A different kind of fuel: North American bank helps UK scaleups get more mileage from their funding

CIBC banking

In a boom period that began at the end of the 2008 financial crisis, the UK tech sector has attracted an influx of financial institutions and venture capitalists seeking investment opportunities among up-and-coming companies.

Even during the current period of economic uncertainty, Britain remains the largest tech sector in Europe and the third largest in the world, according to the Digital Economy Council. In this thriving ecosystem, high-growth companies have more options than ever when it comes to raising capital.

Once a funding round is closed, however, these companies often find themselves sitting on a surplus of unproductive cash. Yet there are ways to put that surplus cash to work. Just ask CIBC Innovation Banking, the Canadian bank focused on helping founders squeeze more value out of their funding.

A bank that understands the tech ecosystem

CIBC Innovation Banking is a highly specialised team solely focused on the needs of companies competing in the innovation economy. Backed by the financial strength of an AA-rated bank, CIBC Innovation Banking is a leading industry lender in North America – and has been building a meaningful presence in the UK and Europe as a provider of flexible, stage-agnostic growth capital to scaling software companies.

“The tech ecosystem in Europe and the UK is incredibly robust,” says Sean Duffy, managing director of CIBC Innovation Banking in the UK and Europe. “To keep it that way, banks must understand what these high-growth companies need, and that’s an area where CIBC Innovation Banking really excels.”

Duffy, who has 25 years of experience in the banking sector, joined CIBC Innovation Banking in 2021 to head up the London office. Before that, he spent more than a decade leading the TMT Group at another financial institution. He has deep experience in the tech ecosystem – and so does the rest of the team at CIBC Innovation Banking. “CIBC brings a deep understanding of what founders are going through as they scale their companies,” he says. “Very few companies grow in a straight line. There’s always a bend in the corner, and our facilities are designed to help founders get around them.”

The right formula to fuel growth

CIBC Innovation Banking works closely with founders and executive teams to help them deploy their capital strategically to catalyse growth. If a client has surplus cash after closing a funding round, for example, CIBC Innovation Banking can set them up with a deposit plan that offers attractive rates. This combination of financial and strategic support helps clients extract maximum value from their funding – something that’s especially valuable for start-ups that don’t yet show positive cash flow, or who have faced challenges securing growth capital from banks less experienced in the financial ebb and flow of the innovation lifecycle.

“One of the great things about this job is you get to meet the founders and work hand-in-hand with them,” adds Duffy. “We are there with them along the journey as their businesses become really meaningful enterprises.”

Those close relationships have had a substantial impact on clients like Eoin Corcoran, chief financial officer at Smart.

“We’re delighted to have CIBC Innovation Banking support Smart, helping us accelerate our near-term growth ambitions, increase our presence in core markets, and roll out product initiatives to transform retirement across the world,” says Corcoran. “Our technology is already helping more than a million people save and plan for retirement. With CIBC’s £40m in growth financing and partner relationship approach, Smart is aiming to grow their user base to ten million and beyond.”

A stable loan book underpinned by tech sector expertise

In a funding environment with more options than ever, founders increasingly value funding providers who can demonstrate their expertise and experience in tech – and who have a proven track record of success.

“We have a very specific profile of the kind of clients we work best with,” says Duffy. “We know our clients, we speak their language, and that means we can make fast, confident loan decisions.” In a venture debt industry going through great change, CIBC Innovation Banking offers stability and builds trust thanks to strong relationships and its financial strength as a top-tier bank.

A net positive for European innovators

CIBC’s support for their tech clients extends beyond writing a cheque. The Innovation Banking team is embedded in the technology ecosystem. They communicate with companies and stakeholders in language that is relevant to them.

With an ever-expanding network of founders, CFOs, investors and advisors, they can connect their clients with industry peers and perspectives.

It’s why some clients have said that CIBC is more than a bank – they’re a financial partner looking out for their best interests and focused on how to support their growth plans. And that’s an invaluable relationship for founders who are looking to cut through the noise and find growth funding that really works for them.

CIBC London Branch (Reg. no. 141285) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered at 150 Cheapside, London EC2V 6ET.

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