Intelligent Issue 29 | Page 9



FinTech iwoca hits net profitability as demand for SME capital surges
Canadian small businesses call for lower credit card processing rates
iwoca , one of Europe ’ s largest small business lenders , has experienced a surge in working capital demand as SMEs need additional financing due to higher costs and slower repayments from their customers .
The total number of customers funded across the UK and Germany – including all products and repeat customers – grew by over 50 % in 2022 vs 2021 . iwoca funded 15,429 businesses in 2022 , an increase of 54 % from 2021 .
To meet this surging demand , iwoca has increased its funding line to £ 170 million with longstanding partner , Pollen Street Capital . Other funding lines are also being increased with existing lenders .
Last year , iwoca also more than doubled the maximum size of its Flexi-Loan , one of its core lending products , from £ 200,000 to £ 500,000 to meet the growing demand from medium-sized businesses .
With credit card usage rising due to the pandemic , growing online shopping and tight consumer budgets , small merchants are urging the federal government and the payments industry to move quickly to deliver on the Fall Economic Statement ’ s promise to lower processing fees for small business .
Nearly three-quarters ( 74 %) of small businesses said that they want to see credit card processing fees drop to no more than 1 % of the total dollar sale , according to a new survey
by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business ( CFIB ). This would require interchange rates for small firms to be set at 0.7 % or less – half of the current average of 1.4 %.
CFIB research shows most ( 81 %) small businesses take a hit to their bottom line to cover the costs of accepting credit cards .
Yet , many small merchants feel they have no choice but to continue accepting credit cards if they want to attract and retain customers and grow their business .
The 33 most exciting early stage scale-ups to watch in 2023
Tech Nation has revealed the top 33 early stage scale-ups to watch in 2023 in every region , representing the brightest of UK tech with the most potential to scale in the year to come . The 33 regional ‘ Rising Stars ’ comprise the three most promising tech companies from 11 regions and nations of the UK .
Selected companies or ‘ Regional Winners ’ will benefit from significant profile raising , masterclasses and networking opportunities to put their business in front of leading investors , influencers and corporates .
Companies from the 2023 Rising Stars cohort include companies like Safer Date – the only dating app which carries out realtime , biometric ID checks to create a safe environment to users , through to Artscapy , a platform dedicated to redefining art buying , collecting and investing by removing archaic and opaque business practices , and robotics company , Danu , which has developed a robotic system for the recycling and waste management industry to significantly increase recycling efficiency .
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