Vincent Turner: It’s All I’ve Ever Done Really, Dropped Out of Uni at 19 and Never Went Back

Vincent Turner

Vincent Turner of UNO Home Loans.

Tell us about yourself?

From my website, vincent-turner.com I never finished my university degree, instead dropping out to focus on my then startup Pisces that had been funded in 2000 in the first dotcom boom. Pisces, a messaging company where we had a patented messaging technology I designed, ultimately became a mortgage software provider to around 90% of Australian banks. I woke up in my late 20s realising I wasn’t solving the right problem, in the right market with the right people so walked away from Pisces and moved to San Francisco in 2010 with plans to study industrial design There, instead, I started a new company, Planwise, focused on helping people make better financial decisions in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2007/2008. Whilst there I set up SF Fintech, that went on to become the #1 fintech meetup on the west coast of the US. Planwise created some amazing technology but when it became clear that it needed to be a financial services company to work I moved it back to Australia and it became the basis for UNO Home Loans. UNO secured major backing from Westpac early on which enabled us to develop the technology, brand and operation to power what is now the #1 Online Mortgage Broker in Australia (as measured by customer satisfaction). Whilst at UNO I designed loanScore, the only technology to have ever won a Good Design Award We have since spun out the core technology of UNO into a new venture, autologic, to let anyone who wants to build complex logic to power anything to do so with nocode. It is the lowest cost way to power anything. We want to replace coding as the dominant form of building complex logic and in turn enable the automation of everything. In my spare time I decided to design a new belt, yes, a men’s belt, YOKU. A side project for now we have managed to a secure a patent (my second) on our design that enables for a fully interchangeable belt with zero moving parts. I hope it will inspire more people to buy better and buy less. We want greatly reduce the 400 million belts made and sold every year. Finally, over the last few years, along with a friend, I’ve set up Shape the System. A podcast that finds & tells the stories of people who are rethinking the way the world works for the better

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What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

That they need to be funded, plenty do but it’s not a cure all. This is becoming increasingly the case (that you don’t need funding) in a world where building tech is becoming more and more accessible via nocode

If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?

Learn how to hire and manage people properly. This is the one area that until I had 50+ staff and had high turnover I didn’t realise how bad I was at this. It’s one of the biggest levers I have in my success now is the way I approach hiring, onboarding, firing, managing and supporting people

What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?

It’s all I’ve ever done really, dropped out of uni at 19 and never went back. Time at bat is a big factor, I’ve done my 10,000 hours and then some.

What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?

Getting really good at documentation, getting much better at focusing on doing less things and ensuring my team is doing the same

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

We are trying to create the worlds happiest home loan customers. Whilst I have a technology and design background its clear that people want help from people in the majority of the decisions involving their property and home loan so we’re focused on building an unparalleled service experience combining both people and great technology

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Where do you see your business in five years?

We aim to be the #1 Online Mortgage Broker in Australia and be offering our own lending option alongside other lenders to give our customers the maximum choice, convenience, service at their lowest price point

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?

Maintaining a focus on our strategy is always the challenge. The big levers are to do the small stuff well, consistently over time. The temptation as you start to get success, scale or capital is to get distracted by shiny objects.

Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?

We shifted the business from a large loss making startup reliant on external capital to a profitable, cashflow positive business in the first quarter of 2022. This gives us the ultimate freedom to execute our strategy now and attract and retain amazing people regardless of market conditions

How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?

SEO and partners are our big levers, outside of the UNO brokers bringing in their own networks. I do most of the partner sales and am comfortable pitching myself, UNO and anything I’m involved or invested in (see vincent-turner.com)

What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?

Start small, build an audience, stay focused and find ways to monetise early. OK, thats 4 but they are related so I’m saying its one 😉

And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?

I want to achieve enough commercial success that means i can spend even more time on the things I’m involved in that lean towards or are entirely about impact.

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