Funding Options launches new SME cloud finance solution
Funding Options, the London-based finance service company that provides loans for small businesses, has launched a new platform that makes it easier for SMEs to access funds and scale their operations.
Describing itself as ‘the leading marketplace for business finance’ the new platform, called Funding Cloud, is a data-driven solution that integrates with lenders and uses innovative technology to arrange fast and simple financing for small businesses.
According to reports, lenders already integrated onto the Funding Cloud platform include Just Cash, YouLend, iwoca, Optimum Finance and FIBR. Executives behind
the project also say that by Q4 2021, they will have over 30, fully integrated lenders.
To date, with over 120 leading lender partners, Funding Options operates with more than 120 leading lenders and has helped more than 10,000 businesses across the UK and Netherlands secure over £0.5bn in funding.
SME finance challenges
Currently, new businesses and small enterprises struggle to navigate the complex finance solutions that the UK lending market has on offer. The new Funding Cloud initiative is a centralised, two-sided marketplace where SMEs can search for options and be matched with the lender that best fits their requirements.
The environment provides a streamlined and frictionless option for participants in the market for borrowing and lending. It also helps SMEs quickly find the most suitable lenders and products based on their eligibility and needs.
Using AI and data analytics, as well as open banking APIs, Funding Cloud is currently the only platform available to present customers with confirmed funding options via a single dynamic customer journey.
Funding Cloud lending
Details of the new platform reveal it has the capability to deliver real-time instant decisions and firm offers from lenders based on the two-way exchange system of rich digital information.
The platform's backers have referred to it as ‘a milestone innovation for the SME sector’ with data showing it can facilitate a lending decision as little as 20.614 seconds from loan application to credit approval.
The platform completes the legwork for lenders, but they retain control where required, underwriting loans and managing their products through a dedicated lender portal. The data rich Funding Cloud (™) also enables a comparable lending score to be developed for every business, providing insight into propensity for success with Funding Options' lender panel and overall risk for lender consumption.
Speaking about the new launch, Simon Cureton, CEO of Funding Options explained, “Our mission is to delive r a single platform that powers holistic digital SME solutions, matching businesses with the best funding options. We are incredibly excited for the launch of Funding Cloud (™) as part of that journey.”
Cureton said the platform builds on the significant scale Funding Options has, both in terms of its SME acquisition flow and distribution to its lender partners. He added, “Whilst our initial priority will be in getting more lenders transitioned onto the new platform, longer term it will enable a host of SME data driven services to be sourced through digital journeys. COVID-19 has shone a huge spotlight on the SME lending ecosystem and Funding Cloud coupled with our market leading acquisition flow, has the power to transform the SME finance landscape.”
Working capital which is seen as the lifeblood for any SME, will become much easier to obtain, said John Davies, Executive Chairman at Just Cashflow “Our customers want both flexibility and fast d ecision making when it comes to securing the finance they need to grow and maximise profitability. The Funding Options technology enables this in a truly revolutionary way and we are excited to be one of the first partners to be integrated with Funding Cloud.”
He added, “The platform enables us to deliver a tailored approach to each customer, matching them with the right product quickly and efficiently.”
Amber Group Valued at US$1bn in $100m Funding Round
Amber Group, a cryptocurrency financial services firm, has raised US$100m in a Series B funding round at a pre-money valuation of $1bn.
The funding round was led by Chinese investment firm China Renaissance, and other participants in the Series B include Tiger Brokers, Tiger Global Management, Arena Holdings, Tru Arrow Partners, Sky9 Capital, DCM Ventures and Gobi Partners. Existing investors Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Blockchain.com also joined in.
Michael Wu, co-founder and CEO of Amber Group said in a statement that the funding would be used to “expand global operations to meet client demand and develop market solutions for the world’s leading crypto investors and companies.”
“We’ve had record months over the past quarter across both client flow and on-exchange market-making volumes,” Wu said in a press release. “Our cumulative trading volumes have doubled from $250 billion since the beginning of the year to over $500 billion.”
Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular, with many people investing, although not everyone seems to know what they are investing in. Using survey data collected from 750 investors earlier this year, Cardify found that only 16.9% of investors who have bought crypto “fully understand” the value and potential of cryptocurrency, while 33.5% of buyers have either zero knowledge about the space or would call their level of understanding “emerging.”
Who is Amber Group?
Amber Group is a global crypto finance service provider with a presence in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, and Vancouver. Founded in 2017, Amber Group services over 500 institutional clients and has cumulatively traded over $330 billion across 100+ electronic exchanges, with over $1 billion in assets under management. The company said that its assets under management, or AUM, reached $530 million in 2020, representing a 275% increase from the previous year.
Instead of being a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to trade individual digital coins, Amber Group CEO Michael Wu said the company is bringing a “private banking experience to the everyday customer.”
Their goal is to optimise investment flexibility, maximise investment returns and deliver long-lasting value for their clients. In 2019, Amber Group raised $28 million in Series A funding led by global crypto heavyweights Paradigm and Pantera Capital, with participation from Polychain Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Blockchain.com, Fenbushi Capital, and Coinbase Ventures.