iwoca to open Leeds office and launch new products for

iwoca to open Leeds office and launch new products for SMEs

iwoca is set to open a new office in Leeds which will eventually accommodate up to 100 employees.

The business lender — which currently employs over 300 people — said the new site is due to open early next year and will be home to its team of developers, customer support officers and relationship managers.

iwoca exclusively told Bridging & Commercial that it aimed to develop new products by 2023, including OpenLending — a customisable, self-serve platform for SME fintech partners — an SME loan which doesn’t require a personal guarantee, and an invoice finance product called iwocaPay.

It has also announced a partnership with online accounting platform Xero.

The SME finance provider was recently awarded £10m as part of the Capability and Innovation Fund, which will expand its SME customer base to 150,000 and make £5bn of funding available by 2023. 

Throughout the decision-making process for acquiring the office, iwoca received support from the Leeds city region local enterprise partnership’s (LEP) trade and investment team as well as the Department for International Trade.

“Leeds has a strong heritage in financial services and banking, but we wanted to play a major role in the city’s fintech evolution,” said Seema Desai, chief operating officer at iwoca (pictured above, left).

“We looked at several cities and Leeds stood out as a natural second home from where we could support even more small businesses across the UK. 

“We were particularly impressed with the size and quality of Leeds' talent pool, its strong and improving infrastructure, as well as the city's own distinctive culture and soul. 

“But, we remain at the start of our journey.

“Our aim is to fund one million small businesses, so we need smart, hands-on people to help us reach this goal.”

Roger Marsh, chair at the Leeds city region LEP and NP11 (centre), described Leeds as an “attractive place for global fintech companies to invest and grow”.

Since launching in 2012, iwoca has provided funding to 50,000 businesses and raised £350m in equity and debt finance.

Also pictured: Christoph Rieche, CEO and co-founder at iwoca (right)

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