Small business lending is on the rise, according to a report released by Thomson Reuters and PayNet. It’s good news, but a closer look of the current state of SME financing by TradeUp revealed that young businesses are still not able to access working capital with as much ease as seen before the Great Recession.
According to TradeUp’s analysis, venture capitalists and other investors are more cautious with their funding, and focusing more on well-established young businesses instead of providing seed funding for startups.
This more conservative small business lending landscape makes this week’s Investment Tracker especially relevant. While SME lending is improving, it is still all the more impressive that these new firms can secure financial backing in such a difficult climate.
Europe, Asia Catches Investors’ Attention
TradeUp’s findings of small business lending in the U.S. suggest that many companies in the nation are still struggling to find working capital. Last week, however, startups across Europe and Asia caught the attention of venture capitalists.
The week began with France-based online lending platform Lendix announcing $30 million in funding from backers, the majority of which will be used to fund loans to small- and medium-sized businesses. “We are very excited to have such a diverse and solid shareholder base,” said Lendix president and founder Olivier Goy. “It demonstrates the interest SME loans have for every type of investor.” The backing, Lendix said, followed just days after it had secured its first official business customer for the platform.
Spain-based Santander kept the momentum going and spearheaded a Series B round of funding for mobile payment startup MyCheck, which has refocused its business model to the B2B realm since its launch in 2011. According to reports, the company has been working to strengthen the development of loyalty programs for restaurants. According to MyCheck CEO Shlomit Kugler, having the support from Santander’s new Innoventures Fund, which focuses largely on supporting FinTech startups, will help strengthen MyCheck’s presence within the U.S. and Western Europe.
Aryaka may be a U.S.-headquartered firm, but the WAN service provider is expanding the as-a-service boom through its offices in India. Providing businesses with wide area network services, Aryaka says, helps companies adopt cloud services and have the infrastructure needed to implement digital technologies.
“By transforming Networking, WAN Optimization, and Application Delivery into fast, secure, and cost-effective cloud-based services, Aryaka has eliminated the need for expensive, high-maintenance on-premises hardware,” said Ajit Gupta, Founder & CEO at Aryaka.
The firm announced Monday (March 30) that it secured $16 million in new funding led by Nexus Venture Partners. According to Gupta, the funds will be used to strengthen its Aryaka ONE platform, aimed at small- and medium-sized companies, and to pursue partnerships with large global conglomerates.
India saw another investment Tuesday (March 31) in the form of Snapdeal’s acquisition of RupeePower, a purchase that adds to Snapdeal’s existing platform to helps connect its sellers to working capital and other financial products. The acquisition will also propel Snapdeal’s goal of lending $1 billion out over the next two years to consumers and businesses. Reports did not disclose the amount Snapdeal paid for RupeePower, however.
That same day, Singapore-based Hatcher announced the Hatcher Fund, which aims to raise $100 million to invest in B2B and FinTech startups.
“The Hatcher Fund will enable us to move beyond seed stage investment to later stage growth investments – and play a greater role in supporting entrepreneurs at a global level,” said Hatcher CEO John Sharp. “While seed stage investing has delivered us very good returns to date, having the ability to lead and co-invest at a later stage will allow us to increase our investment positions and build on these early-stage returns.”
In addition to focusing on more established startups and small businesses, Hatcher also revealed that the fund will focus on non-U.S. companies in which to invest. Instead, the company plans to continue its focus on Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, according to Sharp.
As a way for new businesses to connect to investors, Hatcher said that it plans to pump at least one-third of the $100 million fund to businesses in the Middle East and Africa.
The fund, Hatcher revealed, will be advised in partnership with Dubai-based Gateway Investment Management Services, and administered by Singapore- and Dubai-based Maples Fund Services.