Britain’s financial technology (fintech) sector is flying. Whether it’s cutting the cost of transferring cash overseas or making it easier to pay your restaurant bill, investors are queuing up to open their wallets in the hope of taking a punt on the next Paypal.
The latest fintech start-up to land a big tranche of cash is MarketInvoice, a peer-to-peer lender that lets small businesses borrow money against the value of their unpaid invoices. The company has raised another $10m (£6m) from existing investors Northzone and the family office of Paul Forster, co-founder of jobs search engine Indeed.com.
‘MarketInvoice has one of the most robust models in peer-to-peer finance and is growing its user base quickly,’ said Forster. ‘They have great plans to broaden their core products on both the borrowing and lending sides of the platform.’
MarketInvoice has facilitated £475m of lending since being founded in 2010, but until now it has only been open to a select number of high net-worth and institutional investors. With this new money it plans to open up to retail investors – allowing individuals to lend to businesses in a similar way to fellow P2P platforms Funding Circle and Thincats. It also plans to let businesses borrow against subscriptions, contracts and licences.
‘Our mission is to become the destination for small businesses looking for working capital finance,’ said co-founder and CEO Anil Stocker (pictured with co-foudner Ilya Kondrashov). ‘This oxygen of funding for UK businesses is a poorly served market and it represents a huge opportunity.’
Opening up to a much wider pool of investors has the potential to seriously accelerate MarketInvoice's growth, but in an increasingly busy market it will have a tough fight on its hands.