Former Irish rugby international Jamie Heaslip has joined Dublin-based peer-to-peer lender Flender as head of brand marketing, as the company aims to reach its €100m (£85.3m) lending milestone in 2020.
Heaslip was captain of both the Leinster and Ireland rugby teams before he retired from the sport in 2017. He was one of the earliest investors in Flender and has acted as the company’s brand ambassador for almost three years.
As head of brand marketing, he will be based full time at the company, and will work alongside chief executive Kris Koik to develop the Flender brand, increase brand awareness and develop new partnerships.
“We’re delighted that Jamie is joining the Flender family and his extensive leadership, business and marketing experience will be invaluable to the company,” said Koik.
“Jamie’s drive, ambition and record of success are the qualities that will help us achieve our plans to fund €100m in small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) loans by the end of 2020, and become Ireland’s leading digital lender.”
Prior to his appointment at Flender, Heaslip worked at Google’s Dublin headquarters.
He has also built a reputation as a start-up backer, investing in Dublin tech firm Pointy, analytics company Kitman Labs and venture capital firm Prime Active Capital.
“I’ve always admired people and businesses that question the norm and come up with innovative ideas and solutions,” said Heaslip. “By challenging how SMEs access capital, doing so at speed, and always putting customers first, Flender is doing just that.
“SMEs are the beating heart of the Irish economy and Ireland has become a melting pot of innovation, ideas and great businesses. I’m truly excited to be part of a truly innovative company that is helping ambitious Irish SMEs to take the next step in their journey – just like I’m taking mine.”