Our Co-Founders


Lamine Zarrad

Co-Founder & CEO

Lamine began his entrepreneurial journey as a refugee, going on to serve in the U.S. Marines. He then built an expertise around banking regulations and financial services through work at Merrill Lynch and the U.S. Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. With Joust, Lamine combines his passion for inclusion with his banking skills—to create the nation’s first, all-inclusive banking services app for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed.

Understanding the struggles of his audience, Lamine and the Joust team also created the first-ever invoice guarantee product, PayArmour—giving users the option to receive same-day funding for their unpaid invoices.

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George Kurtyka

Co-Founder & COO

George Kurtyka is the co-founder and COO of Joust—the nation’s first, all-inclusive banking services app for freelancers, entrepreneurs and the self-employed. George has in-depth knowledge of financial technology and uses it to connect people with fintech solutions. Prior to co-founding Joust, he drove business growth at Simple, guided multinational banks like JP Morgan and BBVA in incubating startups, and led global projects and teams at PayPal, Nokia, and Samsung. 

As Joust’s COO, George forges partnerships and strategies that will enable Joust to provide new services to the nation’s independently employed communities.

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The Leadership Team

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Heather Lunde

Head of Customer Success

In addition to her extensive experience in small business and freelance work, she brings corporate banking and loan servicing experience from her days with Ally Bank and best-in-class customer service provision for AT&T Wireless. Her past pursuits have always centered on the customer experience. She has run a successful event planning business, and created a customer service process for a family-owned drop shipping company that saw its average Amazon rating rise from 2.5 to 4.5 stars during her tenure there. She is, as the great philosopher and poet Meredith Brooks writes, “A little bit of everything all rolled into one.”

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Dan Melnick

Head of Product

Dan is Head of Product at Joust. Prior to joining Joust, Dan was co-founder of Reverb, a verticalized marketplace for musical instruments that was acquired by Etsy in August of 2019. Dan has been building on the web since the mid-90s, and has consistently been involved with web tech as it has evolved and matured.  His background as a software engineer and technologist led him to the interdisciplinary field of product, where his passion lies in helping teams align across marketing, analytics, and software to create high sustainable growth.

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Vicki Apodaca

Head of Marketing & Communications

As an experienced marketer in the startup industry, Vicki is driven by data. After working for companies such as Warner Music Group, Meals on Wheels of America, and AEG,, she has spent the past several years building growth within tech and innovation industries around the world. She has also facilitated partnerships with Universal Music Group, ITV UK, Vox Media, Freelancers Union, and IMG for the startups she has led marketing strategy.

She holds a BBA with a concentration in Marketing and is currently also pursuing an MBA with a concentration in International Management.

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Bass Bauman

Director of Finance

Bass is the Director of Finance at Joust. He is an expert in a variety of finance fields including cryptocurrency, financial planning, and fundraising. He has provided strategy development and CFO services to dozens of startups and growth businesses, including Techstars fintech startup ScaleFactor. Prior to joining the startup world, Bass led financial modeling at Apache Corporation where he directly supported $28 billion of asset transactions.

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