Storfund set to offer US$1bn to Amazon SMEs
The London-based fintech, Storfund has announced it will hand out $1bn in cash advances to small business operators selling through Amazon and other online European, American, and Asian marketplace. The ecommerce solution can be plugged into seller accounts and provide up-front funds as and when they are required.
The fintech startup, which was co-founded in 2018 by former investment banker George Brintalos, provides sellers with the same or next-day access to their total Amazon balances. The enterprise works with currencies direct, OFX and Ebury including 17 out of the 20 Amazon marketplaces.
The end-to-end solution stabilises cash flow for small business owners, giving entrepreneurs liquidity so that they can continue to grow their businesses.
According to a UK government survey, $32bn worth of late invoices is owed to small firms across Britain, impacting on businesses' cash flow and ultimate survival. Meanwhile, 24% of UK businesses report late payments as a threat to their survival, the highest reported level across Europe.
Storfund’s services will mitigate this risk by plugging directly into the seller's account. The services can be turned on and off at any time – providing funds for a small fee, to cash-poor businesses as and when they need it.
Brintalos explained, “Storfund bridges the gap between ecommerce and capital, which is under served by traditional banks which are either too rigid to adapt or are withdrawing from the SME sector.”
He continued, “We are here to address the capital needs of this new category of entrepreneurs, providing them with the liquidity they need to naturally grow their business, without adding unnecessary debt on their balance sheet or diluting their share capital base.”
This latest move follows on from Storfund’s recent funding drive which saw $36.5m of investment capital generated via the Private Debt team of Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) and private investors.
The company also experienced an unprecedented 1,200% growth spurt from December 2019 to December 2020. According to projections, the upward trajectory is expected to continue until 2023 as online shopping increases in popularity.
Storfund’s fellow co-founder, Akbar Ahsan said its services would serve to alleviate the “pain of long payment terms” and provide “growth capital to e-commerce merchants.”
Late last month industry experts also pointed out that the fintech’s stellar growth simply highlights how established banks are unable to adapt their technology to facilitate the needs of small business owners.
Stephen Pegge, managing director of commercial finance at UK Finance, explained, “The UK’s banking and finance industry is delivering an unprecedented level of support to businesses across the whole country to help them through these challenging times. Over 1.5 million businesses have been helped with government-guaranteed loans totalling over £68bn.”
He added that traditional, established banks don’t work well for small businesses because their credit is as hard to underwrite as that of large corporations, yet they only want small and flexible working capital facilities - not three-year and five-year standardised term loans that suit the banks. Big banks are built to serve big companies.”
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.