Coronavirus – an update from our CEO

iwoca co-founder and CEO Christoph Rieche gives his thoughts on the fast-moving COVID-19 outbreak.

13 March 2020

The following is an extract from an email to our customers on 13 March 2020.

As the coronavirus stokes fear around the world, regardless of our views of what policy makers should or shouldn’t do, as business owners we have no choice but keep calm and work through the challenges thrown at us.

We have to think not only about our family and our livelihood, but our staff, our customers and our suppliers – quite a daunting task for many of us. It certainly is for me.

Personally, two things help me manage the situation: working with my team and careful planning. I wanted to share our approach with you – I hope it’s helpful.

We remain 100% focused on our mission

That mission is to get you the finance you need to bridge cash flow gaps or make investments – within hours, not weeks. Coronavirus doesn’t change this mission: it reinforces it. We’re here to help – speak to your account manager by calling us on 020 3778 0274 if there’s anything we can do.

We are working with the government to help more small businesses

We believe the Government has a big role to play in softening economic blows. Earlier in the month we made recommendations for the 2020 budget, and we’re pleased some of our suggestions have been taken into account.

The government announced a £1bn Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and we’re pleased to announce that we’ve been made an accredited lender by the British Business Bank (BBB). We’re excited to help more small businesses through the coronavirus crisis through this scheme.

We’re making sure that we have plenty of cash in the bank

To avoid ‘running out of toilet paper’ like my local supermarket, we’ve decided to take a bigger than usual cash cushion in the bank, even if it comes at a cost. That way, we’ll be able to keep serving you (and pay our team and bills).

We are running smoothly (while keeping our team safe)

We are encouraging our staff to work from home if they wish, so please excuse us if you hear a little more noise in the background than usual. If you’ve ever been on the phone when your children get in from school, you’ll know what I mean. Like Jurgen Klopp, we follow advice from experts at the NHS to decide whether we should mandate remote working for everyone.

We’ve stress-tested various scenarios to know we’re prepared for them

Like many other businesses, we are working off our Business Continuity Plan. How will small businesses be affected by ‘social distancing’? What will be the impact on our finances over the next three months? These are tough questions we’re grappling with, to ensure we’re prepared.

Of course, I’m more preoccupied than usual – I’m sure you are too. But I’m also confident that we’re in a position to weather any challenges ahead of us.

All the best,

Christoph Rieche

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Christoph is CEO and co-founder of iwoca. He oversees day-to-day operations, finance and strategy, always with an eye on the long-term vision. Following a degree in Management from HEC Lausanne and the London School of Economics, Christoph went on to become a VP at Goldman Sachs where he advised corporate and institutional investors on risk management.

Article updated on: 7 October 2020

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