Conrad was on the show back in LFP020 since when he has built Funding Options (strapline “your free marketplace for business finance”) into one of the most successful London Fintechs. They were chosen as one of three UK government mandated SME Referral Portals, are the largest of those by an order of magnitude, increased revenue fourfold last year, are on target to triple again this year as well as being on target to be the UK’s largest introducer of working capital finance.
Funding Options essential task/service is lining up all the many SME borrowers out there with relevant sources of Finance. A task made all the harder by the plethora of lenders and the many types of lending finance available.
Happy New Year boys and girls 🙂 May 2017 be a great one for you and yours! This is the New Year Special where I look back at my 9 highlights from 2016, dish out 10 immensely prestigious awards and take a peak at 2017.
In essence the (prosaically named) “UK SME Finance Referral Scheme” basically means that soon banks wont be able to tell SMEs to bugger-off any more (which was the reality behind the prosaic (and often very slow) “loan application declined” formula). Rather banks that turn down loan requests will need to direct SMEs to a portal(s)/alternative finance providers.
This market is far more diversified than fintech folks might imagine – for example the challenger banks Aldemore and Shawbrook have each individually lent more than the entire P2P industry. Last year Funding Options referred SME borrowers to 50 different providers of finance (in one case saving 100 jobs). They believe that this number is well in excess of any other players, but even then estimate that they have only addressed about 20% of the possibilities.
As you might imagine whilst the concept is simple the implementation of the scheme is tricky and complex. Conrad has been one of the key players advising the government in this context and Funding Options are one of the possible portals.
Conrad discusses the scheme and in the process covers the SME funding market – there are possibly more providers in the UK than in any comparable market in the world.