Capitalise.com, the FCA regulated financial marketplace for accountants today announces a £3.5m Series A investment round.
The round was led by QED Investors, the leading US Fintech venture capital firm, and supported by existing investor Hambro Perks, as well as Gauss Ventures.
Capitalise believes in a future of sustainable businesses, supported by experts. Positioning accountants as the experts, using Capitalise’s innovative data analytics and marketplace access, they act as crucial point of advice to discuss growth plans with their small business clients.
Through its online platform, Capitalise works with 105 Institutional partners, providing breadth of market access with competition between potential providers to give SMEs choice they desperately need to avoid unplanned, expensive and ill-informed funding decisions.
Capitalise partners with accountants to build what Paul Surtees, Co-founder and CEO of Capitalise, describes as a “culture of funding” which strengthens the businesses of both SMEs and their accountants. UK accounting body ICAEW cites access to finance and cash flow are business owners top concerns despite the UK market boasting over 360 small business lenders.
This paradox of choice is compounded by the reduction in bank branches from 22,000 in the 90s, to less than 7,000 today, Santander being the most recent to announce closing 1 in 5 branches, leading to the business owner with fewer, professional relationships to support them.
Paul Surtees suggests “Whilst the bank manager might be a thing of the past, we say it is ‘long live the accountant.’ ” A revolution is occurring within the accounting industry, as automation from cloud technology is allowing for accountants to diversify their revenue streams and support SMEs in areas which previously would have fallen outside of their remit. While, international accounting body, IFAC finds that 50% of accountants expect to be advising on alternative finance, Xero is petitioning The Oxford English Dictionary to change its definition of the word ‘accountant’ to something that truly reflects what it means to be an accountant in 2019.
Yusuf Ozdalga, the head of QED’s London office said, “We are very excited to partner with Capitalise in the next stage of their growth story. We believe that the accounting and advisor community plays a crucial role in helping the small and medium sized businesses in the UK that are so crucial for a growing and dynamic economy. Capitalise’s unique platform helps accountants better serve and help their clients by demystifying and streamlining the funding process, and bolsters their position as trusted advisors.”
George Davies, Partner at Hambro Perks says, “Hambro Perks is proud to continue to support Paul, Ollie and the Capitalise team. We have long been believers in their vision of a platform that empowers accountants and SMEs, and gives them access to a broad range of finance options to best meet their needs. We are delighted to partner with QED and Gauss in backing Capitalise’s next stage of growth”.
The scalability of the Capitalise.com platform and online learning for accountants has allowed for an annual compounded growth rate of 234%. Enterprise firms, PKF and Armstrong Watson, digital first firms, Farnell Clarke, BluSky, Wow company and Woods Squared are cited as some of the 1,000 firms engaging with Capitalise. This adoption rate also evidences that the true improvement for UK small business owners lies not only with speed to funds but with a combination of product choice, transparency and education.
“The recent raise will be used to expand our cloud product for advisers to navigate the ever growing market of financial products for SMEs and to embed funding expertise in their firms with Capitalise Pro”, explains Ollie Maitland, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Capitalise. Investment in data science will power their award-winning credit and health report for businesses, Capitalise Monitor, which was named in the Nesta Open Banking challenge and further addresses underlying issues causing problematic cash flow for UK small business owners.