News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Humble Grape celerations with people drinking wine.

1.UK – FinTech    

 Altfi reports: 

“Ophelos, a UK technology firm which says it uses AI to improve the debt resolution process, has raised £5 million in seed funding. 

The round was led by UK venture capital firm Albion Capital and included participation from Vast Ventures and Form Ventures, as well as existing investors and angel investors. 

The company said its smart language analyst, ‘OLIVE’, helps to identify potentially vulnerable customers in debt through natural language understanding, which alongside its digital self-service capabilities allows customers to resolve debts on their terms. 

The funding comes as the cost-of-living crisis seems to be pushing UK consumers further towards dangerous borrowing. 

Credit card borrowing is rising at its fastest annual rate in 17 years, the Bank of England warned in May. 

The annual growth rate for credit card borrowing hit 11.6 per cent in April, which is the highest figure since November 2005.” 

 

2. UK – FinTech 


Finextra reports: 


“NatWest Business has taken to video app TikTok for a campaign aimed at reaching budding entrepreneurs. 

The UK bank has called in VaynerMedia London for the campaign promoting its free Business Builder online toolkit, which offers digital and event-based learning modules covering things such as sustainability, business strategy and mindset.

To front the campaign, NatWest has brought in Alessandro Vitale (@spicymoustache) an urban gardener who is launching his own product range, Sebastien Jefferies (@sebastienjefferies) a full time content creator, and Kim Grisdale (@Kustomsclothing) founder of a slow fashion brand.” 

 

 

3. UK - FinTech 

 

Altfi reports: 


“High demand for LendInvest’s buy-to-let products helped the lender to deliver its most profitable set of annual results to date, with a profit before tax of £14.2m. 

That profit was up 190 per cent for the year ending 31 March, and came on revenue of £87.8m (up 21 per cent year-on-year) and funds under management of £2.9bn (up 18 per cent YoY). 

"We have delivered our most profitable set of results to date and successfully listed on AIM to support our growth ambitions,” said LendInvest CEO Rod Lockhart. 

“Our performance is testament to the attractiveness of our model, demonstrated by our ability to attract significant capital from our investors and the strong demand from borrowers for our innovative offering and stand-out customer service.”  

Along with the results, LendInvest’s board is recommending a maiden dividend of 4.4p per share, a figure that Lockhart says he believes will be the start of a “progressive dividend policy” for the company.” 

 

4. UK – FinTech 


Finextra reports: 


“Debt resolution technology firm Ophelos has raised £5 million in a seed funding round led by AlbionVC. 

Vast Ventures, Form Ventures, Connect Ventures and Fly Ventures and angels including GoCardless co-founder Matt Robinson and Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings participated in the round for pending B-corp Ophelos.

The Ophelos debt resolution platform uses machine learning and advanced analytics to identify potentially vulnerable customers in debt. It then offers customers a digital self-service option that lets them resolve their debts on their terms - for example, through BNPL or over a number of personalised instalments.

Launched last year, the firm has already signed up three of the largest energy retailers in the UK as well as fintech brands including Yonder, Plend and Butter.” 

 

5. International – FinTech 

 

Crowdfundinsider reports: 

 

NerdWallet, Inc. (Nasdaq: NRDS), a platform that provides financial guidance to consumers and small- and mid-sized businesses, recently announced the entry into an acquisition agreement with On the Barrelhead, Inc., a data-driven platform that “provides consumers and SMBs with credit-driven product recommendations to help improve their financial lives.” 

Through this acquisition, On the Barrelhead will “fully integrate into NerdWallet’s existing teams, brand, products and technology.” 

NerdWallet’s “trusted” brand and knowledgeable financial guidance paired with On the Barrelhead’s proprietary data and technology solutions will “enable consumers and SMBs to match with better financial products and make smarter money moves.”