Investly dips its toes into the UK bill finance space

Alternative loans

Estonian billing finance platform Investly is targeting UK SMEs after a €600,000 investment round.

Tallinn-based invoice financing platform Invest has announced its launch in the UK, offering UK small and medium-sized businesses an alternative way to finance their bills. According to the platform, the announcement follows a €600,000 investment from venture capital group SpeedInvest, a Vienna-based seed and Series A fund.

Founded in 2014 in Estonia, Investly helps companies find working capital from investors around the world. Invoices on the platform are funded through a reverse auction mechanism, designed to drive down interest rates for borrowers. Auctions usually last between 1 and 5 days and investors bid against each other to participate in each bill.

In August 2014, Siim Maivel, CEO of Investly, suggested P2P-Banking.com that an expansion into the UK could well be on the horizon.

“Building on the launch in Estonia, we have ambitious expansion plans with preparations underway to enter new markets, with the UK to follow later in the year”he argued.

The new invoice finance product will be available to any UK SME that meets the platform’s registration criteria, which includes all the usual credit checks, director’s checks and personal guarantees.

Ruth Chamberlain, UK Country Head of Investly, commented:

Long payment terms are crippling for UK SMEs. They depend on cash to maintain and grow their business, but as they invest in products and people, they may not get cash on work done a month or even 120 days after their invoice is issued. […] Investly connects investors with growing SMEs in need of vital capital. Our concept, expertise and technology enable businesses to be the best they can be by making the invoice financing process as easy as it has ever been.

As part of the UK launch, Investly is offering the first 20 companies accepted to sell an invoice worth up to £5,000 off for free. On the investor side, for now at least, the platform will primarily target institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Over time and as its full FCA clearance is approved, retail investors are also expected to enter the fray.

Interestingly, European platforms are often drawn to the UK because the conditions here are much more favorable for financial innovation, as explained by Ryan Weeks. However, it is also a much more competitive market. Time will tell if Investly’s foray into the UK space pays off.

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