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SME lender looks to expansion following funding round

Debtor finance and cash flow management fintech Skippr has secured a further $16 million to grow its finance book and help drive expansion.

Founded in July 2015 by former NAB corporate agri-banker Alistair Lamond and former HSBC Hong Kong fund manager Patrick Crivelli, Skippr provides SMEs with debt finance solutions as well as a tool that plugs into their cloud accounting software to enable them to “visualise their short-term cash flow” and understand how they can manage their cash flow better.

The fintech has now completed a funding round comprising $1 million in equity from investors and $15 million in debt. 

It is hoped that the new funds will help drive further expansion and grow its book.

The investors are predominantly from institutional banking or asset management and include the co-founder and former CEO of Pepper Group, Patrick Tuttle; the co-founder of SocietyOne, Andy Taylor; and the former managing director at JP Morgan, James Beeson.

Mr Beeson is now a director of the fintech while Mr Taylor and Mr Tuttle are both advisers to the lender.

Speaking to Mortgage Business, co-founder and commercial director Alistair Lamond said: “These funds will help us grow the team and to continue improving our technology. After two years of operation, we now have validated a lot of what we set out to do, which is make it easier for small businesses to access capital through debtor finance but also really try to tackle that bigger problem and help them understand why they actually need the finance and how they better manage the greater cash flow of the business.

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“Now we need to double down on that and make it a far more powerful product that makes it more seamless to unlock finance.

“We have now raised some more equity and we also have a new $15 million fund in place that we’re looking to deploy to more small businesses.”

Mr Lamond continued: “It is now a case of just turning on the taps a little bit and getting further into the market.

“I expect over the next 12 months we will be providing around $40 million worth of lending with that fund.” 

According to the fintech co-founder, the main barriers to SMEs accessing more finance include a lack of education and limits of technology. 

He explained: “Debtor finance is comparatively quite small in comparison to the UK; in Australia, it only makes up 5 per cent of GDP compared to about 15 per cent in the UK. We believe that is primarily due to two things: a lack of education and awareness, but also information asymmetry due to technology not being advanced enough to manage that kind of product.  

“Now with cloud accounting coming into market and really getting a lot of adoption, we are able to leverage that transparency and easier access to data to not only help business keep ahead of the curb and better manage their finances.” 

Mr Lamond added: “In my previous roles at other lenders, I was helping SMEs only at the point when they had figured out they had a problem. This is the point where the business is often at [its] most vulnerable, so chance of approval is lower and costs are higher. This stimulated the idea: help small businesses earlier to enable a better future outcome.” 

Patrick Crivelli, co-founder of Skippr, also commented, saying: “SMEs employ 70 per cent of the Australian workforce and contribute 56 per cent to our GDP each year. Unfortunately, many are hamstrung by poor cash flow management processes, lengthy payment terms imposed by large customers and a deficient banking market that has left a $60 billion funding gap in the market. 

“We are working hard to help educate the business owner but also understand their business better so we can provide them capital without handing over the keys to their house.”

[Related: Fintech lenders eye bigger slice of SME market]

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