Business finance marketplace, Funding Options, has been announced as one of the winners of the second phase of Nesta’s ‘Open Up Challenge’ – one of only three companies to have won both stages of this challenge.
The Open Up Challenge prize is part of a package of reforms from the Competition and Markets Authority designed to shake up retail banking. It was designed to encourage the development of new fintech products with the potential to safely and securely utilise the data made available through open banking to create more value for small businesses. The winners of the prize will receive £200k to take their products and services to market.
Funding Options already works with over 50 lenders to help small businesses access alternative forms of finance, from as little as £1,000 up to £10 million. In its entry to this stage of the Challenge, Funding Options showed how it can use Open Banking data to make this process even easier and support even more small business achieve their goals. Indeed, last month it used Open Banking data to provide a Kent beauty salon with a loan of £10,000 in just 1 hour and 23 minutes.
Conrad Ford, CEO and Founder of Funding Options, said: “We’re delighted to be one of the winners of Nesta’s Open Up Challenge yet again. Every year millions of small businesses find themselves unable to access funding from the mainstream lenders and we exist to provide these firms somewhere to turn. In our entry, we showed how we can use Open Banking data to truly benefit small businesses by allowing them to quickly and easily compare and drawn down a loan.
“Access to finance causes countless sleepless nights for the UK’s hard-working small business owners but at Funding Options we can use Open Banking data to make this process much less painful. This prize money will help us support thousands more businesses to achieve their goals and fulfil our mission to help small businesses walk tall.”
Funding Options was also a winner of the first phase of the Open Up Challenge in 2017 for its use of anonymised Open Banking data and artificial intelligence to show the problems with a small business hitting its overdraft limit and the probability of this happening.