James Crowther owns one of Europe’s 20 million SMEs. Utilising his background in finance and fleet management, James’ vehicle brokerage business, Trade Vehicles Direct, finds clients the best deals on cars by sourcing direct from suppliers. His negotiation skills and industry relationships are key to his success and have allowed him to grow fast in his niche. Unfortunately, he struggled to fund the rapid growth since the main banks struggled to analyse his model and fit his business in a convenient box.
Like James, the vast majority of Europe’s small businesses need working capital. In fact a recent study by the European Central Bank showed that between April and September this year, 30% of all SMEs applied for finance but only 66% were successful. Many more SMEs were discouraged from even making an application. Solving this funding gap inspired our co-founders, Christoph Rieche and James Dear, to leave their careers in investment banking to launch iwoca in 2012. iwoca uses technology to increase access to credit for millions of small businesses.
SMEs are difficult to lend to. Their incredibly diverse business models make them tough to fit into convenient risk buckets and expensive to underwrite using traditional techniques. At iwoca, we’ve built technology to solve this challenge. At iwoca’s core are online data integrations that give a real-time view of a company’s trading data, allowing us to make a faster, fairer risk assessment. For instance, a business selling online could link their eBay and Amazon accounts so we lend based on their sales history, current inventory and customer feedback.
Back to James Crowther. He uses iwoca to bridge the cash flow gap between the time he receives the cars from the suppliers and the time they’re delivered to customers. This has helped him source luxury cars that he wouldn’t be able to purchase from his suppliers otherwise and accelerate his growth.
iwoca has already lent £70M to 4,000 businesses like James Crowther’s but we want to reach tens of thousands more so we’re excited to partner with MadeSimple – we aim to offer MadeSimple customers fast, flexible access to finance from iwoca. In other words, MadeSimple can give you the tools you need to start and run your business, and we can give you the finance you need to grow.
Guest post by iwoca – Business finance. Simplified.