A group of former bankers from Australia’s big four banks have launched a new lending marketplace aimed at fintech SMEs.
Bigstone will allow businesses to apply for risk-based loans, with investors able to find the loans or portions of loans that match their appetite. Loans will be made on a peer-to-peer basis, online.
Australia’s fintech sector is rapidly expanding and is now estimated to be worth A$72bn. And while over A$150mn in loans has been extended to small businesses in the sector via online platforms, Bigstone’s founders hope that there is plenty of room left in the market for new providers.
The platform has been under development for a number of years, but has now launched and is open for business.
Founder and CEO Boyd Pederson, who worked in the past for Westpac and Boston Consulting Group, told local media that their research has found that 83% of Australian SMEs have trouble getting access to finance.
He told finder.au: “Banks are constrained both now by increased capital requirements, the complexity of servicing small businesses, their own complex business processes, the legacy systems and the simple challenge of getting things done in a large organisation which makes the pace of change slow. The difficulty for banks is that they really have a problem pursuing that SME lending marketplace profitably.”
The company’s CTO Robert Morgan has experience working for Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. COO Indy Singh has also worked at Westpac, as well as Deloitte. Liam McLagan, general counsel, has worked at Linklaters and Lark Law, while chief risk officer Marcus Korff completes the “big four” involvement, having worked for ANZ, Santander and NAB.
The company has also signed a deal with the Interface Financial Group (IFG), a US-based alternative finance provider, to use its invoice financing product. This will also be funded on a peer-to-peer basis.
Pederson says of the arrangement: “IFG invented the product that bankers call spot-factoring. This innovative product provides flexible funding of single or multiple invoices.
“A business owner has complete flexibility to decide how much to use and when to use the product. We’re an on-demand, pay-as-you-go, invoice funding partner, with no application fees, no restrictions on invoice amounts, and no termination costs.”