First off, in a few words, what is MarketInvoice and why should a business use it?
MarketInvoice is a business finance company that provides invoice finance and loans to B2B companies across the UK. Our solutions are delivered using smart technology, backed by help from real people, so entrepreneurs can get on with growing their business.
How does the MarketInvoice service differ from traditional invoice financing from major banks?
Our invoice finance solutions are faster, more intuitive and easier to use. We’ve taken everything the banks are doing offline and put it online so that entrepreneurs can apply in minutes and get funding for their business in as little as two days.
Importantly though, what really set us apart is the way our tech and people work together. So that’s everything from our engineers who build the technology that underpins our solutions, to our risk analysts who help make them fast and flexible. And at any stage of the process, our customers can always pick up the phone or send an email and get help in real-time from a someone who understands their business.
As MarketInvoice operates on a peer-2peer basis where does the bulk of funding comes from?
Funding on our platform comes from a variety of sources including asset managers, banks, high net worth individuals and sophisticated investors. Local authorities such as Leeds and Oxfordshire also provide funding for businesses in their regions. The British Business Bank has provided over £100m in funding for our solutions.
MarketInvoice was one of the first companies to offer this service online. How difficult was it to get your first customer and have you found the space becoming more competitive?
That’s right, we were the first to take invoice finance online back in 2011. We were a Fintech before that was really a word, so when we started we had a two-part challenge. Firstly, we had to let businesses know that there was an alternative to their bank and, secondly, we had to build their trust in this new option. The alternative finance space has definitely become more competitive but I think there’s still work to be done around awareness. A lot of businesses still don’t know that there’s a better, faster way to get funding.
What prompted the move into business loans, rather than staying as a one product specialist?
We’re always looking for more ways to help businesses get the funding they need, which is why we launched our loans solution. We listened to our customers using invoice finance when they told us they also needed working capital loans. Entering the business loans space, a £35b annual market in the UK alone, was a natural move for us. Our experience in underwriting business credit, coupled with our technology and people, means we’re well placed to serve this demand.
What’s next for MarketInvoice? Will you continue to add products or any plans for international expansion?
At MarketInvoice, we’re constantly asking ourselves ‘what next’? How do we become a more holistic financial partner for our customers? How do we make accessing business finance even easier – whether that’s in the UK or in other markets. That’s why going out and meeting our customers is so important to me. The more we learn about what their business needs and what their experience has been working with us, the better placed we are to develop new products and continue improving our existing ones.
Were you involved in invoice financing before starting MarketInvoice and how did the idea come about?
I was working in financial services in my early twenties, spending time with a lot of company CFOs, and I realised how difficult it was for SMEs to raise the funds they needed to drive business forward. It was clear that business finance was broken and we started MarketInvoice with a mission to fix it. Since day one it’s been about enabling entrepreneurs to spend more time on what they’re really passionate about, instead of having to worry about how to finance their business.
And finally, what are your top three resources online for helping businesses find funding and financing advice?
I think podcasts are a great resource. Try listening to Enterprise Nation’s Small Business Sessions by Emma Jones. Also, go to as many events as possible. MeetUp provides a huge amount of opportunities to network and introduce yourself to the world! Finally, use social media to follow successful entrepreneurs and business leaders – you’ll be amazed at the depth and breadth of content they share online.
Anil Stocker is CEO of Market Invoice.