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小企业融资平台Liberis完成5750万英镑股权融资

Liberis是一家为小企业提供金融支持的伦敦企业,目前该公司使用新的融资渠道筹集了5750万英镑用于公司扩张。这家融资提供商以公司客户未来的信用卡和借记卡交易额为指标提供贷款。

Liberis筹集的大部分新资本都属于负债,这反过来又能使它发放更多的贷款。Liberis的该项功能由英国商业投资公司(British Business Investments)(纳税人资助的英国商业银行的商业机构)、Paragon Bank和BCI有限公司共同提供和保障。

此外,Blenheim Chalcot也对Liberis进行了股权投资。这位所谓的“数字风险投资者”也曾投资过最近被Experian收购的信用评分初创公司Clearscore。

Liberis给小公司提供了一种新的融资方式来作为向传统银行进行贷款或延期透支的替代品(对小公司来说向传统银行贷款正在变得越来越难)。Liberis根据公司预计的客户信用卡和借记卡销售额提供1千英镑至50万英镑不等的资金贷款。这种贷款模式最精明的部分在于这笔贷款是通过预先商定好的公司数字交易额的百分之几来偿还的。这使得它对季节性的业务特别有吸引力,因为其在全年的不同时间的销售额有很大的波动。

当然Liberis也没有规定贷款必须被偿还的时限。相反地,还款进度与这些小型企业的信用卡交易的规模和速度直接相关。

在与Liberis首席执行官Rob Straathof的一通电话中,他承认了此举意味着自己的公司要承担更多的风险,但他也提到了目前大部分的贷款基本都在预定时间内就收回了。为了帮助管理风险并做出必要的销售额预测,Liberis使用了大量的数据点,包括从Worldpay和Sagepay等数字支付平台合作伙伴中提取的交易数据。开放式银行这个概念的出现,让银行账户持有人可以通过API分享各自的交易数据,这也将使Liberis得以扩大它的业务范围。

由Straathof提供的小型企业客户的例子包括需要投资新烤箱的当地面包店、想要扩张出一个啤酒花园的社区酒吧以及需要逐步补货以满足不断增长的需求的在线零售商等等。“我们这个极具创意的贷款方式非常受收入季节性波动的零售和酒店业务的欢迎。自2016年第四季度以来,银行对小企业的贷款就一直在减少,Liberis就抓住了这次机会用“付你所得”这种新的还款机制乘机进入了这个空缺着的市场。” Straathof说道。

至今为止,Liberis已经用2100万英镑帮助了超过7000家小企业。然而,Liberis并不是唯一使用“付你所得”机制的资金提供商。亚马逊就提供基于亚马逊市场交易数据的商业融资。PayPal和Square也为零售商提供信贷。同时,中小企业p2p借贷平台(如Funding Circle)也可能是Liberis的竞争对手。

Liberis, the London-based fintech that provides finance for small businesses, has raised £57.5 million in new funding to help support the company’s growth. The alternative finance provider makes loans against a company’s future credit and debit card sales.

The majority of the new capital being raised by Liberis  is debt, which in turn will enable it to issue more loans. The facility is being provided by British Business Investments (the commercial arm of the tax payer-funded British Business Bank), Paragon Bank, and BCI Finance.

In addition, Blenheim Chalcot has made an equity investment into Liberis. The so-called “digital venture builder” also previously backed Clearscore, the credit scoring startup recently acquired by Experian.

Providing a new financing option as a replacement for a traditional bank loan or extended overdraft — which is increasingly hard for small businesses to come by — Liberis provides funding from £1,000 to £500,000 based on a company’s projected credit and debit card sales. However, the clever part is that the loan is paid back via a pre-agreed percentage of the business’ digital transactions, making it especially attractive to seasonal businesses that have very uneven sales throughout different times of the year. There isn’t a time limit placed on when a loan has to be repaid, either. Instead, the repayment schedule is directly tied to the size and pace of a small business’ card transactions.

In a call with Rob Straathof, CEO of Liberis, he conceded that this means the fintech startup is taking on more of the risk, but says the company is seeing the vast majority of loans paid back within the projected timeframe. To help manage risk and make the required sales projections, Liberis uses various data points, including transactions pulled in from a number payment platform partners such as Worldpay, and Sagepay. Similarly, it also integrates with take-out marketplace Just Eat, which gives the startup the ability to offer financing to small restaurants. The advent of Open Banking, which lets bank account holders share their transaction data via an API, will also enable Liberis to extend its reach.

Examples of small business customers given by Straathof include a local bakery that needs to invest in a new oven, a neighbourhood pub that wants to expand with a beer garden, or an online retailer that needs to incrementally restock to meet rising demand. “Our innovative product has proven particularly popular with retail and hospitality businesses where income fluctuates on a seasonal basis. New lending to small businesses by banks has been decreasing since Q4 16 and Liberis jumps into the void with our ‘pay as you earn’ funding solution,” he says in a statement.

To date, Liberis has helped over 7,000 small businesses, advancing £210 million in funding. However, it isn’t the only ‘pay as you earn’-styled finance provider. Amazon, of course, offers its own business financing based on Amazon Market transaction data. PayPal and Square also offer credit for retailers. Meanwhile, SME peer-to-peer lending platforms, such as Funding Circle, might also be viewed as a competitor.


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