CapitalBox Behind the Idea
Behind the Idea Europe Lending

Behind the Idea: CapitalBox

Access to finance has always been a key constraint to SME success and growth, but the situation is worsening across Europe, in part, due to difficult macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions. Traditional lenders often do not have the risk appetite to serve smaller companies, or work with outdated models that prevent SMEs from getting the support they need to survive.

One lender hoping to support SMEs during this difficult time is CapitalBox, a Finland-based fintech offering tailored alternative funding solutions to businesses across Europe. To find out more about how CapitalBox is supporting SMEs through lending, its evolution and plans for the future, we hear from its CEO, Mantvydas Štareika.

Tell us more about CapitalBox and its offering
Mantvydas Štareika, CEO of CapitalBox headshot
Mantvydas Štareika, CEO of CapitalBox

CapitalBox provides alternative funding and lending solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe that have been traditionally overlooked and underserved by old-school financial institutions and lending models.

We provide these entrepreneurs and their companies with rapid, secure, and individually tailored alternative funding products designed for the modern, digital business climate.

What problem was your company set up to solve?

Broadly speaking, CapitalBox was founded to address the European small companies’ funding gap head-on. SMEs make up 99 per cent of all European companies – thus making up the backbone of the continent’s economy – and yet these companies remain underfunded to the tune of about €400billion. That’s a staggering gap, and narrowing it is our number one priority.

Since launch, how has your company evolved?

In many ways, CapitalBox in 2024 closely resembles CapitalBox when it was founded in 2015 as an independent business unit of the Multitude Group growth platform – only bigger and more streamlined.

Our mission to help SMEs affected by underfunding hasn’t changed. What has changed is how much we can lend, how quickly we can dispense funds, the level of individualisation applied to our lending solutions, and how many markets and countries we serve on the continent. The biggest change has been expanding our scope year after year, country after country. Our initial mission remains the same.

What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?

Lending to SMEs is quite different from consumer lending. We delve deeper into the financials of the businesses we fund, analysing their development potential and business plans. At CapitalBox, our goal is to assist as many small and micro-companies as possible, which means reaching a diverse array of businesses in every market. We currently operate in five different markets and provide loans to approximately 7,000 businesses.

However, we analyse around 30,000 entities annually. This demands substantial analytical data and resources. One of our biggest challenges was to develop efficient and automated risk assessment tools to swiftly deliver our final decisions to customers. I’m proud to say that we’ve achieved this, as our average decision and payout time can now be as quick as 10 minutes. This enables us to rapidly support businesses of any size or industry.

What are your biggest achievements or proudest moments so far?

I began in this position a year ago and am continually learning how to effect change in this industry and reach as many different businesses as possible. However, within this year, my team has implemented changes that typically take other companies several years.

In this brief period, we’ve expanded our product range to include credit line loans and larger secured lending options. This allows companies to quickly obtain funding for their working capital and plan investments of up to 3 million euros. We have also pursued and implemented additional automation solutions to further reduce decision times and better meet our customers’ needs. While it might not seem like a monumental achievement, I can assure you that it represents a significant victory for us and the market.

How would you describe the culture of your company?

Open, innovative, results-oriented, and intelligently optimistic about our mission and our clients. We’ve embraced AI and machine learning integration deliberately. We try things and discard what doesn’t work. Nothing is overly precious that way.

As CEO, I make a point to foster a culture where people are free to try new things without fear of pushback or failure. I don’t consider trial-and-error – especially the error part – a negative thing. I’m very anti-micromanaging as well, and I’m proud of how CapitalBox’s culture is one that brings in really bright and driven people and then trusts them to do what they do well.

What’s in store for the future?

Right now we’re growing and we’re setting ourselves up to continue that growth in the future. I’m very insistent on the idea that growth processes must include making detailed plans for how to maintain and sustain that growth.

What growth means to us right now is expanding via new branches in new countries serviced by teams of experts in whatever market that may be. We’re bringing on new people from our C-suite to our most client-facing roles and always onboarding new clients. We want to keep doing what we do best, and continue improving on that high-water mark as much and as responsibly as possible.

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