SME Finance Sector Sees Milestone Hit as Funding Options Launch Funding Cloud
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SME Finance Sector Hits Milestone as Funding Options Launch Funding Cloud

Funding Options has launched Funding Cloud, a technology and data-driven platform that will bring unparalleled scale and speed to the SME finance sector. Lenders including Just Cash Flow, iwoca, YouLend, Optimum Finance and FIBR have already integrated with Funding Cloud to benefit from its innovative technology and as a highly efficient channel for customer acquisition. By Q4 this year, the company expects to have more than 30 lenders fully integrated.

One of the greatest challenges for SME owners is navigating the complexity of finance solutions available in a highly fragmented lending market. Funding Cloud powers a centralised two-sided marketplace, streamlining the process for all participants, offering speed and certainty for SMEs, and reducing friction for lenders creating a vastly more efficient market. Through data analytics, open banking APIs and Artificial Intelligence, it is the only platform to present customers with confirmed funding options via a single dynamic customer journey, to help SMEs quickly find the most suitable lenders and products based on their eligibility and needs.

Simon Cureton, CEO of Funding Options comments, “Our mission is to deliver a single platform that powers holistic digital SME solutions, matching businesses with the best funding options. We are incredibly excited for the launch of Funding Cloud as part of that journey. This builds on the significant scale we have, both in terms of our SME acquisition flow and distribution to our lender partners. Whilst our initial priority will be in getting more lenders transitioned onto the new platform, longer-term it will enable a host of SME data-driven services to be sourced through digital journeys. Covid-19 has shone a huge spotlight on the SME lending ecosystem and Funding Cloud coupled with our market-leading acquisition flow, has the power to transform the SME finance landscape.”

Funding Cloud has the power to deliver real-time instant decisions and firm offers from lenders, based on the two-way exchange of rich digital information. This is a milestone innovation for the SME finance sector, allowing Funding Options to improve upon its capabilities in delivering fast lending decisions to its customers, the previous record being just 2 minutes and 56 seconds from application to approval. Importantly, borrowers that do not match lender criteria receive free insight to understand the financial health of their business and what may be required to gain approval in future.

The platform completes the legwork for lenders, but they retain control where required, underwriting loans and managing their products through a dedicated lender portal. The data-rich Funding Cloud also enables a comparable lending score to be developed for every business, providing insight into propensity for success with Funding Options’ lender panel and overall risk for lender consumption.

Christoph Rieche, CEO and co-founder of iwoca added: “Embedded finance is at the heart of what we do. Our technology and this integration means we can now offer bespoke loans that are tailored to each of our partners – such as Funding Options through their exciting new Funding Cloud platform. We believe that business owners should be able to access finance where and when they need it and through the very services they use day-to-day. This includes invoice management systems, bookkeeping apps and of course when trying to source funding through online marketplaces. The Funding Cloud will allow us to scale our own lending, reach more small business owners and importantly make it much easier and faster for them to access the finance they need to rebuild and grow.”

Aleks Kudic, CTO of Funding Options said, “In building the Funding Cloud, we started with a vision of what the ideal platform for SME lending would look like. To execute this vision, we adopted a customer-first approach to prioritise customer expectations at every stage of their funding journey. Customers look at three key things – speed of loan approvals, the cost of taking out the loan and the amount of funding they are eligible to receive. Key partnerships in open banking, open accounting and credit referencing have been pivotal to remove friction from the current process to give businesses accurate offers and lenders reassurance that sufficient due diligence has been carried out. Over time this scalable, data-rich marketplace will act as a clearinghouse for SME loans, enabling the market to move faster than ever before.”

Author

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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