But that never stopped him.
Vincent Turner (09:42):
My parents are both doctors and they wanted their sons to go into medicine, one of us at least, yet all of us ended up in IT. So I joke that we have a full stack family. My younger brother is a front end engineer or full stack engineer and my older brother is a CIS admin. At one point, at the first company that I mentioned, I was actually hiring both of them. So I dropped out of university and I was hiring and employing my two brothers who had completed their degrees. My mother was like ‘Oh my God’, and just couldn't handle it.
Vincent Turner (10:20):
In Perth I had a lot of exposure early on to hospitality and founder-led businesses like cafes and businesses with a high focus on service and professionalism and really strong work ethics. I think that sets you up in everything that you do, not just in business, but in life generally. I had some really hard bosses, but I now look back and realise that these people helped to make who I am in terms of my work ethic, my attention and drive to get things done or to do things a good way or the right way or even the better way.
Vincent Turner (11:01):
My parents are interesting because they’re both doctors but my mum also did another degree and has a massive interest in classical music. My dad is a Renaissance man, he played four or five instruments and was self taught on all of them, but was competent in piano, guitar, violin and the clarinet. He also designed his own printed circuit boards to make his own valve guitar amplifiers. So he's a doctor, but he said, ‘I want these guitar amplifiers, because I want to make my own amps, but to do that I need to have a printed circuit board and will therefore need to know how to design it and then handcraft them.’ We grew up in a well-to-do suburb, but we had a metal lathe in our garage. My dad’s attitude has meant that me and my brothers are quite curious in nature. We want to understand how something works. I think that attitude sort of grounds you as well.
SUCCESS IS BORN OUT OF PASSION
Tech was always in the cards for Turner and at the age of 17 he built his first business from his home in Perth.
Vincent Turner (12:17):
We had a computer very early on, since the year I was born which was in 1978. From my memory we all basically learned to program before we learned to read and write and both of my brothers are engineers effectively, so it was a strong engineering culture. In fact, mum used to ban computer talk from the dinner table. So I think it was inevitable that I was going to end up in tech. I got the opportunity to do so in 1995, when i built a real estate portal, which didn’t exist in Perth at the time.
Vincent Turner (12:47):
It was the first real estate portal and it was about the same time REA got started and we used it to track and trace the street directory and actually make it so that you could search by map. So you could essentially go into a suburb and click on it and it would say for example, there's five properties. This was 10 years before Google maps even existed, and these were the kinds of things we were doing as 16 and 17 year olds. The way I describe Perth is that it's an awesome place to grow up, it’s an awesome place to raise kids and it’s an awesome place to grow old, but that bit in the middle is kind of sleepy.
Turner prefers the fast paced lifestyle to match his business ventures.
Vincent Turner (13:40):
After moving away, a lot of people will go back because the whole Western Australia down South region is an amazing lifestyle, but I found my calling more at the pace and the level in Sydney and in San Francisco. The move to Sydney was like my escape. It's kind of natural, but I think a lot of the ethics around how to think about things came from growing up in Perth and the environment I grew up in.
And how did Turner’s parents feel about what happened next?
Vincent Turner (14:13):
I dropped out of university and went to Sydney and I never went back to university after that. My Mum is not happy about my decision to leave. When meeting new people my Dad will tell them not to bring up university because my mum still hasn’t gotten over it.
He never had plans to follow in his parents footsteps.
Vincent Turner (14:32):
Although I didn't get into medicine, I didn't particularly want to study medicine or Law or engineering and so the only degrees left after that were arts or commerce. I liked business, I had my first business when I was 14 and I was selling almond shortbread to the deli that I also worked at. I've always had businesses because you can always do something.
The market crash in 2001 changed Turner’s plans for his messaging software but also presented him with new opportunities.
Vincent Turner (15:40):
The messaging lasted for a few years and then we had the tech crash in 2001. In 2002 we had money in the bank and contacted Westpac who was one of our messaging clients and they expressed interest in trying to replace all of the paper in the mortgage application process and asked if we could help them solve that problem. The other guy I was in business with was a mortgage broker who wrote a lot of business at Westpac, which is why we had that opportunity. So we responded by saying the problem you have is you're trying to get the broker to do something that serves your interest, but you haven't designed it for their problem, right? The broker is with the customer, they don't want to have to learn a new system and they want to keep a copy of the data and reuse the data.
Vincent Turner (16:19):
So we designed a bit of software that did that and just as a byproduct happened to send you the data electronically, which brokers loved and so we ended up mandating it. This became a bit of business. My first real business was the digital business in property and so this meant that everything was coming full circle back into property and mortgages. Even as a 22, 23 year old, I was quite comfortable walking into a boardroom with a bank or lender which had people aged 30 and 40 years old sitting in and selling them what we were doing. I wasn't uncomfortable in that situation, even when that industry is considered quite self-contained.
Vincent Turner (17:04):
Most of the people who were in that industry 20 years ago are still in that industry and so if you're in that industry and active for five to seven years, then you can develop a network and a reputation of knowing if a person is straight up or if they can deliver or if their technology is good, or if they tend to innovate, whatever the label is. So a lot of time between 2002 to 2009 was just executing that. But to be fair, I made a lot of terrible decisions with regards to how we raise capital and who our shareholders were because I was so focused on the problem and not disrupting our employees, that I probably missed the wood for the trees in setting up the company properly and negotiating better for my own share of the company. Eventually I thought, I just don't want to be here anymore.
TURNER’S FIRST COMPANY WAS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE MORE THAN ANYTHING
Tyrone Shum (17:51):
How did Turner’s first company come about?
Vincent Turner (18:02):
Well kind of organically. So the first messaging company, Pisces, was started by myself, a friend from uni and my mortgage broker at the time. The guy who I was at uni with, a great friend of mine, ended up going back to uni. So he basically stepped out of the company about two years later. Then my other partner who was the mortgage broker stayed on for about another three or four years and that's when we transitioned from messaging to mortgages. That company then had good customers that had good intellectual property and had some pretty reasonable revenue. It wasn't profitable, but it had good revenue and good recurring revenue. When my investors wanted to get out, we brought new investors in and then we merged with two or three other companies that created a company with four companies, all of which were sort of doing okay, but not good enough.
Vincent Turner (18:52):
A lot of the work that needed to be done to rationalize those companies really didn't happen fast enough. I was the CEO, I wasn't driving the ship. As a result, it wasn't run as well as it could have been. The strategy was to have all of these companies that are all kind of semi-related and then we'll reduce their overheads and make that efficient, which didn't really happen. Because of this we had a board and it came from the four companies that we had pushed together and probably had about 80 shareholders. It was all over the shop. There were some good components of the company but they weren't clearly strategically aligned.
Tyrone Shum (19:31):
And how does he feel about the transitions his company took and some of the mistakes that were made?
Vincent Turner (19:40):
If you do go through such a busy period and make lots of mistakes during it, there is a learning experience that comes out of it, of what not to do in a company in terms of how to set it up, relationships with co founders, investors and how to run boards. You do learn very quickly, in about four or five years what works and what doesn't work, and that helps you the next time you run a business. I didn’t make any of those mistakes in the U.S, i made other mistakes but I managed them a lot better, especially inside uno. After 20 years I've finally managed to get through a huge number of learning experiences that you need to have gone through in order to properly set up a company and run a company. You can read all the books and listen to all the podcasts you want, but you've got to live the experiences.
Tyrone Shum (20:23):
Turner believes that COVID 19 has definitely accelerated the move from manual steps to digital.
Vincent Turner (20:54):
I think a lot of what a broker does is dictated to them by a lender. Interestingly, the events of this year with regards to Covid have accelerated a lot of the things that lenders have been saying that they're going to do for years, because they became no longer just important, but imperative. So I think we're finally seeing a turning point on a lot of those things in terms of the manual steps that are involved, including filling out forms, getting identified, going and getting evaluations, signing documents, those four or five key moments that are very manual. More and more lenders are moving more of those steps to become more digitized and it's happening gradually. It reminds me of Bill Gates talking about how things don't seem to change much in the short term, but in the long term, they change a lot. I think we will be sitting here having this conversation in five years and there will be lenders who you sign in and you connect your bank accounts, and then they issue you with an offer document that you sign on your phone and then the money's in your account the next day and they’ve paid out the other lender. I think we’re three to five years away from that being a reality for some lenders and that's enough because as soon as some do it then others have to do it.
Tyrone Shum (22:10):
And yet he understands that this system is very fragile and there are a lot of risks associated.
Vincent Turner (22:51):
A lot of it's plumbing. You want money to get from one place to another but in some cases you're working with 20, 30 year old systems. PEXA is the system that does e-conveyancing and does about 70% of conveyancing, which is the act of transferring one thing to the other. 10 or so years ago that system didn't exist and so the idea of having digital settlements doesn't exist until you have the plumbing to support multi-party digital sediments. It's easy to gloss over and say, just do it, however the number of people who are involved in the process that cannot be done incorrectly, or people lose their houses and potentially their livelihood, those things are sensitive. There's a lot of reputational risk associated with not doing it correctly and so there's a lot of people in certain parts of that business who are saying this system isn't broken as far as we're concerned from a risk lens. So why would we do it? It's not until you get a cut of it, that it becomes an imperative to do it.
Tyrone Shum (23:50):
What is Turner’s company UNO doing in terms of streamlining the process?
Vincent Turner (23:55):
I think a lot of what we've been doing at uno is looking at the digitisation of the mortgage transactional part, which is the narrow part of the overall period in which you have debt is going to happen at the pace it's going to happen. As long as uno is helping to bring it to the market and is interacting with the partners and bringing them on that journey, but we can only move it so fast. We can't make the horse drink. What we can do is understand what our role is and a lot of uno’s focus and where I've been focused for the last two years is what is uno doing for you that a broker can't do for you. We've redefined that role as helping you get a good deal at the moment you get a good deal.
Vincent Turner (24:35):
We have a dedicated broker and we help you to do that in a digital way, you don't have to see us. So if that suits you, then that's why we're better at that moment. But the thing we do that other people don't do is we continuously monitor this deal, to make sure you're always getting a good deal, not just at the moment where you get a deal and so much of our innovation and focus has been around owning that space, which has nothing to do with the moment at which you transact. Eventually it does lead to that moment, obviously. So I think we're playing in the space where we can control the pieces of the puzzle rather than saying, ‘Oh, we'll have propositions hopefully when the lenders let us do this thing’.
Tyrone Shum (25:08):
What does he think of third parties in this process?
Vincent Turner (25:18):
The problem with being a broker is that your ability to innovate in that area is heavily dependent on them and once they do it, they'll let everyone do it. So it can never be a competitive advantage anyway. So you have to focus on doing that, but what else are you doing?
**PROPERTY INVESTING JOURNEY**
WORKING WITH FRIENDS ISN’T ALWAYS FUN
Tyrone Shum (25:30):
His property investment journey began in 1995 at the age of 18.
Vincent Turner (25:56):
The first one went okay, but I didn't actually buy the first one. A friend of mine wanted to buy it and he didn't have enough to make that work. I think it was in 1995 when Telstra floated and a few other companies that were privately or government owned companies went. I traded those companies and spent five grand that I got from my parents when I was 18 and made $20,000. I've done a few good trades, a couple of them at IPOs. So I've got $20,000 and my friend, who I actually met on a plane to Canada said ‘Oh, I need to buy a property and I don't have enough, can you help?’
Vincent Turner (26:34):
I'm the godfather to his kids now and so I was like, ‘Oh, that sounds good’ and so he bought a property and I put in for effectively a third of it and was responsible for a third of it. It was a villa in Perth and we bought it for $243,000 from memory. Then we knocked the wall out, put a kitchen in and then put in some flooring. He lived in it for a bit and then we rented it for a bit and then we sold it through a friend at the time. We got an experienced real estate agent who would say ‘Hey, you should totally take this price.’ We weren't happy with the price and we were paying him so we were like we're holding out, they can pay more. I had this negative experience because we asked a friend to sell our house and he didn't really care about the price. He just wanted the transaction done.
Tyrone Shum (27:31):
And finally the sale came to a close.
Vincent Turner (27:33):
It wasn't the kind of property he would tend to sell. He was probably thinking ‘I sell multi million dollar houses, your $350,000 apartments are of no interest to me’. But we made money out of it. I think 20 turned into 30 or 40, I don't remember the exact numbers.
Tyrone Shum (28:04):
Then it was onto property number two.
Vincent Turner (28:38):
So that was an interesting learning experience, but that property was pretty uneventful and I didn't own a property for a while and then in 2004 I think it was, I was in Sydney and I don't know why I thought I needed to buy a property at this point, but this second property I looked at online and I found an apartment in Finger Wharf in Woolloomooloo. If you don't know this building, it is primo. It’s this beautiful wool store building that sticks out into the water. Russell Crowe lives at the end of it and it's full of A-list celebrities. it's got views of the city and all of these restaurants along one side. If you're going to buy a place and have it as a rental forever to just give you investment income. It’s unbelievable.
Vincent Turner (29:20):
I found a place in there, one bedroom with no parking for $440,000 and I didn't really have the money to do it, but the guy who I was in business with at the time lent me the money for the stamp duty part of it, and then used the grant to get around it. Cause that was my first official property, if you like. I didn't do anything to it, other than putting some furnishings in there because I lived in it and then I found out how much I could rent it for and I thought ‘I do not need to live here’ and I moved out straight away. But the strange thing is, financially I didn't even run the numbers. I was in finance and more so I was in a business to provide the software to mortgage brokers and I didn't build a spreadsheet or do anything. I ran the shower because I wanted to see whether the water pressure was any good.
Tyrone Shum (30:18):
Does he still own that property today?
Vincent Turner (30:23):
Well, no. When I went to San Francisco in 2009, I basically got sick of everything. I got sick of my company, the problems I was solving, the people I was working with, Sydney itself, financial services, tech, I got sick of everything. When I went to San Francisco, I was going to do industrial design and I ended up going right back into tech. I found a co-founder and I needed to buy him out and basically this property was in the black, I had another property that was underwater and I just had to wipe the slate clean. So I had to sell the property, which I sold for 580 or 585 grand.
Tyrone Shum (31:17):
Turner didn’t see this as a good return because of having to sell in a dip in Sydney’s property market.
Vincent Turner (31:24):
The lesson has got to be don't be a forced seller. If you extend yourself so much in that or something else that means you don't have a choice as to when you sell, then you might get lucky, but you probably won't. I think that lesson was a lesson well earned. But another property that I had when I was earning good money in 2005 was a property in Kirra. I never looked at it and I've never been to that property ever. It was in Kirra, which was next to Coolangatta airport and the mechanics were right. It's in a high growth corridor, it's right near an airport but it's not under the flight path, It's 150 meters from the beach and they were the things that drove me to look at it.
Vincent Turner (32:08):
The thing that wasn't good was that it was a 42 square meter apartment and was barely bigger than a studio, so naturally the banks didn't like it. It had no real potential for capital growth unless I bought all five of them in the block. I bought one and a mate bought another and our plan was to buy the rest of them, but then the global financial crisis got in the way and our ability to execute that plan fell apart. I never ran the financials on that property and it was ultimately costing me about $400 a month in terms of the debt versus the equity. I ended up being $40,000 under water in terms of the purchase price. So I did everything wrong in that property and the learning from that was to run the numbers. If you're going to buy a place, this sounds so obvious, but I hadn't learned that lesson, the first two properties, I didn't.
TURNER DOESN’T BELIEVE IN MAKING EXCUSES, HE OWNS HIS MISTAKES
Was his mind just focussed on his businesses?
Vincent Turner (33:08):
It wasn’t excused. I made two really bad decisions at that time. I bought that apartment and I also invested in an agribusiness or a tax investment scheme, which was an almond farm and both of those things cost me 150, 200 grand and one of them netted out against itself. The almond farm basically lost 70 grand and then the property overall cost me about $80,000 over about a seven year period in terms of capital loss. So even though I made those decisions too quickly, I was too quick to trust in the advice of others. I didn't question things myself, I didn't build out my own financial models. They were just terrible decisions and they weren’t well thought through. I don't think I can make an excuse other than don't do it. If you don't know or if you don't understand the investment, you shouldn't invest in it.
Tyrone Shum (34:21):
Now we take a look at Turner's property journey, which took a positive turn.
Vincent Turner (34:41):
I think things took a positive turn when with Planwise, my company in the U.S, where basically the premise was to make better financial decisions and what we did was we built a bit of technology, which is not actually available anymore and we rolled it into the uno proposition and company. But, the technology said if you get to make a big financial decision, you need to see how that affects you in the future. Most financial tools in 2010 and 2011, even today, I focused on the question of ‘what have you already spent?’ The big thing is if tomorrow you decide to take a pay cut or have another child or buy a car or buy a property, then what happens to your future financial situation because of one or more decisions and Planwise solves that problem. It was the property incident and the almond farm fail that led to this idea.
Vincent Turner (35:34):
Most people are very rational at making good decisions when they're well informed. Most people aren’t well informed because they can't build a good Excel model to show you if you buy this $290,000 property and it doesn't go up at this rate or it's trading on this yield, or if you don't run the numbers, you can't know how it's going to affect you. If things go pear shaped and you're not informed. So you're not making good decisions because of a lack of information. I've got better at that. I manage my money well day to day, but also when I have a big decision to make, I think, how's this going to work? How's this going to affect me financially? Is this an appreciating asset? I've never bought a new car, for example, I used it, but I use it very judiciously as to what that debt's going to achieve and I'm very clearly aware of my ability to service that debt. So I'm not in a position where I suddenly have to fire sale assets because I can't and my cashflow is ruined. So I think that's the aha moment.
**PROPERTY INVESTING STRATEGY**
WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE INVESTING IN PROPERTY
Turner enlightens us on the tools needed to successfully invest in property and how it can all go wrong.
Vincent Turner (00:37):
I know there are probably some general rules. I think if you don't put yourself in a position where you have to be a forced seller and understand that, for example, the interest rate is at 2.69% and if that goes back up to 4%, can you afford to pay this or not? At the moment, I'm going back to four days a week. Can I afford to continue paying my mortgage at four days a week instead of five days a week? That's a reality for a lot of people. Now I'm happy with that outcome, but understanding how that affects your ability to maintain the investment that you have so that you can choose when you exit that investment, I think is a critical learning tool. Another thing that people tend to do is they’re optimistic in the future tense, for example, they get upset by the mistake they’ve made, but then say ‘I’m never going to do that again’. Whether it’s ‘I’m gonna stop drinking coffee for a year so that i can go to Italy next year’, then they don’t end up following through with those things.
Vincent Turner (01:29):
I've seen a lot of people who invest in property and they get ahead of themselves. To begin with they've got two and they move them both to interest only so they can get four, then suddenly they've got four at interest only. Then lenders turn around because APRA tells them that you need to price interest only more heavily and the next thing you know interest only loans all go up 70 basis points and now they're under water and they've got to sell two of them and not in a good market. Why would you do that to yourself? Just get two, keep growing the equity in those, adding value to them, sell one and buy a bigger one. You can't manage four unless you're a full time property investor anyway, which I think most people shouldn't be, which is a bit controversial.
Tyrone Shum (02:14):
He speaks about acquiring his fourth investment property.
Vincent Turner (03:00):
When I came back from San Francisco and raised money for uno, which Westpac is a major investor in, I realised that in my previous companies I never paid myself properly. At that point I'm 38, I've got 20 years experience doing what I do, I'm fairly competent at what I do and I wanted to have some stability in my own life. So, I landed in a position that meant that I was getting a normal salary for a person of my position, seniority and experience and although I had normally lived in the city or the inner east, after San Francisco I wanted to move to the inner west, I wanted to find a weird quirky kind of place.
Vincent Turner (03:48):
I was thinking about Rozelle and Lilyfield and places that had these bandied streets and some interesting things going on. I ended up finding a rental property on Gumtree with a lot of light and the place that I had in San Francisco had a lot of light. I was there with a food photographer, it was this big warehouse with these massive windows and I wanted to recreate the kind of vibe that I had in San Francisco. This property was a two bedroom apartment on top of the building and I thought that sounded amazing… very baller. So i turned up with a couple of ciders and told the guy who was renting the property, ‘I really want this’ and he said ‘okay, sounds good’.
Vincent Turner (04:29):
We ended up living together and about three months after I had moved in there, I was walking home and I saw a real estate agency on the corner with our house listed for sale. I went back and said to the guy ‘Hey, our house is listed for sale’ and he said ‘Yeah, but we've got the lease, we’re fine’ and I came back saying ‘We should buy it, this place is really cool’. I had no idea what it was going to look like and at that point I was obviously working in mortgages, I understood the mortgage process really well and this place, if you want to run the number on it, it's a block. It's the standard property on Parramatta Road. There's one commercial residence downstairs, there's three floors of residential apartments and then it's the whole top floor of the building.
Vincent Turner (05:13):
The property itself is titled in such a way that you can only be one residence, but it’s essentially a house on top of a building. The idea of having a place that was two to three kilometers from the city, that was right near a major university and major medical facilities, is attractive and you know that it’s going to be a good rental. There's also a long term plan to green that corridor along Parramatta road, so there's infrastructure development. It's next door to a school that's never been built out of knockdown and has been there for 150 years heritage listed, it backs onto a park and in addition to this it’s 15 minutes from New town and 15 minutes from Annandale.
Vincent Turner (05:58):
What was challenging about it was that the title of the property was a strata title, which banks don’t really like. It effectively means that it’s a self contained lot and is part of the strata, so it is part of the building, but I get a water bill. Most people in a strata don't get a seperate water bill, they base it off of water usage. I think the reason behind why it had been on the market for over a year was because I don't think anyone could negotiate or navigate the problem with the bank because if you went to the bank said, ‘I want to buy it’ they will in return say, ‘Well i don’t really like that title’.
Vincent Turner (06:36):
Being a mortgage broker I thought I could navigate this and it took me three months to navigate it and I didn't have any money. I had to borrow the deposit from my friends and then pay them all back. So that was lucky, but I've now ended up with this two bedroom apartment on top of a building that I can probably do some things to in order to add more value to it. It’s got district views, it used to have city views but they just built a place next door. I don't rent it at the moment, but I think it would probably rent for about 4.2 and the purchase price was about 1.3. So in a normal market, it would probably be on a 4% gross yield.
Tyrone Shum (07:18):
Turner had to get some help in order to convince the bank to lend him the money for this property.
Vincent Turner (07:46):
There were two challenges specific to my situation. So this particular title is often viewed as problematic by the banks, so I had to understand what those problems might be and I actually had to engage a lawyer to do it. I had to get a property lawyer to go through and say, ‘These are the risks that can happen with this title’, and strata title in particular is very water tight, in that it’s very clear that you have all of these rights within this floor space. I had to navigate the actual strata corporation documents to figure out if these were actual risks for this particular property.
Vincent Turner (08:29):
The strata was set up for those risks to eventuate, for example, you've got access to the lobby lift on level four and it comes in as your exclusive use, but the body corporate could take that away from you. The strata commission can take it away, but only if I agree. So the only way those things become real is if I go in and say, ‘Yes, I'm voting against my own self interest’. When I was able to navigate the details and work through those details with the bank, they responded positively and although they don’t normally see these, in this instance they said ‘We can help because you can explain the risks we would typically associate with these types of properties’. The second risk or challenge, which is still an ongoing one is the valuers battle, massively with title. Even if I want to do something now, I think the place is worth infinitely more than what I bought it for. The idea that a 400 square meter, rooftop unobstructed property in Sydney, two kilometers from the city is worth 1.3 doesn't matter.
Tyrone Shum (09:36):
Is the title for this property still a problem for Turner?
Vincent Turner (09:54):
I haven't yet won the battle with the title and I don't know how I'm going to resolve that. I think eventually I may need to change the way the title works. I just don't want to give up the right to be able to develop the property up here because that will add more value than the title, so I don't know what the solution is. I don't know how you get around that, to be honest. So this is pretty unusual.
Tyrone Shum (10:28):
Any advice for future property investors?
Vincent Turner (10:44):
My thesis with property investing, which might be counter to some of the prevailing wisdom, is to get one property that you live in and continue to invest in that and make it better. A very tax effective way to grow wealth through property is to buy and invest in your own home and then sell it and move every three or four years. You can upgrade and do well and you pay no capital gains tax and then maybe have one investment property, one that you've got and it just pays itself over. Eventually as a two bedroom house or one bedroom apartment, whatever your level of comfort is and between those two things, most people can generate more than enough wealth over their lifetime to then be comfortable in their retirement with nowhere near the level of headache that most people deal with when they go out and buy seven apartments. When it makes sense, sell it and buy something bigger, if you can, or less, if you don't need it and then one investment property.
HOW IS HIS BUSINESS UNIQUE?
Tyrone Shum (11:51):
Turner seeked to create a solution for the property transaction process, involving three steps.
Vincent Turner (13:08):
Planwise was pretty singularly focused on this idea that at the moment you make a big decision, if you don't know how that decision will affect you in the future, then you're probably not making a good decision, you might get lucky, but you probably will be unlucky. So what we built was actually a set of tools and engines, if you like, that enabled us to produce that outcome. When we brought it back to uno, the ethos came with, which is ‘we've got to help people do this better’. Everyone in the industry is focused on the mortgage product but what you need to be focused on is the property transaction. I can get you a super cheap rate if you buy the wrong property, that doesn't count for much and so what came back was a set of core IP that allowed us to build financial models and an ethos that said ‘let's help people do better’ during this 30, 40 year journey of owning property and debt and generating wealth through that kind of maxim.
Vincent Turner (13:47):
The part of the process that we do differently, in the moment when you're transacting, refers to the three parts of the customer journey and we do them really well or as good as the rest in varying degrees. The beginning stages of the process when you’re not ready to talk to anyone yet and you just want to go in and do your own research, read some content or sign up to a tool like lone score, which monitors your current loan, we're doing really, really well. We believe that tools like this should be widely available and that you should have the same access to the kind of tools that a broker has. This is so you can learn for yourself and get access to the level of insight that you could have and it just makes it super transparent. It makes it more competitive from a lender perspective. That’s the self-serve research piece and that’s what we’re doing in the beginning.
Vincent Turner (14:31):
The second part kicks in when you’ve done all of the research and know that you want to do something but you’re not really sure what to do next. So you need to give uno enough information so that they can help you with that and that part of the process, we've now digitized. You can give us information over about a five to eight minute period and that will be the majority of the information that we need, to let you know how we can help you and what you could or should do. It’s only to get you to a point where we will need a few more documents such as a couple of payslips and some of your bank statements, to understand what your actual spend history is. This part of the process we’re legally required to do. In this second stage it's making it far more optimal to get to the point where we can say ‘this is what we're doing’.
Vincent Turner (16:29):
The third part is where we actually put it with a bank. We do a lot of the heavy lifting in the background like brokers generally do and so realistically, a lot of what we can do is driven by what the lenders enable us to do digitally. I think a lot of what our role is, isn't just to do that, but to say, ‘Hey, this free lender’s here, one of them requires you to go to Australia Post, the other one will come to your home to ID you. Is that important to you? Because if it is, we'll go with the lender who's going to be far more digital. If you don't care and this one's slightly cheaper, then maybe you'll happily go to Australia post’. So whilst we can't tell all lenders to use zip ID or some other online identification, we can at least let customers understand which of these are the good ones from a digital perspective and which of these less so.
WHY THE HOME LOAN PROCESS IS SO LONG AND DIFFICULT AND HOW CAN TURNER MAKE IT EASIER?
Tyrone Shum (17:04):
So do you really save money switching from manual services to digital?
Vincent Turner (17:22):
For someone with an average loan, they might save around 10 to 20 dollars a month, using a lender that still practices manually and they may think that this money saved adds up, but you don't know how it's going to play out. The lender that's cheaper at the moment might be more expensive six months down the track. Either of these options is going to save you money, what is going to cost you more is if you don't use either of them. What we ultimately want to do obviously, is have the lenders who are better at being digital, get more of the business because customers want that. That's part of the proposition. It's not all about the rate, it’s about service proposition and speed to decision and typically the digital guys turn stuff around faster because they've got less manual processes across their whole business, not just your interaction with it.
Tyrone Shum (18:15):
And why is this process so long?
Vincent Turner (18:40):
I think there's definitely an acknowledgement that some deals are necessarily difficult, because everything's going smoothly, except for this one component. A deal that I’m across at the moment involves this person who has been in the same industry for ten years, but they took a couple of years off to have a child, perfectly normal. They went back to work and got a contract six months ago and are now getting a new contract. So in the process of landing a new contract, a lender rightly so, says ‘Well, I trust that you can get employment, but as it stands today, you've got a few weeks left on your current contract and you haven't gotten a confirmation of your new contract. So it's hard for me to approve until you can prove to me that you're going to have a contract in two weeks time’.
Vincent Turner (19:23):
There’s always a ‘gotcha’ in lending. It's not impossible, but it’s hard for an algorithm to be able to understand a lot of what has to happen is in those interactions. The loan-to-value ratio is okay, the credit history is okay, the servicing is fine, but they've only been in their job for six months and they were about to renew their contract in this instance. So someone has to take that into account and make a decision as to whether that’s okay or not. So I understand that there is manual work involved and necessary. In a lot of these instances I think ultimately you could build an algorithm which says, ‘well you approve this last time and this is 99% the same. Why wouldn't you do it this time?’ But the lenders aren't there yet.
Tyrone Shum (20:06):
Will digital services like Turner’s Planwise and uno replace brokers in the future?
Vincent Turner (20:55):
Right now there are robots that can do surgery better than humans and in every count, the surgery is better. They can do it for 12 hours a day or 24 hours a day without getting tired. But, would you trust that robot to be doing it without a human in the room at the moment? A mortgage is not rocket surgery, but there is certainly an argument that that decision is big enough that a human wants validation and comfort from another human being and we think that a lot of what the role of the broker will ultimately be is someone who is dealing with this all the time, to help you understand that the decision you're making is a good one. Also to synthesize something a computer can work out and generate in a fraction of a second, into human terms.
Vincent Turner (21:42):
I have a real life example of this scenario that I can use to explain the thinking behind this. I’m not a broker per se as in i don't actually do the broking, but a customer of ours asked me where i thought the interest rates were going and he’s having a human conversation with me. He wants to understand whether he should sell a house because he’s moving away for a few years and this is a personal narrative here. The framing is ‘what mortgage decisions should I make?’ What I think will happen is that we will see a lot less mortgage brokers because the technology will take away a lot of the things that they need to do. But other than straight refinances, which will happen, a transaction typically associated with a human transaction such as renovating or equity, combined with something that has happened in your life, such as having kids, getting married or losing your job, I think the human element will play a critical role in that part of the equation. There just won't be as many of those humans doing it.
Tyrone Shum (23:03):
So what’s so important about mortgage brokers?
Vincent Turner (23:44):
When the decision is entirely rational, the human aspect is not necessary. For example, you have a product, this product costs you a thousand dollars and this one costs you 900 dollars and they're equivalent products. Would you like to not spend a thousand and spend 900 instead? You don't need a human to ask you that, but at the point where you're thinking of making a decision and one option will require you to change your molded situation, the conversation is not really about the mortgage. It's about decisions like ‘should we sell our home?’ I think the mortgage brokers and everyone in that industry will do better in this situation and will be the people who have curiosity and innovation and do things creatively and have empathy. If you have good empathy and emotional intelligence, then people will want to make big decisions with your advice. That's the best thing anyone in a service industry, financial services or otherwise, and broking included will likely find themselves in the next five to ten years.
HE GENUINELY CARES ABOUT HIS CUSTOMERS AND WHAT THEY GET OUT OF THE DEAL
Tyrone Shum (24:34):
Turner talks about what motivates him and what customers get out of his services.
Vincent Turner (24:50):
When I first pitched uno to Westpac in 2015, I basically said you should be able to go through the entire mortgage process with any bank on this device. That was my pitch to them, which is quite rational and functional and a lot of people want the process to be that simple. But in terms of the why, at the moment we’re elevating our vision for uno, in that we want to have the happiest home loan customers in the world. Now that might sound counterintuitive, but happiness takes a lot of forms, right?
Vincent Turner (25:32):
The kind of happiness that we’re trying to provide is contained in the feeling of being content, knowing that what you need is being taken care of and that you can sleep easy at night. If we can aspire to that and people start to think ‘I don't have to invest any of my head space in worrying about whether this decision is good at any level, for example, whether the product is good, whether I bought the right place, what happens if I lose my job?’ Whatever it is that is taking you away from actually living your life is the motivational space that we're playing in. There’s five million people in Australia who all have homes and have mortgages attached to them.
Vincent Turner (26:15):
This impacts a lot of people in Australia and the mortgage tends to be the biggest single line item in your expenses on a monthly basis. In fact, we did a report which we can provide a link for, called a household wastage report. We've reframed interest as a form of waste and we found out that after food, mortgages are the biggest form of waste where you're overpaying on your mortgage, which is no different to throwing out food or getting parking tickets. So that’s a problem that's highly emotive for a large number of Australians and I think that the systemic thing that we have to think about is households that go into financial stress. Whether they're not making a lot of money or making lots of money, that’s not good for the house and it’s ultimately not good for the community. If we can actually make people's households stronger through our goal of having the happiest home loan customers in the world, then this is good for people and It's good for communities. That is a big part of the motivation behind uno.
BUT DOES MEDITATION ACTUALLY HELP?
Tyrone Shum (27:14):
And what does the future look like?
Vincent Turner (27:31):
We’re still early in our journey and I think we've got a long way to go, which is good, right? The work's never done, but I think it's good having a true North and we're playing to our strengths. Now we've basically got some of the best technology in the market and we're using it to make people's lives easier and better and it's a really big financial problem for people on a day to day basis,so if we can make that can be less of a problem for people, then I’m doing my job. Most people ultimately are elevating to some form of financial freedom and some form of financial security and that gives them the freedom to do what they want and security to provide for themselves and their immediate family and a mortgage and the property associated with it can be a massive part of doing that. So, if we can play our role well and we can contribute very positively to that need that people, then that’s a good thing to be getting up and doing everyday.
Tyrone Shum (28:24):
Has Turner had any mentors over the course of his career or been given any memorable advice?
Vincent Turner (28:52):
I've never really had formal mentors and I think that might be a failing on my part to be honest. I think there is a lot of value in identifying someone and formalizing a relationship with them, they might not be paid but do maintain a relationship and meet every month for example. There are so many people that I know who I admire and are successful in whatever measure. I think what I've had in turn have been really important people at particular moments in my career. For example, there's a lady Tristan Langley, and she worked at a company that was potentially going to invest in Pisces, the mortgage software business that had some great IP and some great customers, but ultimately she didn't go on to invest.
Vincent Turner (29:39):
Then I left that business and decided I was going to move to Silicon Valley and she split her time between Sydney and Silicon Valley. The venture firms she worked for made investments here and there, and when I got there, she said to me ‘Look, honestly, you’ve got to go back into tech. You're good at tech. You were just solving the wrong problem with the wrong people in the wrong city. Just rethink and be a little more intentional about what you're doing’. I was going there to do industrial design and I ended up starting Planwise and so I think that moment was a really critical moment, for sure. I've had maybe half a dozen of those conversations. I think the advice I would give is not to necessarily get a mentor, but be open to those moments.
Vincent Turner (30:23):
In terms of resources, a big part of my go to, as odd as this sounds is TED Talks. Every time I've had a really low moment where I've doubted myself and think I’m having a bad day, I go and listen to some of the people who are giving TED Talks and hear where they're coming and some of the situations they’ve been in. One of the talks i listened to was about someone who grew up in war torn parts of Somalia and to look at what they’ve accomplished now is amazing. I find that super motivating.
Tyrone Shum (31:10):
When hearing the stories of people who have been in much worse circumstances than himself, Turner gains a new perspective.
Vincent Turner (31:14):
It just proves that resilience is super, super critical. Awareness is super critical. I read 40 to 50 books a year, I'm literally reading a book a week. Half of them are fiction and they're just to get me to bed, but the other half are really interesting reads. There's a book at the moment I'd recommend to people called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, so books are another resource I use. I also listen to a lot of guided meditation. I don't do meditation by myself, but guided meditation I think is a really useful thing for reflection. Most of the high end, energy CEOs and founders I know are doing some form of meditation.
Tyrone Shum (31:58):
Turner recommends some forms of meditation.
Vincent Turner (32:11):
I use it very specifically at night. The part of the problem with an active mind is switching off and if you don't switch off, you don't sleep and if you don't sleep, your ability to do anything becomes terrible and you become terrible to be around. That often leads to other challenges that become problematic. So being good at sleep is a learned skill in my opinion and you can set up the conditions pretty nicely. Don't watch TV at eight o'clock at night if you want to go to bed at nine o'clock, dimming the brightness on all of your devices, turn off all of your notifications and don't have any devices in your bedroom. There are a whole bunch of things that you can do to create a good context for sleep.
Vincent Turner (32:54):
But one thing you do need to do is you basically need to be not thinking, you need to be clearing your head and doing what a Buddhist is doing. If you go and learn meditation, you can absolutely get to that state. You can just go there and commit to stopping the constant thinking in your brain. The thing I find that’s interesting about guided meditation is that it gives you one thing to think about and nothing else. There's a particular one that I can remember on YouTube that’s also free. It’s a one to three hour guided sleep meditation by this guy called Jason Stevenson, who I think is actually Australian.
Vincent Turner (33:37):
There are a whole range of them for wherever you head is at and I use those three or four nights a week, I would say. I use them in moments where I can't sleep, if I wake up and I need to get back to sleep and I find that is a really solid base for that. I've gone and listened to other ones as well and I've tried to do meditation without that, but I'm just not as good at it. Maybe I'd get better if I tried harder, but I’m happy with Jason’s guided meditation.
Tyrone Shum (34:02):
Does he also find exercise meditative?
Vincent Turner (34:16):
I now have a treadmill in the house and like running on it. It’s a great form of meditation but it's not a great thing to do before bedtime because it charges you up.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE AND REFLECTING ON THE PAST
Tyrone Shum (34:29):
Any advice he would give himself ten years ago?
Vincent Turner (34:40):
Well I mean, from a commercial perspective, with regards to business and property, I think the thing that I would love to have been doing better ten years ago and therefore would say this, is to get better at understanding people. I think I've always been reasonably good at selling and getting people to come and join, but I think the act of getting people to actually be productive in their own right and people management, hiring well and firing, that set of skills is massively important, whether you're a founder or not.
Vincent Turner (35:29):
I think the version of myself, ten years ago, wasn't very good at people management. My attitude was, ‘Well, if you want to work for me, come and work for me’ and if you do want to work for me, that's my only bar as to whether you should come and work for me is if you want to be here, then I want you to be here’ and I think that was a mistake. I think I've cost myself a lot of progress by not being good at creating high performing teams and high functioning teams. The team at uno at the moment is both high performing and high functioning and it works as well as a team in Google. Google did a few studies on this and found that teams where people can be vulnerable, have provided divergent views, can navigate those views and landed a resolution that people have agreed to, not by force, but by coming along for the journey is really valuable and so that's what I'd tell myself.
Tyrone Shum (36:27):
And in his personal life?
Vincent Turner (36:52):
What I would tell myself ten years ago outside of work, is to keep doing random things. So much of the stuff that brings me joy or has opened a door or created a business opportunity has been because I've done something random. I've gotten on a plane for no real reason after meeting someone at a wedding in Greece and they suggested I come and visit their city, which I thought was a cool city. I ended up meeting someone there and now we have a son. So the moral of the story is do random stuff. Don’t question why and make excuses, just do things, that's where the spice of life comes from.
Tyrone Shum (37:35):
What does the next five years look like for Turner?
Vincent Turner (37:47):
Customers are telling us that they really like what we're doing at uno and every month we get better and better at delivering our product. I think for the next three to six, maybe even 12 months, we will be hyper focused on the delivery of the idea that I mentioned earlier, which was to have the happiest home loan customers in the world. Externally that might sound trite, but internally, what do we need to do for that to be reality to our customers? That's what we have to do, the only thing we have to do, because that is the key to success. In any business it’s word of mouth that creates longevity and at the moment the motivation to come in and create that and achieve this goal is super high.
Vincent Turner (38:40):
I think within uno in the near term, there will be no movement away from that. In practical terms, it means we're probably not going to do all of the ‘big bang’ stuff like we've done in the last couple of years, we've done that. What we're going to do is invest in all of the little things that are holding it back from being as good as it could be and just make that better and better and better every week, ship new stuff, change the way we ask questions or change what we are so that we don't have to ask as many questions, whatever that thing is so that over time people notice this thing's just better. Whether it makes them happy or helps them sleep better at night or whatever the measure is. The first thing we have to do is come up with a measure of the happiest home loan customers, which we haven't done yet by the way.
Vincent Turner (39:21):
In the long term, I think we're setting ourselves up for the technology being far more broadly applied further down the funnel, so further down the process of a mortgage. By digitising through to the point of decision and even settlement. That's clearly a part of our value proposition, the fact that we want you to be able to be on the best loan all the time and that's part of what makes you happy, not all of it, but it's part of it. We want to be making investments and technology to make sure that the lenders who want to provide that kind of outcome are lenders who are working with uno, another big part of what we have to do. In fact, a lot of my focus for next few years is on bringing more lenders into the fold, so that we have lenders on our panel who do things that you just can't get elsewhere. That will help reaffirm that if you come to us, you're going to get an amazing outcome and an amazing experience.
WHAT’S LUCK GOT TO DO WITH IT?
Tyrone Shum (40:15):
How much of Turner’s success is due to skill and how much is due to luck?
Vincent Turner (40:37):
I think that intelligence takes a lot of forms, so I'm intelligent in some areas that are incredibly useful in what I do. I can't remember the exact word, but Steve Jobs talks about this idea that a founder has to basically bend reality. They have to get people to believe stuff that's not real. I think that's a skill that I have, it's critical to what I do and that has been critical. The first investor in Planwise was a guy that I met at a festival, so to convince someone who you met at a festival and spend a bit of time talking to saying ‘I need 14 grand. I don't have it because I'm completely out of money and if I don't get it, I can't get on stage in New York in seven weeks’.
Vincent Turner (41:28):
I think that's a critical skill and it attracts talent, attracts capital and attracts partners. For that part, I would put it down to a skill and intelligence. I think a big part of it is perseverance and I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, ‘Nothing in the world will replace perseverance. If you just keep at it then eventually you will get lucky’. Right? That luck can play out on day one or day 10,000. You just don't know. But if you do keep at it, eventually what's going to happen is you’re going to get a break.
Vincent Turner (42:11):
One of my breaks was when I came back to Australia, I had intended to launch an online mortgage broking business, which has now evolved into uno, as an active home loan manager. At that time, Westpac was interested in backing an entrepreneur who wanted to do that. That was lucky, yes it was. Did it take me 15 years of building mortgage software, going into the Valley, learning everything I know about raising capital? Yes. Westpac was already a customer for five bits of software I'd built in previous companies. The lucky moment was when all of those things in the universes collided. So I would say luck plays a role, but the skills and intelligence give you the opportunity to be lucky.
Tyrone Shum (42:54):
Turner was prepared for when those opportunities presented themselves.
Vincent Turner (43:00):
I do think that you can always improve your skills. Most people have a certain knack for a certain thing, whatever that thing is and so you have to play to those strengths and understand what your weaknesses are and what you need to get better at. The lucky part comes typically through perseverance.
Tyrone Shum (44:23):
Thank you to Vincent Turner, our guest on this episode of Property Investory.
If you want to hear more about his journey and get a copy of the show notes on the website head over to PropertyInvestory.com/notes and download it today.
Thanks for listening!