People’s Champion Finalist: iwoca
Meet the small business finance provider and Startups Awards People’s Champion contender – and cast your vote!
Start-up name: iwoca
Founder: Christoph Rieche, 34, James Dear, 33
Started in: 2012
Based in: London
Business description: Small business finance provider
Seeking a challenge, iwoca’s founders Christoph Rieche and James Dear decided there was ample opportunity to disrupt the small business finance space further – and iwoca was born.
Turning their backs on careers at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, CEO Rieche and CTO Dear – a PhD in Theoretical Physics and Applied Probability – launched iwoca in March 2012.
In a short space of time iwoca has established itself on the burgeoning FinTech scene and has already lent millions of pounds to small and growing companies across the UK.
With more than 30 members of staff and £7m of capital raised, iwoca has expanded overseas launching iwoca Poland earlier this year, with France, Spain and Germany set to follow.
So what makes the company different? The company’s entry states: “iwoca’s innovative approach to lending is accurate, fast and scalable and has broadened access to business finance to a new generation of micro businesses.”
Within hours of an application iwoca’s data-driven risk model and easy-to-use front-end means loans of up to £50,000 can be processed, ensuring small business customers have fast access to vital funds to supplement their working capital.
It achieves this through integrating with cloud-based payment systems and accountancy software, such as PayPal, SagePay and FreeAgent and analysing company financials, personal and business credit reports, and even social media. These ‘data points’ amount to a scorecard and enable the technology to make assessments and grant approval of a loan in minutes.
Its technology also has built-in compliance and fraud checking, use of electronic signatures to accept loan agreements, and the ability to return for top-up loans without the need for further documentation or form-filling.
It has led to “exceptional customer feedback collected via the independent review site Trustpilot”, where it has a score of 9.7 out of 10.
Picked out by Startups.co.uk and named as one of the top 20 start-ups to launch in 2012, iwoca has gained recognition elsewhere too, making respected lists such as Accelerate 250 and winning Wired Money’s Startup Pitch Stage in 2013.
Why iwoca made our 50:
The FinTech space is highly congested with an exciting variety of alternative finance providers giving small businesses other options – and yet iwoca stands out. We can’t share financials, but they’re impressive and with its proprietary technology and strong founding team iwoca was a shoo-in for our 50.