It’s fair to say commercial lending is not exactly synonymous with Melbourne’s vibrant nightclub scene.
However, the unconventional pairing is combined seamlessly by Vlasi Chletsos, BDM Victoria, OnDeck Australia, who for 20 years has moonlighted as a nightclub DJ and since 2020 has been managing director of discoBOX.
discoBOX was born out of COVID and aimed to breathe life into the out-of-club experience. With the southern city experiencing some of the world’s toughest lockdowns, the DJ community, including finance specialist Vlasi could not ply their musical trade, and mental health became a major challenge for the DJ community. Significantly, discoBOX partners with mental health charity, 100Words. The non-profit, aims to empower men to support each other to prevent suicide and preventable men’s health issues.
In response to the lockdowns, DJs Vlasi, who operates under than pseudonym of Sarlece, and colleagues Kelvin Dana, Joe Sofo, and Borce Kajmakoski launched discoBOX in October 2020, the online platform showcasing the signature sounds of artists through streamed performances on demand.
So successful was discoBOX’s initial online presence that the venture now organises events and parties, collaborations, and artist bookings.
Twin passions for turntables and Lightning Loans
Equally passionate about his role as a BDM with OnDeck, Vlasi had a successful sales and business development career before joining the leading online small business lender.
Starting in the phone accessories industry, Vlasi worked in telecommunications with Samsung as a BDM before switching to a property fund as a Finance Manager between 2015 and 2017. The entrepreneurial-minded Vlasi then launched a mortgage broking firm before switching to a major bank as a BDM. He landed at OnDeck in January 2023, working out of the lender’s Victorian division.
Vlasi explains, “My passion for building strong relationships and assisting brokers in placing deals led me to become a BDM in finance.
“Having owned my brokerage has given me great insight into what brokers expect from their BDM’s and their lenders.”
Why did you join OnDeck?
Having worked in finance for over a decade, Vlasi was looking to work with a team of professionals dedicated to providing quality service for their clients and their network of industry partners.
He says, “OnDeck has a reputation for excellence and innovation, which made them stand out when I was exploring the next steps in my career.”
How do you work with brokers to ensure good customer outcomes?
Having now sat on either side of the” lending” fence, Vlasi says it’s clear what his clients expect of him and how he can assist brokers in structuring a deal.
“A quick NO is just as important as a quick YES however, rest assured, if we cannot service the client, I’m more than happy to assist a broker in placing it elsewhere.
“Together, we are trying to service their client’s needs best and be seen as an extension of their business.
Top tips to enable brokers looking to work more efficiently with BDMs
When workshopping a deal, Vlasi advises brokers that they need to “know your client” (KYC).
“Understand not only why they are looking for funding but also how long they have been in business and their challenges.
“Also, understand the company structure, the number of directors, and whether there is trust involved. And, have a rough idea of their annual sales turnover and, last but not least, any other lenders they have a facility with.”
This advice sounds like music to our ears!