(L-R): Alison Alden CFO of BFM, Craig Iley founder and CEO of BFM, Jude Browne chief marketing officer of BFM, and Craig Peterson co-founder and COO of Growth Capital Ventures.

County Durham SME finance access platform raises £1.3m in investment round

A County Durham based venture capital firm has facilitated a £1.3m super seed investment round into a fintech platform to boost access to finance for SMEs.

Growth Capital Ventures raised the funds for Business Finance Market to help the platform streamline the lending process through technological innovation and a reengineered customer journey to match lenders and SMEs together to help them secure the right finance for their business.

This technology will allow SMEs to access quicker finance decisions while providing lenders and intermediaries with a fintech platform that will help to manage the end-to-end application process, improve information and increase deal flow in order to deliver faster credit decisions.

With almost 90 per cent of SME loan applications that do not complete due to poor processes, the lending market has become fragmented and in need of innovation.

The project was issued with a target raise of £1m to drive the development of the technology forwards and further enhance the team. The investment round was oversubscribed, with pledges in excess of £1.3m and is further to an oversubscribed seed round of £225k earlier this year.

This is the latest EIS-eligible investment opportunity led by Growth Capital Ventures, an FCA authorised investment firm specialising in impact driven co-investment opportunities across alternative asset classes.

Craig Peterson, co-founder and COO of Growth Capital Ventures, said: “When we issued this latest investment opportunity in BFM to our investor network, it attracted a considerable amount of interest. Such is the belief in the strong executive team and the aims behind the new technology platform.

“Banking for the SME lending market is notoriously complex, outdated and unsupportive of the needs of the organisations that account for three fifths of employment and 50 per cent of revenue in the private sector.

“Once developed, this platform will make it easier for SMEs and their trusted advisors to access finance quicker and easier. It will allow businesses to deal with multiple providers at the click of a button. This is an attractive proposition not just for SMEs but banks, commercial brokers, UK plc and the Bank of England.”

In its response to the Van Steenis report, the Bank of England has publicly stated it is keen to champion technology platforms to help SMEs make better use of their data to access services and to apply for and obtain credit using a digital portable credit file.

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