In the excitable world of fintech, companies, technologies, business models and customer segments rise and fall in popularity with speed and volatility matched only by bitcoin. After ridding the world of outdated, predatory incumbent banks in the interest of honest, hardworking, iPhone-wielding men and women, fintech was going to fundamentally address the woefully inadequate financial services available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, nine years on from the 2008 financial crisis, retail customers still by and large seek financial services from incumbent organisations, and SMEs are hardly better off than they were before.
In the early days of post-2008 fintech, a number of prominent alternative lenders in the US and UK, including Kabbage, Funding Circle, MarketInvoice and others, stepped into the void when banks stopped extending credit to SMEs. In the same period, a few high-profile payments companies, including Square, Stripe and Klarna, developed payment services for small and medium-sized businesses. Unfortunately, since then, there hasn’t been much action in SME fintech. Until now.