We've got some big news. iwoca was recently awarded £10 million as one of four companies to benefit from the Capability and Innovation Fund. Issued by The Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR), this exciting award will help us fund more businesses than ever before – at least 150,000 – while making £5 billion in finance available by 2023.
“Winning this grant is a huge milestone for us,” says Christoph Rieche, our CEO and co-founder. “iwoca is the only SME lender in the UK with the scale, level of experience and technology to dramatically expand and transform access to finance for small businesses.”
Our initial focus will be on OpenLending – a customisable self-serve or “plug & play” platform we'll roll out to lending partners. Part of the OpenLending project is a close partnership with our friends at Xero, the UK’s leading cloud accounting platform. We’ll build on our current integration to co-develop finance products that suit the needs of their UK subscriber base of more than 450,000 businesses.
At the moment, when businesses apply for finance with iwoca – or if their accountants apply for them – they can:
We’ll have more news on how we’re expanding the partnership in the coming months.
“The UK is one of the easiest places in the world to start a business, but not enough is done to help them grow,” says Edward Berks, Business Platform Director at Xero. “Boosting the UK's productivity means helping small businesses access finance to fund growth. It also means addressing the late payment epidemic which ties up working capital and stifles innovation. So I'm very excited that we'll be accelerating our partnership with iwoca to work together on new SME credit propositions. Small businesses deserve better access to funds.”
Since 2012, iwoca has offered funding to 35,000 businesses in the UK. But there's still a £10 billion gap in business finance because small business owners can't find the right options and often struggle to access funds.
Thanks to the BCR grant we’re committed to creating new financial products for small businesses. A key focus for us will be introducing a ‘no PG loan’ – a business loan that won't require a personal guarantee.
We also aim to bring finance to where business owners need it most – at the point of invoice – by launching iwocaPay. Designed to help solve the problem of late payments forever, iwocaPay will fund both sides of the invoice (buyer and seller), allowing the option to extend flexible payment terms to buyers, while also ensuring prompt payments.
Last but not least, we'll also add an extra £13 million to the £10 million CIF grant, creating a total pot of £23 million to fuel these projects. This investment will mean we can open a regional office with at least 50 staff outside of London.
We can’t wait to get started expanding what’s possible for small businesses across the country.