MarketInvoice is now the world’s largest peer-to-peer online invoice finance marketplace, having funded over 70,000 invoices worth more than £1.2 billion since its launch in 2011. Today, the UK business has signed an agreement with Banco BNI Europa (BNI), which will now provide £45 million in funding annually on the marketplace to fund working capital for MarketInvoice customers.
BNI trialled an investment last year of £28.3 million, which went into funding SMEs on the platform seeking invoice finance. After the success of that trial, the bank is now ready to invest more to fuel SME growth via MarketInvoice. But BNI isn’t the only international investor that has expressed interest in supporting UK SMEs via MarketInvoice.
Overall, sums advanced to UK businesses from institutional investors via MarketInvoice have almost doubled over the last three years from £96.1 million to £176.2 million
Since the Brexit vote, global institutional investor investments in MarketInvoice have increased 34 per cent compared to investors in the UK, which has remained constant.
According to MarketInvoice co-founder and CEO, Anil Stocker, the platform’s success and rapid growth can be credited in part to heavyweight institutional investments. “Institutions have played a significant role in our growth story and over the past two years have consistently funded almost 60 per cent of the working capital provided to UK businesses via MarketInvoice,” he says.
The recent increase in interest from global institutions has come since the launch of a new product, MarketInvoice Pro, a confidential invoice discounting facility, launched in February 2017. This product offers businesses a funding line against their outstanding invoices and is marketed as an upgrade to MarketInvoice’s original invoice-by-invoice product, Select.
For BNI, this investment is part of the bank’s wider strategy to support the global fintech sector. “In 2015, we put in place a digital strategy to drive our investments through fintech platforms. This news is testament to how well it has worked for us,” Pedro Coelho, executive chairman of Banco BNI Europa says.
“We are proactively working with fintech businesses globally that prescribe to our vision of providing low-cost, innovative products with exceptional customer service. MarketInvoice has consistently delivered these values over the years. The MarketInvoice Pro service is now a further means to build on our relationship as it provides a longer-term arrangement.”
“It is inevitable that banks will work more collaboratively with fintech businesses. I am firm believer of this and see much scope in the industry,” says Banco BNI Europa executive chairman, Pedro Coelho.
Stocker credits Banco BNI Europa’s foresight in adopting a digital strategy and executing it by working with the European peer-to-peer industry as one of the key reasons why it makes sense for MarketInvoice to work so closely with the European bank. “There are strong synergies between us as a fintech platform and BNI as a digital-only bank. We look forward to building on this relationship as we scale into larger funding lines through our new MI Pro product,” he says. “I’m sure we’ll see many more examples of this type of collaboration in the coming months.”
Over the past 12 months, MarketInvoice has hit multiple milestones and made a lot of firm commitments to the UK’s business community. The platform provided a record £54.7 million in funding to UK businesses in March this year, in addition to delivering 60 per cent year-on-year funding growth from £81.1 million in Q1 2016, to £129.6 million in Q1 2017. MarketInvoice has also recently raised £7.2 million in a round led by European venture capital fund Northzone and private equity group MCI Capital, and has appointed Zopa’s Giles Andrews, the founding father of peer-to-peer lending, as chairman.
MarketInvoice’s main strategic ambition for the near future is to broaden its reach to support a wider range of businesses, from start-ups to businesses looking to scale-up.
“Our aim is to build tech-led funding products that are the fastest to set up and easiest to use in the market,” adds Stocker. “MarketInvoice Pro is a natural evolution of our business and brings a fresh and innovative approach to solving the biggest issues for businesses in the UK; available cash-flow.”
In light of the ups and downs the economy has seen since the EU referendum, Stocker believes the time to focus on growth is now. “As Brexit takes shape, we think the coming months present a significant opportunity for MarketInvoice. In every period of turmoil there exists huge opportunity – we believe our model will mature through this cycle, and prove we are here to stay.”