The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a financial technology platform to match lenders and businesses.
The FSB Funding Platform, developed by Finpoint, uses artificial intelligence matching technology to match applicants with finance providers. A pilot of the platform for FSB members in three UK regions shows that the average amount of finance a small business applies for from an alternative finance provider is £39,000 – half the amount sought from banks, known as ‘traditional finance’.
FSB Funding Platform is regulated by the FCA and offers free access to over 100 lenders with AI technology matching entrepreneurs and businesses wanting funding with the best lenders for their circumstances. The platform also provides access to finance advisors.
FSB’s commercial and operations director Dave Stallon said: “We’re so pleased to be able to offer this exciting platform to our member base. Although it’s harnessing the latest innovations in tech it offers a very simple way to access finance, as well as access to human financial advisers. It will transform the business funding market and is a real step change for small businesses.”
The contract for the FSB Funding Platform was awarded to Finpoint, a company founded in 2014 by Guy Bridge, Marcus Gruenwald and Rainer Plentl to target access to SME funding.
Finpoint managing director Guy Bridge said: “We didn’t see enough transparency in the market, and we remain motivated by how we can use technology to provide an efficient service, but perhaps most importantly, we were keen on providing high quality customer service, which means any one of us may be on the phone when you call us up with a question about your funding needs. We quite like the label “FinTech”, because it is a mixture of Financial Services and Technology, with a heavy emphasis on service.
“We’re thrilled to have been awarded the contract to provide FSB’s funding platform. As a small business ourselves – and a member of FSB – we get what’s needed, how small business would like to use the platform and we’re truly excited.”
The platform arrives as the FSB published its Small Business Index Q4 which showed the second negative reading recorded in the last five years.
Additionally it found that 40% of small businesses seek alternative finance for equipment and 40% for working capital (including for short-term operations and late payments).