Oct 27, 2020

iwoca pledges £220m for struggling SMBs in Northern England

iwoca
Fintech
covid-19
small business
William Girling
2 min
Research conducted by London-based fintech iwoca has determined that the North of England could lose up to 14 years of economic growth because of COVID-19
Research conducted by London-based fintech iwoca has determined that the North of England could lose up to 14 years of economic growth because of COVID...

Research conducted by London-based fintech iwoca has determined that the North of England could lose up to 14 years of economic growth because of COVID-19.

Specific GVA loss forecasts include the North East (-11.7%), North West (-11.2%), and Yorkshire and the Humber (-12%). Notably, these represent 50% of the six worst affected regions in the country.

As such, iwoca has decided to pledge £220m in loans for small businesses by the end of 2023.

Driving growth and helping business

Established in 2011, iwoca was founded by Christoph Rieche (CEO) and James Dear (CTO) on the basis of delivering bespoke loans to enterprises that struggle to access finance from larger banks.

Utilising machine learning algorithms, the company is able to quickly assess a client’s viability through data collected from bank accounts, online platforms and ecommerce specialists like PayPal.

Its efforts to assist the pandemic-stricken North are reminiscent of a previous pledge in 2018 to donate £100m by 2020, a goal it decisively achieved almost one year early.

Reflecting on the economic straits currently being experienced by Northern English business and the importance of iwoca’s mission, Rieche said:

“Small businesses around the country have been hit hard by the pandemic, but it's clear that some parts of the country - particularly the North - are suffering disproportionately. 

“We want to support business owners in these areas to give them the best chance of recovery over the next few years. With this financial commitment, we hope that we can drive up growth and help businesses across the North thrive.” 

The importance of SMBs

Post-lockdown analysis by McKinsey has made it clear that SMBs (small-medium businesses) are the bedrock of the UK’s economy, representing approximately 50% total.

However, intolerable cash flow pressures and other financial pressures continue to place these forms of enterprise at a disproportionate disadvantage.

Combined with iwoca’s insights, the business case for supporting and protecting small businesses in the UK and around the world is strong. Indeed, it could be argued that no significant recovery from the pandemic will be possible until these issues are addressed.

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Jun 21, 2021

Amber Group Valued at US$1bn in $100m Funding Round

Fintech
AmberGroup
Investment
Cryptocurrencies
2 min
Amber Group has raised $100m in a fresh funding round led by China Renaissance bank, valuing the start-up at $1bn

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.

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