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Successful Financing with Finpoint

26 November 2015
Successful Financing with Finpoint
Finpoint is a new funding platform for small and medium sized businesses based in Leeds. In association with PwC and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, it allows you to access 70+ lenders in one application and present your project anonymously at first, easily and professionally. We directed a few simple questions about Finpoint to its CEO Rainer Plentl.

Finpoint is a platform that enables small and medium sized businesses to access the funding they need to grow. Can you explain the thought behind its initiation?

The Finpoint platform was established in Germany in 2010 and works a bit like a dating website. Our service is designed to allow businesses to prepare an anonymous funding application that can be shared with multiple lenders. The platform saves time for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) that no longer need to phone around or hold meetings with lenders that may never lend to them. On the other hand, it is also a more efficient way for lenders to get in touch only with businesses that fit their lending criteria, which they select within the Finpoint platform.

In the UK, over 70 lenders are now accessible via our platform, at no direct cost to the business. This number includes banks, specialist finance houses and alternative finance providers. SMEs that complete a finance proposal are notified of lender interest and they can then choose the funder(s) they wish to negotiate with.

Who are the partners involved in initiating Finpoint?

Finpoint are working in partnership with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and its team of regional Growth Managers, as well as professional services firm PwC, who perform completeness reviews for every SME that goes through the process.

Why Leeds?

Access to finance is an issue all over the UK, and indeed in many countries around Europe. By working in partnership with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), we feel that we can deliver a better local service for SMEs that are looking for finance in order to grow their business.

The Finpoint platform complements the services already available through the LEP and its partners to stimulate and support business growth across the City Region, including the LEP’s own finance and skills products and national services such as UKTI, UK Export Finance, Innovate UK and the Business Growth Service.

How does the platform work?

Each SME needs to register their company details and create a user account. Our platform also allows advisers (e.g. accountants) to collaborate with their client or act on behalf of SMEs.

Following on from the registration, the SME or the adviser completes a finance request that consists of 5 sections:

  • Company data
  • Financial performance (typically the last 3 years of filed accounts)
  • Finance requirements
  • Security / Collateral
  • Attachments / Documents

By giving the user a structure to follow, we ensure that each finance request contains accurate data about the business. Once it is ready, the user can submit the request and lenders get to see an anonymous preview. If they are interested in finding out more, they can express interest and the SME or adviser then has to accept this, to open up access so that the borrower and lender can negotiate directly.

What is unique and/or convenient about Finpoint in the current context of accessing funds for a small to medium business?

  • By registering via the LEP Growth Service, each applicant is offered a free completeness review by PwC, to help you “put your best foot forward” when the finance request reaches our lender panel

  • If your business is registered at Companies House, you can prepare a funding application in under 10 minutes, at any time of day

  • Apply once and get access to over 70 lenders, no more phoning around or setting up meetings with lenders who cannot help you. See the list on Finpoint

  • A wide variety of financial products is on offer with no specific limits by amount or sector

Who is this for and where do you draw the lines (if at all) in terms of who can benefit from this?

The Finpoint platform is designed to introduce small and medium sized companies to debt finance providers (= lenders). While we do have some equity providers on our panel, it is fair to say that companies with a minimum of 2 years of trading history have a higher chance of success on our platform. In terms of request amount, this really depends on the lending criteria of individual finance providers. For an up-to-date list of finance providers, please visit Finpoint

Do you maintain a standard when it comes to lenders?

Each lender on our platform goes through a due diligence process, to ensure that they are an accredited lender as per UK standards. Amongst other points, we check that each lender has an authorization by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a complaints procedure as well as transparent processes for dealing with SME requests. By ensuring this due diligence, we only feature lenders who have a genuine interest in lending to SMEs and that they treat businesses fairly throughout the process.

Is there a cost involved for either the applicant or for the lenders to be part of Finpoint?

Finpoint has a clear, easy-to-follow fee structure. The use of the platform is completely free of charge for companies and advisors. Only upon completion of a transaction will the lender be charged a small percentage of the amount loaned, (1% - 3%), depending on the finance product (debt or equity) that was arranged.

How secure is this platform?

Finpoint takes data security very seriously. We do not sell or rent your data to third parties, and only share data in the way that a user has consented to. Our servers maintain high data security standards to protect personal data from unauthorised access and we also use encrypted data transmission in accordance with the Advanced Encryption Standard 256 (AES 256). You can refer to our privacy policy for more information.

For more details please visit LEP/Finpoint

Kam is a Business Writer for Leeds Living. Having joined in April 2015 she writes for the Strictly Business section and specialises in business editorials.