Fundrr CFO Jarred Noche doesn’t want to be just another small fish

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Jarred knew from a young age that he wanted to be an entrepreneur instead of a cog in the machine.

Jarred Noche matriculated in 2008. After studying to become a CA at the University of Johannesburg, he did his articles at Grant Thornton. He explains that he decided to join a smaller firm to get a more hands-on approach and learn as much as he could to equip him for the future.

During his time at Grant Thornton, he expressed an interest in becoming an analyst. He enrolled for a CFA qualification, but quickly realised that it wouldn’t fulfill his entrepreneurial drive. “I always knew I was going to be a business owner,” he says.

Jarred finished his articles in 2016 and transferred to Grant Thornton’s New York office for two years. “I was looking for a new experience and went there with the intention to find business ideas and take them back into South Africa, or vice versa,” he says. However, the corporate life of Manhattan was not for him. “I used to start work at 9am and go home at 3am the next day. It was quite a toxic environment and for some people it’s great, but I wasn’t enjoying my work. I realised I was just another small fish in the bigger ocean.”

Jarred’s best friend, Idan Jaan, visited him in Manhattan and told him about a business idea he was working on. At that point it was a peer-to-peer lending model. “Within that week I quit my job in the States. I’d sit in a Starbucks and research lending. At that time, we didn’t know anything about lending. We couldn’t tell you the first thing about credit, so we had to figure it out from scratch.”

Two months later Jarred returned to South Africa and started working with Idan on the business, Fundrr. Through Jarreds and Idan’s network they had access to a large number of SMMEs, which they used to run simulations and stress test their model. They poured their life savings into the business and used that capital to fund their clients. “That’s how we started building our credit models,” he explains.

They signed up for a programme called Alphacode, a leading fintech incubator, which gave them access to mentors who helped them to raise money. “We probably pitched over 50 times to many different investors and each time we were told ‘no’,” he says. “We never really knew enough and we had no credibility.”

Jarred and Idan slowly started growing Fundrr’s book and, once they had the money they needed, they went from one business to the another trying to sell them money. But it proved more difficult than they thought, so they partnered with the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA). “We wanted to offer their members preferential rates,” Jarred explains. “They sent out a mailer and advertised us on their Facebook page, and their SMME clients started coming to us for funding.”

They also started engaging with Telkom, which had just launched a new financial services division, and came to an agreement that Fundrr would be Telkom’s approved, preferred funding partner for the new division. “I can now happily say that we are part of the biggest SME lender in the country- Retail Capital. Our funds are raised via a domestic medium-term note programme. It’s a billion rand funding program.”

Today, Fundrr is well on track to reach its target of funding R1 billion within the first five years since inception.

Initially, Idan and Jarred did everything in the company, but they have built up their team and delegated their responsibilities down the line. Now, Idan is the CEO of the business and Jarred serves as the CFO.

“We still have a lot to do,” Jarred says. “We’re constantly looking at the application process, making it more seamless and quicker.”

Outside of work
When Jarred isn’t running the company’s finances, he’s spending time with his girlfriend and their two chihuahuas. He hopes to start a family in the near future.

He loves to run and competes in marathons. He also enjoys mountain biking. “I like to have a digital detox, just to reset,” he says.

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