Media people helping grow digital real estate and finance start-ups

• New CEO appointed to run houseandland.com.au and Joust

Proptech and fintech companies houseandland.com.au and Joust last week announced the appointment of digital executive Carl Hammerschmidt in the newly created role of chief executive officer.

Hammerschmidt is the second key media person helping to drive the growing businesses.

The other is Chris Taylor (pictured), chairman, who is better known in his other role as managing director, NBCUniversal International Networks and Television Distribution, Australia and New Zealand.

Hammerschmidt has over 15 years hands-on experience leading digital businesses and digital transformation in Australia, including roles in media with SBS, ACP, Nine, Bauer and with the NSW Government.

The appointment follows houseandland.com.au’s recent acquisition of a majority stake in online lending platform Joust.

Taylor has been with Houseandland.com.au for about four years after getting to know the founder, Dean Kyros, from Taylor’s time running Telstra Media and its digital publishing businesses.

Houseandland.com.au focuses in the growing house and land real estate sector, with Taylor telling Mediaweek that is not just vacant blocks of land. “There is an always expanding opportunity around the knockdown/rebuild sector too.”

Commenting on the appointment of Hammerschmidt, Taylor said: “We are excited to have Carl join as Houseandland.com.au’s CEO. He brings to the company extensive digital leadership experience, with a significant understanding of building businesses in complex environments, developing new income streams, and dealing with technological change and digital disruption.”

Taylor said a recent game-changer for the business was the acquisition of Joust late last year. “It is a real time auction system for home loans. There is a myriad of well-known participating banks. A customer goes online, gives details about the loan they are after and then watches the banks joust for the loan business in real time.

“The acquisition came about by us wanting a complete solution from wanting to create your dream home to financing it.

“After bringing together a proptech company with a fintech company we felt the company was ready for an experienced CEO.”

Hammerschmidt will be working across both products to scale the businesses and continue to grow their presence in the market.

He starts works in his new role on the two brands in mid-May.

Hammerschmidt said he was thrilled with the opportunity to further grow both houseandland.com.au and Joust.

“These two great products – with such strong alignment – present a unique opportunity, and I’m looking forward to building on the momentum and traction they’ve already been able to achieve.

“Innovation and digital disruption are driving an enormous amount of change in the real estate and personal finance markets – houseandland.com.au and Joust.com.au are well-placed to take advantage of that.”

Joust currently has 12 lenders taking part, including challenger brands owned by some of the major banks.

“It is still early days for the business. We have been marketing on radio across the past couple of months. In the near future we will also take it to television.

“The Joust opportunity is fascinating in the wake of the Hayne royal commission and revelations about trailing commissions. Joust gives the power back to the consumer as the world becomes a bit jaded with mortgage brokers. Joust brings absolute transparency to the process and it is the right product for the time.”

Taylor said the companies didn’t want to compete in the classified segment where people are well catered to by REA and Domain.

“We are free for people to list, like some of the major US real estate portals, and we derive income through upselling our software as a service which is the matching technology.”

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