Since Anil and MarketInvoicewere last on the LFP, and no doubt as a direct result, they have gone from having done ~£1/2bn to ~£2bn and remain the Invoice Financing market leaders as well as having expanded their product range.
Anil joins us today to discuss all things cashflow re the vital financing of UK SMEs which account for 60% of employment in the UK and over 50% of GDP.
This week we dive deep into business overdrafts with James Sherwin-Smith CEO of Growth Street.
If you overdrafts sound dull consider the fact that they are the most commonly used form of financing for SMEs in the UK and that their supply has fallen by 40-50% in the past twelve months :-O
That’s enough to get politicians interested, let alone Fintechers.
Greg Carter one of the founders was working as a VC at Arts Alliance (the firm behind such winners as LoveFilm and Shazam). He found that many of his portfolio companies struggled to open basic overdraft facilities from banks. It was from this experience of pain that the idea for Growth Street emerged as a non-bank alternative for SMEs.
To make a definitional point to an FS guy like myself an overdraft is something which comes from a bank. And indeed banks first did business overdrafts in 1728. Only banks can offer them and thus a non-bank Fintech can’t.
However a Fintech is perfectly able to issue loans and if this is structured as a facility which you can call upon when needed to a pre-agreed limit at a defined cost – well frankly it’ll just be easier to call that an overdraft on the show.
Growth Street offer facilities up to £1/2million to UK limited companies. Applications take 15mins online with a decision in 3 days and only charge a monthly fee when the facility is being used.
Today I am delighted to welcome Alex Langridge Director of The Up Group on the show to talk about the very hot topic of whether Fintechs can grow up without, as it were, turning into their parents.
Less metaphorically what will mean that Alternative Finance remains alternative and doesn’t just end up like a Moorish house, inward looking into its own courtyard. Will they become like banks with levels and levels of internal committees, office politics and a lack of focus?
There are two key factors here.
Firstly the firm has to decide what its culture is. Which parts of that were just startup land? For many client or business facing AltFis suits are de rigour and t-shorts were startup. Which parts do they want to keep.
Secondly who do you recruit? It’s a good gossip topic over drinks for insiders on the London Fintech scene to discuss the obvious “don’t fits” – the imported investment bankers oozing arrogance and entitlement – sticking out like a sore thumb. Quite in contrast to real Fintechs who, having grown from nowhere know that they have been lucky to survive a perilous path that most of their compatriots have fallen off. And there but for the grace of God they could too have fallen.
It’s at this Nexus that the role of “a professional search firm” – aka head-hunters is key.
The Up Group was formed in 2007 with a vision to become the primary destination for digital talent. They must be doing well given the number of gigs they have worked on in Alternative Finance for some of the leading players.
It’s a pleasure to be joined by Alex who has placed some key hires into Fintechland and thus faces these challenges every day.
This is London Fintech Podcast episode 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything. Well a bit of everything anyway. And I have the pleasure to be joined today by – er – myself.
In the now traditional (um – can doing something twice be a tradition?) first podcast of the year step away from diving into a topic with an esteemed guest and take a more top of the mountain view of the landscape.
As it’s a bumper funpack we will cover a whole range of topics all of which pertain to Fintech.
So we start today’s show with the relevance of Star Wars; move on to beer and deep dive into a topic that applies to Fintech and to the whole of our perception of the world, the media – mainstream and indie.
Next a review of key themes from 2015 UK Fintech and finally we wrap up with some thoughts about the future.
In the next episode I’ll be back to the far easier task of asking folks smarter than I the answer to life the universe and everything or at least what’s going on in their corner of the Fintech phenomenon
The road goes on forever – the next Lendit is already lined-up
I am delighted to be joined by Peter Renton to discuss some key highlights from the Lendit Europe 2015 conference, especially for those of you who weren’t there and even for those of you who were as in the afternoon it split into two streams.
Peter was back on the show in LFP015 way back in last December wearing his Lend Academy hat relating to us the amazing story of the development of P2P in the US – something he saw from it’s very origins when it was scarcely noticed.
Today he is joining me wearing his Lendit Conference hat. Lendit now runs by far the world’s largest P2P conferences – some 2,500 in Lendit US 2015, 500 in Lendit China 2015 and yesterday around 750 in Lendit Europe.
In this episode we have an off-the-cuff conversation about what leaps out to us as the really interesting things happening in P2P in Europe right now. It’s a great way to get up the curve fast and we discuss a wide range of topics: Continue reading →
Platform Black is the UK’s second largest invoice discounting marketplace having traded over 2,000 invoices and recently passing the £100m mark. On the show John Regan an Angel Investor who co-seed-funded PB joins us to discuss its journey and in particular a much-rumoured about (in cognoscenti circles) problem with a default/recovery.
He also takes this chance to talk about crises in general and how to react to them – whether in life (sailing across the Atlantic) or in business.
In a world where most everyone seems to portray themselves as an entrepreneur John is the real deal. He has a track record of building 3 businesses from start up to trade sale. How many folks have done that once let alone three times?
In the bars and bazaars the whispers/gossip goes around about this company or that. As I have indicated before in terms of verticals in fintech the equity crowdfunding scene seems to produce the most [and if you want some gossip check out a very un-fluffy bunny blog on deals and companies in that sector – The Truth About Equity Crowdfunding].
In P2P by far the most rumoured/gossiped about company has been Platform Black – the number two player in the fintech invoice discounting market. I have heard countless stories from countless sources. Plenty of smoke but differing accounts of the fire and how much damage it did. John has kindly come on the show today to dispel the smoke and talk about the fire.
Normally at this point I summarise the main topics of the show.
In a world obsessed with “data” its hard to recall that data is at the bottom of a hierarchy. Above it is information. Above that knowledge. Above that at the top of the tree is wisdom.
This show is about wisdom. That wisdom applies in life and in business and plenty of it in P2P (not least of which the weaknesses of a “true” (Ebay-like) marketplace model). If I summarised it the real juice would get lost – a bit like me saving you going to a performance of Macbeth by telling you it’s about an over-ambitious bloke who egged on by his pushy wife tops a king and it all ends in tears. Thats a summary but you see how it loses most everything.
As this is London Fintech Podcast episode thirty and as it’s a big round number I am especially delighted to be joined by one of the giants of the London Fintech scene Anil Stocker, CEO and co-founder of MarketInvoice. Not only do we do a deep-dive into invoice financing but Anil also talks about MarketInvoice’s exciting plans for the future.
I cannot think of one sector of Fintech where there has been adequate competition where the leading player has left their competitors so far behind in their wake as MarketInvoice has in Invoice Finance.
I have long been a fan of MarketInvoice, so much so that a year ago when a friend was discussing with me his son’s business expansion and the need for working capital when dealing with major buyers I had no hesitation in saying “there is one name he should speak to”. A year later they are now a case study on MarketInvoice’s website, their business is booming and I know by direct experience that far from being abstract, good FS, good Fintech can act as enabler for people to grow businesses in the real world.
And what’s better than that?
Businesses use MarketInvoice to selectively sell their invoices to a network of global investors giving businesses immediate access to funds otherwise tied up for between 30 to 120 days. There are no contracts, hidden fees or personal guarantees. New clients can sign up in a couple of days and sell an invoice and draw down funds on the same day.
They have already helped hundreds of businesses overcome the lengthy payment terms of their large customers. Over £420m has been raised through the platform, with businesses using the funds to hire more staff, launch new products and pay their suppliers