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Business Vision: Lay Buy And Omega Exchange

Kiwi companies are coming up with some innovative solutions. Brenda Ward showcases some that are working smarter to bring you business that inspires.

5 October 2021

Autumn 21

Buy jeans now, pay later

Laybuy is a Kiwi company that started around the kitchen table in Auckland with a family talking about a pair of jeans.

Now the ‘buy now, pay later’ company has a million accounts around the world, after just three years – and it’s listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

It all started with his youngest son, Alex, says Gary Rohloff, Laybuy’s co-founder and managing director.

He and wife Robyn were chatting with Alex and his brother James, he says.

“Alex wanted to know why he couldn’t buy a pair of jeans, wear them out that night and pay them off from his future pay cheques.

“That got us talking about the old-fashioned lay-by model, where you used to be able to put aside an item in a shop and pay it off weekly before taking it home.

Traditional lay-by model

“I mentioned I had an idea about setting up a technology-based system when I was leading Ezibuy in the early 2000s.

“Alex’s answer was stop talking about it and get on with it.”

Gary and his wife Robyn quit their jobs, raided their savings, and mortgaged everything they had to develop the technology and pay merchants on behalf of the first customers.

Laybuy brings the traditional lay-by model into the 21st century, says Rohloff.

“Consumers can shop now, receive their purchase straight away, and pay it off over six weekly interest-free payments.”

International growth

It launched here in May 2017 and quickly reached 100,000 customers. Now it’s in Australia and the UK, and there are a million accounts worldwide.

In September last year, it listed on the ASX, raising $80 million in its initial public offering. In mid-December, its share price was trading at $1.29.

“With the benefit of hindsight, starting Laybuy seemed like a simple decision,” says Rohloff. “It wasn’t. It involved huge risk. There was no Plan B. We had no option but to succeed.”

He says part of Laybuy’s success is that it makes life easier for people by helping them manage their weekly budgets, and helps retailers offer payment solutions.

www.laybuy.co.nz

A Cool Club of Traders

Have you always wanted to work in a busy international trading room?

Now you can. Omega Exchange, a new shared workspace, gives traders access to world markets, institutional-level information flow, idea generation and the synergies that come from working with a group of like-minded traders, for a fixed monthly fee.

Founder Sheldon Slabbert says the new trading room offers a collaborative environment that enhances a trader’s experience and results.

“It’s like being in an international trading room, a hybrid between a hedge fund and prop trading room, where members trade for their own account.

“The bottom line is that trading can be isolating. Online, it’s often the blind leading the blind in chatrooms, but being part of a group helps overcome that, and helps a trader’s decision-making, which flows on to better results.”

The trading room is in the Auckland suburb of Newmarket. Members will have 24-hour access with flexible membership options. It’ll be staffed on trading days from 7am till 11pm.

Just like at the big brokers, there’ll be a daily briefing, ‘Around the World’, to assess how trades perform and review global markets.

Slabbert’s been a trader for more than 20 years in South Africa and London, in managed funds and foreign exchange companies, and here at www.xe.com and CMC Markets.

Seeing that traders working from home were disadvantaged, he decided to set up the professional-style trading room. “We are on the buyside ourselves and our interests are fully aligned with our members.

The room’s intended for experienced traders, with a collaborative culture where members can learn from the experts and swap war stories over drinks on Friday afternoons.

www.omegaexchange.co.nz

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