Back in 2011 I first met Christoph Rieche who outlined his idea for a company offering loans to small businesses. Fresh from a career at Goldman Sachs, Christoph didn’t even have an office but launched the business that Autumn and began providing loans. Taking the name from the business idea – Instant WOrking CApital, iwoca was born. Fast forward to today and iwoca are celebrating their seventh birthday having funded 21,500 small businesses to date, and loaned £600m to businesses across Europe. In Q1 2018, iwoca’s credit line represented nearly 10% of UK SME overdraft approvals, according to UK Finance.
iwoca have also hit profitability in the first half of 2018 putting the company on course to invest and grow for the future. Having started off exclusively targeting online marketplace traders, where viability for a loan could be judged on marketplace sales rather than traditional banking methods giving an instant decision on whether a loan could be granted, iwoca in recent years have branched out to offer loans to any small business, including offline businesses, in their quest to disrupt the finance industry.
iwoca have grown from Christoph who went on to found the business with James Dear, to over 200 employees today and are based in offices on Tottenham Court Road.
What’s next after iwoca’s 7th birthday? Well publicly Christoph has stated they aim to fund another 100,000 small businesses with instant working capital but here at Tamebay we’re betting on bigger things for iwoca. Having disrupted the small business loan market there is space in the FinTech market for further disruption – business banking is one area still largely operating as if it’s 1990 with many banks still charging for electronic deposits. Just as online retailers embraced accessibility to loans if iwoca were to offer banking and even mortgage facilities in an innovative manner and further disrupted the finance industry we’re pretty sure customers would be queuing up to take advantage.