FinTech: iwoca’s New OpenLending Platform To Support SMEs During Coronavirus

The UK-based online lender will funnel loans from fintechs and banks to SMEs.

These are trying times for small and medium businesses with entire countries under lockdown from the coronavirus threat. iwoca, the SME-focused online lender, launched its new platform, OpenLending. This platform will act as a channel for SME loans originating from banks and fintechs for disbursement to more than two million SMEs using Iwoca. (CROWDFUND INSIDER)

In November 2019, iwoca announced it had lent over £1 billion to small businesses since its launch in 2012. During 2018, iwoca lent £330 million, a 90% jump over the previous year, and a record. The firm turned profitable the same year. Notably, it has doubled its revenue in each of the last three years.

Grants and Debt Capital

iwoca has made good on its commitment to build the new OpenLending platform, towards the award of a £10 million grant it received from the Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF), as part of Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR).

At the time, Christoph Rieche, iwoca’s CEO and Co-Founder, said that the company was the UK’s only SME lender to integrate with eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). iwoca was also the only business to offer a lending API, and the first SME lender to integrate with OpenBanking.

Last month, iwoca received €100 million from BNY Mellon Insight Investment to provide funding for small businesses in Germany. Over 90% of all businesses are said to be SMEs in Germany.

The same month, iwoca raised £150 million in equity and debt capital in a Series D funding round. The round was led by Augmentum Fintech with participation from NIBC Bank and other existing investors, including Prime Ventures.

iwoca – lending during the coronavirus epidemic

Rieche had this to say about the new platform:

“The concept of OpenLending has the potential – through collaboration with the banks and fintech partners – to fix some of the biggest problems SMEs will face in the coming months. OpenLending is a fully digital platform that established banks can use to get finance to small businesses within minutes, opposed to weeks or even months. Digital access to finance is particularly valuable now where COVID-19 may lead to severe disruption of bank branch networks and call centres, reducing their ability to provide the service level that they aim for under normal circumstances. Now is the time to come together and work collaboratively to solve this problem.”

iwoca has also created a financial ecosystem around its OpenLending API.  Financial partners include Alternative Business Funding, Capitalise, CardOneBanking, Divido, Finpoint, FundingOptions, FundingXchange, Leadsource International, Monese, MVF, Rangewell, Sorodo, Think Business Finance, and tide.

Related Story: FinTech: Banking Challenger Penta Raises €18.5M

Image Credit: Flickr                                                   

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