Fintech Friday: Funding Options

Efma feature

07 December 2018

Funding Options aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises get the business loans they need by providing them with an online comparison marketplace. CEO and founder Conrad Ford spoke to Efma’s Boris Plantier to explain more.

While working for a bank in the middle of a credit crunch, Conrad Ford came up with the idea of Funding Options. “I saw first-hand that promising businesses were struggling to borrow money,” said Ford. “The problem wasn’t that there wasn’t funding out there, it was that business owners simply didn’t know about the growing alternative finance market and thought that their bank was the only option.”

He noticed that other industries had been transformed by online comparison services and saw an opportunity to do the same for applying for loans. “I wanted to create the go-to service that any business could use when they needed finance,” he said. “The question I always ask myself is why is it so complicated to get a suitable business loan? After all, a business owner can buy their holiday travel insurance with a five-minute lunchtime trip to an online comparison site. So why is it that getting a loan for their business can typically take weeks?”

With so many small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners having sleepless nights over their financial situation, Ford’s mission became “to help the small walk tall.”

So far Funding Options has succeeded in its aim of providing SMEs with the loans they need, as each year it delivers “well over one hundred million pounds in vital funding, to thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), from more than fifty active lenders,” said Ford. “We’re very proud of our small business customer satisfaction levels, scoring over 95% on Trustpilot.”

Not only has the company landed partnerships with leading comparison sites and banks, but all major UK banks are now legally required to work with Funding Options.

In terms of future development, Ford says that the company’s big focus for 2019 is its European expansion. “At Money2020 this year, ING announced that they would be collaborating with us in their home market of the Netherlands,” he said. “Our launch there has gone very well, so I’m looking for our next European country!”

“We’re also very excited about Open Banking, where even the most sophisticated lenders we work with will require scanned bank statements before providing firms with a loan.” Ford added that Funding Options recently became the first fintech to use Open Banking data to help a small business compare and take out a loan.

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Keywords : Fintech , Credit , SME/Corporate

Geography : United Kingdom