UK SMB Lending Challenger B-North Raises $2.6M

UK, B-North, funding, crowdfunding, banking license, SME, B2B

U.K. startup B-North has raised £2 million (€2.34 million or $2.6 million USD) from existing and new investors through equity crowdfunding platforms Crowdcube and GrowthFunders, according to reports. This latest funding adds to the £4.2 million B-North raised in previous rounds.

Founded in 2018 by former Santander and Atom Bank executives, the FinTech has applied for its banking license. The bank said in statements that it will use the new funding “to continue the planned expansion of its workforce and infrastructure.” 

The funding will be used to introduce B-North’s regional “Lending Pods” across Manchester in the second quarter of 2020. Each pod will have critical information that businesses need to understand borrowing requirements. 

“B-North’s proposed regional pod model and cloud banking technology will allow it to lend up to 10 times faster than other banks in order to help [small businesses (SMBs)] grow and develop,” according to its website.

Customers will gain more flexibility and access to funds with quick credit decisions. At the same time, valuation and legal processes are happening to lower “time to cash” from months to days.

“The strength of investor response is testament to the B-North offering, and the quality and efficiency of lending that we can deliver to help [SMBs] fulfill their potential, thereby driving the U.K. economy forward,” said Jonathan Thompson, co-founder and CEO of B-North.

B-North also appointed Ron Emerson to serve as chairman. He was the founding chairman of the British Business Bank, which funded more than 40,000 startups in the three years that he was at the helm. He also held such roles as a senior banking advisor at the Bank of England, and spent 20 years as a member of the Faculty of Management Studies at Oxford University.

Thompson said that Emerson’s “impressive track record and extensive board experience” will be a big benefit to B-North as it moves toward a banking license and localized lending pods.

In September, the company announced that it was working with Banking-as-a-Service firm Mambu, as well as cloud-based loan and deposit origination platform provider nCino, to power its SMB lending and banking operations. Mambu and nCino will collaborate directly to integrate each other’s services for B-North, which the startup has called “a market first.”