Growth Street: Greg Carter
Having previously worked at a venture capital firm, this entrepreneur talks about providing overdrafts to small businesses
Name: Greg Carter
Company Name: Growth Street
Location: Greater London
Date Launched: 11/11/15
No. of employees: 18
Tell us what your business does:
Growth Street is a new way to finance and grow businesses. Our platform provides flexible, fairly priced business overdrafts to profitable, growing and well managed small businesses.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
While working at a venture capital investor, I noticed that many of our portfolio companies struggled to open basic overdraft facilities with banks.
These were fast growing, profitable companies, so we started providing flexible loans to those companies.
The more I spoke to other businesses, the more I realised this was a widespread problem.
I decided that this was a problem that needed solving and set out to build a solution for all UK businesses
How did you know there was a market for it?
I tested and refined the proposition, processes and technology needed over several months with a small cohort of great businesses.
What were you doing before starting up?
Investor at venture capital firm Arts Alliance.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
No, I’ve never wanted to run a business. I’ve always wanted to build things.
At school I led entries to engineering competitions run by the Royal Navy and Greenpower, and at university I started a student TV station.
Now I see the opportunity to build tools at Growth Street that empower companies across the UK to grow their business.
Building Growth Street within a company is a natural way to measure how successful we are at fulfilling that mission.
How did you raise the money?
On the strength of the opportunity, we’ve raised money from Arts Alliance, the venture capital firm behind LoveFilm, Graze and Shazam, and angels with extensive financial services backgrounds.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Most of our revenue comes from the annual fee we charge borrowers, which is based on the size of the credit facility.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
We handle large sums of money, so it is critical we don’t make mistakes.
So we have invested over a year of development and testing time to make sure our systems and processes handle our customers’ borrowing and lending accurately and quickly.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Watching our first borrower borrow to finance an order, successfully complete that order and then repay!
It is one thing to find a great business, understand how they operate and provide finance, but the journey isn’t complete until they make their first successful repayment.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t build a thing until you’ve found some customers!
Many entrepreneurs are tempted to build a perfect version of their product before showing it to potential customers.
However, until you’ve persuaded someone to buy your idea, you won’t know what to build. I encourage all budding entrepreneurs to read “The Mom Test” to learn how to really test your ideas with potential customers.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I want to have developed Growth Street into the first choice for companies looking to grow, whether using our finance or the insights and advice we can provide given our unique view of their business.