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Having launched just this month, the 'comparison site' for alternative funding explains how it plans to put small business owners in control...

Founders: Katrin Herrling and Olivier Beau de Lomenie
Background: Herrling: small business specialist at Bain & Company.
Beau de Lomenie: serial entrepreneur who led the team that built Ocado's award winning e-commerce platform.
Based in: Holborn, London

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

FUNDING XCHANGE helps business owners navigate the funding space and take control of funding their business. FUNDING XCHANGE has created the first UK marketplace for businesses to learn about funding options, easily and quickly access a large panel of providers with a single funding request and receive offers that are easy to understand and compare.

Many small and medium enterprises struggle to access bank lending. For example, more than 50% of funding requests by sole traders are declined by the banks. To close this gap, over 100 alternative finance providers for small and medium enterprises have emerged in the UK.

However most business owners remain unaware of the alternatives to bank loans or overdrafts, have never heard of the new providers, or simply don’t have the time to interact with multiple lenders.

For the first time, business owners can use a ‘comparison site’ that gives them access to quotes – creating the same transparency of funding options and terms that consumers have become accustomed to.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

FUNDING XCHANGE is disrupting the inefficient small and medium enterprise funding space by providing a marketplace for businesses to receive funding offers from the widest possible panel of lenders.

It is 100% unbiased and encourages lenders to bid against each other for the opportunity to work with a business – ensuring that the business is getting a great deal.

Are you funded?

We have completed initial funding and are now currently raising a second EIS funding round.

What were you doing before starting?

Herrling spent seven years with Bain & Company advising large banks and financial firms and also has first-hand experience of the issues that small business face when seeking funding. She has been managing her family's dairy farm for more than 15 years, helping to grow the farm and transform the operations.

Herrling always worked with her bank to finance the farm and smooth cash flow, but ran into difficulties in 2010 when her bank manager doubled her cost of credit overnight. The frustration of running from one bank to another to secure offers inspired FUNDING XCHANGE. Herling is passionate about making it easy, quick and transparent for businesses to find finance.

Beau de Lomenie built his first bespoke enterprise online app way back in 1995 right after graduating from Stanford University at a time when the interactive web was still in its infancy.

Since then, he has constantly been developing online solutions for a wide range of businesses, industries and markets and led the technology team that delivered the award-winning Ocado online supermarket. He subsequently led the set-up of  Moneio/Freedom Finance; a referral platform for consumer finance and has been a co-founder of other successful businesses like Myshowcase and Emolument.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

FUNDING XCHANGE is based in Holborn – which is rapidly turning into the ‘New Shoreditch.’ We love that many of our partners are within a short walk of our offices.


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