The Board of Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR) has announced the results of the Capability and Innovation Fund Pool C grant process, with four leading British fintechs winning a £10m grant each.
The Capability and Innovation Fund Pool C is designed to facilitate the expansion of business offerings to include lending or payments services to SMEs in the United Kingdom or international payments services to SMEs in the United Kingdom.
Four £10m grants are awarded to the following organisations: Atom Bank PLC, iwoca Ltd, Modulr Finance Limited and The Currency Cloud Group Ltd.
Modulr, which was founded in 2016 and is backed by Blenheim Chalcot, already enables partners to embed payment processes in existing SME customer journeys seamlessly, allowing accounting software and payroll providers to compete with banks. The fintech, which at present reaches more than 35,000 SMEs, provides a digital payments alternative to incumbent error prone, time consuming and opaque traditional payment and banking services that are disconnected from business platforms such as accounting and payroll software.
Myles Stephenson, Chief Executive Officer, Modulr, commented: “We want to make tired old payment technology a thing of the past for neglected Accountants and SMEs. Modulr was founded with a purpose to make money flow more efficiently through businesses and the economy. This award from the CIF will help us deliver on our vision and passion to support SME businesses to thrive across the UK.
“This is a great opportunity to bring an entirely new digital solution to market; the benefits of unlocking automation and straight-through payment processing will radically change the way SMEs and accountants do business.”
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iwoca, a London-based fintech and one of Europe’s largest business lenders, says the grant will be key to expanding iwoca’s customer base to 150,000 and making £5 billion available to support Britain’s SMEs.
Since iwoca’s launch in 2012, the small business lender has already made funding available to 35,000 businesses in the UK, raised £350 million in equity and debt finance as well as achieving a series of industry firsts such as launching a Lending API.
CEO Christoph Rieche commented: “Winning this grant is a huge milestone for us. We’re confident that we’ll be delivering on our commitment to make £5 billion available to 150,000 SMEs by 2023.
“Our proven track record of industry firsts includes integrating with eBay and Amazon, being the first business to offer a Lending API, and the first SME lender to integrate with OpenBanking. Winning the grant enables us to accelerate our mission to make finance available to one million SMEs.”
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Currencycloud, the B2B cross border payments provider, states it will use its share of the £40 million funding round to expand its cross-border platform, enhancing its 24/7, global transaction capabilities for its B2B customers.
Mike Laven, CEO of Currencycloud, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this £10 million grant by BCR to advance our global transaction platform to better serve the needs of SME customers, as part of our mission to open up high-quality international payments beyond the realm of big banks.”
“Through our established network of providers across the UK, Currencycloud is building products to reach parts of the market currently underserved by traditional players. Today, more than nine in ten international payments are still processed by these firms, whose grip over the industry has led to unfair pricing, poor customer experiences and slow processes. This has created friction for UK SMEs trying to grow overseas which we must help them solve.”