Alternative Business Funding looking to raise £6m to fund expansion

ABF, the small business finance comparison site, wants to increase its registered users to 160,000 small firms

Alternative Business Funding, the comparison site for small business finance, is trying to raise £6m to fund its expansion.

ABF, which to date has helped facilitate £40m of funding to over 25,000 small businesses, wants to increase its registered users to 160,000 small firms.

The platform features 140 finance products including business loans, asset finance and commercial property finance from lenders including Barclays, RBS, Bibby, Iwoca and Liberis.

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Julien Tavener, chief operating officer of ABF, said: “It’s about opening access to finance from the most traditional lenders through to the most cutting edge.”

Lazarus Consulting has been appointed to advise Alternative Business Funding on finding the right partner, which it hopes to sign up by Christmas.

The £6m will be used partly to help develop ABF’s fintech, which uses artificial intelligence to calculate how much to lend to small businesses, but also to be spent on marketing channels including TV.

Tavener said: “It’s about creating more presence in the SME lending market. Up until now we’ve spent our time developing our platform and this marks the start of getting ABF more widely known. We felt it was a good time to be out there.”

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Looking even further ahead, ABF is talking about promoting equity finance, personal lending, business banking and credit card products.

With almost half (43pc) of the UK’s 5.7m SMEs using external finance, often multiple times a year, ABF sees huge growth potential for its service. It calculates the total UK SME lending market to be worth a potential £110bn.

Adam Tavener, ABF chairman, said: “ABF is at a very exciting time, and with the ‘go compare’ culture rapidly growing in popularity – we see that it is only a matter of time before, as with other financial products, those businesses seeking commercial finance will go online to compare the funding solutions open to them, before even visiting their bank.”

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