Small business bank OakNorth lands £154m to bolster UK business

Bank has lent £710m since launch in 2015 and will use funding to take its ACORN fintech platform global

OakNorth, the UK small business bank, has secured £154m from The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane in exchange for a 16% stake in the organisation.

Launched in 2015 by Rishi Kholsa and Joel Perlman, OakNorth provides flexible debt finance of between £500,000 and £20m to UK businesses LEON, Galliard Homes, Frogmore, Brasserie Blanc, Strawberry Star, and The Collective.

In August 2017, the bank announced that it had lent £710m since launch, with £430m of that figure lent since the beginning of the year. It also claims to have been directly involved with the creation of more than 3,000 new homes and 2,000 new jobs in the UK, and added £3bn to the economy.

Kholsa and Perlman have used OakNorth to prove the concept for ACORN; a cloud-based financial technology platform that enables lenders to originate, underwrite, monitor, and book transactions.

The technology analyses millions of data points across various sectors and markets and uses machine learning algorithms to pull out data that helps lenders make more informed decisions.

This funding will support OakNorth’s plans to lend a further £1.5bn to UK businesses in 2018 and enable it to launch the ACORN platform to lenders around the world.

Kholsa said: “It has been an incredible and extremely humbling two years for OakNorth – we’ve had the chance to work with some of the UK’s most inspiring and ambitious entrepreneurs, and have helped over 150 businesses achieve their growth ambitions.

“While we have reached an £800m loan book in two years, we know that this represents just a fraction of the businesses that need financing support. This funding will enable us to boost our lending by an additional £1.5bn and add thousands more jobs and homes in the UK.”