“It’s white label tech we’re providing to banks and alternative lenders to let them be fintechs.
“We serve the global trade bank market, and we have some of the world’s largest trade banks doing multinational rollouts.”
As well as providing lenders with data-driven insights to inform lending decision, Trade Ledger’s technology allows them to offer new services such as embedded finance, which involves offering loans as part of the payment journey on websites selling to SMEs.
We have one of the top three trade banks in the world by market share. Their global lending book is multiple times the entire Australian national market.
— Martin McCann, Trade Ledger co-founder
In the early days Mr McCann bootstrapped the business, which was initially based out of a co-working space in Sydney, before he shifted the headquarters to London in 2018.
The company grew rapidly last year, going from 24 to 62 staff, and this year it expects to more than double its headcount across Sydney and London, as well as opening an office in Asia, COVID-19 restrictions permitting. It claims its revenue also grew twentyfold in the period.
“We’re looking to take this global and be the number one player for lending as a service within the next two years,” Mr McCann said.
“Last year was a tangential year for business lending. In most countries the volume of lending going to businesses was driven by the scale of the government programs [for COVID-19] … but most lending was still based on relationships and paper, and that process broke down.
“That’s the state of business banking. It hasn’t had the same investment as retail banking.”
Trade Ledger was a victim of the manual processes still widely relied upon in business banking itself, when it had to wait almost eight weeks for a overdraft to be approved from a bank in the UK because its processing centre was in India. Because of COVID-19, no one could go into the Indian office to print out the necessary paperwork.
Growing client base
The company was unable to name its customers, but said it had 10 lenders signed up across five countries.
Its aim for 2021 is to acquire more than 20 customers across Asia, Europe and Oceania.
“Most of the customers we have are multinational. We have one of the top three trade banks in the world by market share,” Mr McCann said.
“Their global lending book is multiple times the entire Australian national market.”
As well as funding its push into more offshore markets, the capital raised will support its ongoing product investment, which includes automating more back-office functions for lenders and better using open banking data.
By the end of the year, the fintech intends to launch a consumer-facing product as well, which will let SMEs understand their cash flow position better and help them forecast their financial position.
Point72Ventures operating partner Alex Tarhini said Trade Ledger was “bringing significant new opportunities to the business lending market”.
“We view Trade Ledger as part of an important wave of companies that are disrupting legacy financial technology and, in doing so, are moving the financial services industry forward,” he said.
Mr Tarhini will join the Trade Ledger board, which already includes Mr Lorenzini, Hambro Perks’ George Davies and the founders.