Chief executive Andrea Reynolds (Image: Andrea Reynolds)
Working with the main banks and using information from 1,000 private and public providers, the digital finance platform provides a key link in the funding chain, helping weave together a fragmented sector.
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Viable options and access to loans, grants, equity funding and cost reductions are speeded up and simplified, while switching services for foreign exchange, utilities, broadband and mobiles phones are also offered to improve bottom lines.
In the current crisis, a business looking to see what it is eligible for can check appropriate funding initiatives and continually updated official announcements.
Encryption of financial information is to banking standard and there is no “footprint or credit impact on any business inquiring about investment”, explains chief executive Andrea Reynolds.
Swoopfunding.com at work (Image: Andrea Reynolds)
Since launching in 2018, Swoop’s 300 percent annual growth with £85million in completed deals shows why clarity is needed.
A £6million turnover is expected this year.
Last month, however, what had been primarily a steady stream of ambitious start-up and scale-up customers changed dramatically with a surge in traffic from businesses of all sizes and from all corners of the UK and Ireland.
“Demand is up 1000 percent because of coronavirus,” says Reynolds, a corporate finance expert who set up the fintech with former KPMG colleague and Swoop’s operations chief Ciaran Burke.
Swoop does the heavy lifting for providers and helps small firms who cannot afford hefty fees to know what is on offer without wasting time they can’t afford
Technological advances enabled the two to plug the gap they saw and enable intelligent matching.
“The arrival of cloud accounting, open banking and application programming interfaces has made it possible to automate the role of finance adviser at scale,” Reynolds explains.
As well as referrals from banks, some of them license parts of Swoop’s technology.
“Swoop does the heavy lifting for providers and helps small firms who cannot afford hefty fees to know what is on offer without wasting time they can’t afford with repetitive form filling,” adds Reynolds.
“Our approach is different because it is holistic. The solution may not always be a loan. We look at all areas, the everyday money reality for a business, whatever stage they are at.”
Backing for Swoop, which employs 50, has come from Enterprise Ireland, seed investment from a group including Velocity Capital and it was also awarded £5 million from the UK’s Banking Competition Remedies fund which promotes more competition in the SME banking market.
But including the public sector in Swoop’s offering was no easy task. “We had to do it to show our value, but it took deep patience and perseverance,” says Reynolds.
The last recession taught her how important it was for firms to preserve a cash cushion.
“That was one of the major reasons that drove me to set up Swoop, and now it’s truer than ever.”
Swoop’s coronovirus hotline is 020-3868 0364