OnDeck taps professional sport to build an elite team

National partnerships manager talks about the significant points of difference sportspeople bring to a business

OnDeck taps professional sport to build an elite team


By Mina Martin

Nick Reily, national partnerships manager at OnDeck Australia, knows the “value that professional sportspeople can add to a broker support team.”

Riley has built a cohesive and winning team that includes two elite sportspeople: Ben Starkey, who plays with leading Australian rugby club Randwick in Sydney, and Josh Edmondston, who represented Victoria in baseball.

Reily himself participated in the 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong and the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games as part of the Australian Sevens rugby team. He has even played soccer at a semi-professional level.

Professional sportspeople “are highly motivated, ambitious, process-driven, and work extremely well towards outcomes and goals,” Riley said.

Another significant point of difference sportspeople bring to a business “is that they can identify how to be successful individually and then, further, how to collaborate with the rest of the team to achieve success as a group,” Riley said. “While I probably wasn’t the most experienced or technical rugby player in world rugby, stepping into the sport at 22 years of age, I did identify what was required to play on the international stage, how to achieve success, and how to sustain that level to be successful over a long period of time. Half the trick is identifying what’s required to get to the top – the rest is ability. Those same attributes are 100% transferable in achieving success in both sport and commercial lending.”

Riley said that Starkey and Edmonton “are not only comfortable working in the team setting, but they are highly efficient, process-driven, work extremely well towards goals, and all of that has had a profound impact on the entire partnerships team. They have lifted the overall standards and behaviours of our entire group, which has had a really positive impact on the rest of the team as well.”

OnDeck saw finance applications increase by 77% between October and November 2021 while originations rose 380% from 2021 to 2022.

Reily said, whether it be in business or elite sport, establishing the right processes is a must to be highly efficient, which ultimately leads to success.

“With the Australian Sevens team, my objective was to score tries or stop the other team from scoring,” he said. “But at OnDeck, it’s about creating a really positive experience for our partners and our small business customers. As a group we aim to be bigger, better, faster and stronger in every way and to ultimately change the way our small business customers and partners experience small business finance.”

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