Barclays has taken a minority stake in peer-to-peer (p2p) lender MarketInvoice, and will soon start introducing the platform to SME clients.
Barclays will roll out MarketInvoice’s offering, which includes the capability for customers to sell on invoices to investors, in selected regions in England over the coming months, and plans to extend the partnership UK-wide by 2019.
The banks will also rely on MarketInvoice for underwriting and managing SME invoice financing backed by Barclays’ balance sheet. A spokesman for MarketInvoice said Barclays aims to generate £1bn in business through the platform over the next few years.
He added that there are no plans to extend to partnership to asset-based lending, which MarketInvoice entered in November.
While multiple banks have made equity and wholesale investments in p2p platforms over recent years, the Barclays-MarketInvoice collaboration, where a high-street bank extends a fintech’s offering to its own business banking customers, is a global first, according to the two companies.
Anil Stocker, chief executive of MarketInvoice, said: “It’s exciting to be combining the knowledge and footprint of a 325-year old British banking institution with MarketInvoice’s tech-led online finance solutions.
“Barclays has a long history of innovation being the first bank to introduce the credit card and the ATM. It makes total sense to partner and introduce our online business finance solutions for their large customer base.
Ian Rand, chief executive of Barclays Business Bank, said: “Invoice finance is a product that has come of age in the digital era, it’s efficient, effective and controllable for small businesses.
“Our corporate bank already offers invoice financing to large businesses, so it’s great news that we’re able to extend the proposition to work for our SME clients as well.”
MarketInvoice has been on a growth spur over the last year, with business written doubling to £2.7bn (€3bn) since June 2018.
The company, which has hired executives from Aldermore, Santander and RBS, received double-digit-million investments from Portugal’s digital-only bank BNI Europa and Germany’s investment bank Varengold.
In a partnership that somewhat foreshadowed a higher degree of collaboration with traditional lenders, the p2p platform piloted a partnership to originate business for Investec.
MarketInvoice has also become part of NatWest’s “Capital Connections” alternative finance referral panel for businesses the bank is unable to serve itself.