Andrea Reynolds, Founder and CEO at Swoop Funding
Three years after launching a digital platform in the UK that has enabled thousands of small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) to acquire millions of pounds of financing, Swoop Finance expanded into North America.
As its point of entry to the market, the company selected Toronto, the second-largest financial centre in North America, and Ontario, the second largest tech cluster in North America.
says Andrea Reynolds, Swoop’s founder and CEO. “Toronto has the highest volume of top-quality SMEs in Canada. From here, we can get to know the market and the nuances of the SME community not just in the city but elsewhere in Canada and the U.S.”
Working directly with SMEs, in partnership with banks, non-bank lenders, advisors, chambers of commerce and other participants in the financial sector, Swoop provides a digital platform where customers can compare thousands of financial products and services, from loans, cash advances and credit facilities to equity, mortgages, grants and tax credits.
Using Swoop’s platform, they can assess their financial requirements and then gain access to appropriate financing “in one fell swoop,” says Reynolds.
The company’s technology benefits SMEs and their advisors alike.
Reynolds continues. “Serving them digitally, we can provide better service while helping them to operate more efficiently.”
In Canada, Swoop’s research has determined that 350,000 SMEs already use digital services. With open banking on the horizon, that number will increase, presenting new opportunities for Swoop, says Reynolds.
Swoop also sees opportunities in introducing Canadian SMEs to non-bank lenders. In the UK, Swoop provides white-label solutions to banks and other financial institutions, enabling them to offer a wider range of online funding products and services such as grants, equity and alternative debt. NatWest, for example, used a white-label solution from Swoop to give SME customers access not only to NatWest Loans but also to grants tailored to their business needs. Within the first week, more than 2,000 SMEs engaged with the tool.
Swoop’s expansion into North America follows a similar foray in 2020 into Australia and gives the company a similar opportunity to provide SMEs with digital financial services.
With support from organizations in England and Canada, the company identified strategic partners within Toronto’s financial services community.
Reynolds says. “We also received a lot of help from London & Partners in the UK.”
Before opening a Toronto office, Reynolds and her team had already established partnerships with more than 30 lenders in Canada. As a member of the Mayor of London’s International Business Programme, she then met in person with more potential partners in the city during a North American Trade Mission in the Fall of 2021.
With a Canadian location, two Swoop employees had no trouble emigrating from the UK while still giving them access to U.S. markets. Swoop then added three employees, hired locally, to join the team.
“The government has created an operating environment to encourage tech companies to invest, so Ontario’s R&D tax environment is now regarded as the best in the world,” says Reynolds, who learned first-hand about the financial needs of spin-off companies as a consultant to McLaren F1 Applied Technologies. “As a result, the province’s tech talent pool is phenomenal.”
As an integrated hub for financial management and planning, Swoop not only helps SMEs locate appropriate financing, it also identifies ways to save money, helping them to achieve better financial health.
“Putting the right money at the right time into the hands of business owners as they go through each stage, whether it be growth or cash crunch, is our mission,” says Reynolds, “and nothing gives me more pleasure than to see our customers flourish as a result.”
she continues. “An important factor to growth for SMEs is access to financing, and that’s the opportunity that we’re here for.”
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