Tag Archives: SMEs

LFP075 – Managing Fintech Rebundling with Nikolay Storonsky CEO of Revolut

One of the founding ethos of Fintech was “unbundling” – the slicing of FS into single-issue firms. This is now looking old-hat. Revolut acquired 500,000 customers in less than two years by offering interbank rates on FX transfers and so was one of the most successful of Fintech 1.0.

Now they are leading the way with Fintech 2.0 offering a whole range of products. Managing this transition with respect to both “the brand” and “the app” is not trivial and I am delighted to be joined today by co-founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky.

Unlike Monzo who have gone down the banking route but Revolut have remained with the simpler/cheaper/faster but narrower e-money issuer licence.

 

Topics discussed on the show include: Continue reading

LFP066 – Solving Fintech’s Profitability Problem with Bob Jones CEO & Founder Blue Motor Finance

LFP Blue Motor Finance2016 is the year Fintech realised it had to aim for making a profit. Very few do and for the tiny handful that do its mostly “minimal”. Solving this problem is absolutely vital for the Fintech revolution. This is the story of a Fintech that has done just that – satisfying customers, staff and shareholders. Blue Motor Finance has gone from 12 to 100 staff, 0 to 40 people “on the road”, £0 to £200+m loans, and £0 to seven-figure profits in just two years. A phenomenal achievement, and by a firm not widely known in the broader Fintech world.

Bob-JonesSo listen up and find the real secrets of balanced Fintech success as CEO and founder Bob Jones shares how a lifetime’s lessons (having been in asset finance for over 50 yrs) has enabled him to reach these goals.

Bob has been a CEO of some big companies, many of which he turned round. An management buy-in provided a bridge from the top roles in BigCo to starting from scratch and leveraging all that experience.

So without further ado topics we discuss include: Continue reading

LFP051 – The SME Overdraft Crisis & the Fintech Solution with James Sherwin-Smith CEO Growth Street

LFP_banner Growth StreetThis week we dive deep into business overdrafts with James Sherwin-Smith CEO of Growth Street.

James Sherwin SmithIf 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.

Rather different from a bank what?

Amongst other things we discuss: Continue reading

LFP050 – Is P2P FX All It’s Cracked Up To Be? With John Booth Founder of Midpoint

Midpoint_LogoDid you know that the world’s first P2P FX firm was formed in 1998 and is listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange and cross-listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange?

No, me neither.

John BoothMidpoint, formed in 1998, describe themselves as the world’s first authentic peer-to-peer (‘P2P’) international foreign currency and payments platform, have a US patent on its FX deal matching process and have won several awards for this including being the “Best P2P Currency Matching Platform” in 2015.

 

Zooming up to the bigger picture of P2P – y’all know about P2P – one of the mainstays of the fintech revolution.

Or so you might think.

In P2P borrowing and lending there has been a lot of displacement of the “P” by institutional capital – so less P2P than it was.

In Insurance Fintech P2P is far more spoken about than done.

In FX – well it’s always been something of an insiders’ secret that the much-vaunted P2P FX model – beloved of unicorn valuations – is more talked about than done.

In LFP023 Philippe Gelis CEO of B2B Fintech FX players Kantox spoke about how “pure P2P” in the FinTech fx markets rapidly became “best execution” and that P2P never really worked.

The most well-known B2C FX Fintech is Transferwise. In a recent article Nick England founder of VFX and a 15yr veteran of the FX markets said that Transferwise was – “smoke and mirrors” – and that their main innovation was around marketing.

It was something of a surprise to social media Fintechers that Transferwise (as far as I and others saw) chose not to reply to these claims. The Memo reached out to Transferwise to ask how much is P2P and how much is dealt outside and they declined to reply. So after all, like the banks, they do have “something to hide”.

Another advertising slogan bites the dust.

Against this bakckground, for some time I have been keeping my eye out for a firm that does P2P FX to come on the show and honestly and openly discuss the pros and cons of Fintech FX.

As Midpoint are listed they are rather more familiar than non-listed firms with the need to tell the truth about business rather than hype up some PR and spin.

Discussions in this episode include: Continue reading

LFP041 – The Dataless Desert – Equity Crowdfunding with Rupert Taylor CEO AltFi Data

AltFi Data Banner

In a Fintech Era when Big Data is all the rage Equity Crowdfunding rather looks like a very poor relation indeed. Less Small Data even and more No Data. As I have written about in The Strange Case of Missing Data on UK Equity Crowdfunding none of the platforms, the UK Crowdfunding Association or the FCA appear to be providing or asking for even the bare minimum,

Rupert TaylorI am pleased to be joined in this curious vacuum by Rupert Taylor MD of AltFiData who first appeared on the show a year ago giving an overview of the whole alternative finance scene.  The AltFi Data team recently released a report City lawyers Nabarro entitled “Where are they now? A report into the status of companies that have raised finance using equity crowdfunding in the UK

For those of you who aren’t aware of the depths of the challenge in this area the acting head of the FCA and chairman of the FCA were grilled recently by the UK government’s Treasury Select Committee.  Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this was the lack of grip the FCA appeared to have on data on the sector – venturing that p2p losses were “around 1%” and that there was a lack of performance data around ECF.  However the FCA did mention that they insist that ECF platforms make it clear that the majority of startups fail.

In this episode we discuss: Continue reading

LFP038 – Highlights from Lendit 2015 Europes Largest P2P Conference with Peter Renton

The road goes on forever - next Lendit already teed-up.

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 Renton PhotoPeter 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

LFP036 – The Direct Lending Model with Chris Rieche CEO of iwoca

iwoca_with_tagline

I am delighted to be joined by Chris Rieche CEO and co-founder of iwoca. Iwoca is a Fintech lender but not a P2P.  They raise finance and then can lend it out themselves – a direct lending model which has many advantages as we will hear.

iwoca lends up to £100k to small businesses in the UK, Poland, Spain and Germany at rates varying from around 13-40% p.a and has around 100 employees in London.

It has also this year made a landmark partnership with the giant Alibaba to offer a trade finance product and raised £20m in equity capital this year.

christoph_rieche

Chris and co-founder and CTO James Dear founded iwoca in 2011 right back in the early days of the Fintech lending movement.

 

 

 

In this episode we discuss: Continue reading

LFP034 – SME Lending in the Fintech Age with Andrew Mullinger Co-Founder of Funding Circle

Co-founders Samir, James and Andrew

Co-founders Samir, James and Andrew

Funding Circle need no introduction being the heavyweight SME marketplace lender in the UK and the only global player to have a large footprint in both the UK and the US.  Those on the conference circuit may be more familiar with Andrew’s co-founders, Samir Desai and James Meekings; Andrew has tended to stay at home with his head under the bonnet working on the engine within Funding Circle – that of the credit underwriting process.

SME lending is a prosaic phrase but one that is vital for a modern economy that is undergoing an ever increasing bifurcation into gigantic oligopolistic corporations or smaller companies. Finance is the lifeblood of such smaller companies and as the first line of Andrew’s LinkedIn says:

“The aim of every business should be to change the way other people live their lives for the better, not that of the founders!”

They are certainly doing that and at this rate will deservedly also change the lives of the founders and staff as Funding Circle are on everyone’s “tiny handful” list of big players with very short odds to IPO.

In this show we dive into the world of SME credit and lending in the Fintech Age.

Plenty of hardcore content; points discussed include: Continue reading

LFP030 – A Deep Dive into Invoice Financing in the Fintech Age with Anil Stocker CEO MarketInvoice

MarketInvoice London Fintech Podcast

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

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP029 – Secured & Insured Lending/Borrowing with Angus Dent CEO ArchOver

Archover London Fintech PodcastNew entrants into Fintech need a twist.  ArchOver has an innovative (a word oft used but rarely accurate) and very interesting innovation of combining Credit Insurance with Secured SME marketplace lending.  Additionally they innovate by not just using single invoices as security (which is common) but by the whole set of invoices (ie “accounts receivable”).

This model they call “secured and insured” – a real belt and braces.  In a marketplace which, post Lending Club IPO has been characterised by a dash for asset growth it is very refreshing to see a P2P that is focused on minimising Lender Risk (as subject I have written about a lot this year – see eg my columns for AltFi News).

Angus Dent
So I am delighted to be joined on the show by Angus Dent CEO of ArchOver to discuss how “secured and insured” lending works.

It’s certainly a fascinating crossover of insurance, banking and the new digital Fintech worlds.

 

In this episode we discuss: Continue reading