Five questions for... Christoph Rieche, CEO, iwoca
Iwoca is an online startup that provides financing for small businesses.
What does your business do?
Iwoca has reinvented small-business lending by breaking down the barriers that stand between small businesses and finance. That means no more convoluted forms, long waits and unfairly rigid lending criteria. Instead, iwoca is building award-winning technology that makes credit available to small businesses in a couple of clicks, providing access to £1,000-£150,000 directly through the iwoca website and through partner integrations.
What's been your greatest achievement?
Since launching in 2012 we have financed nearly 20,000 micro and small businesses. In the first quarter of 2018 alone we have approved 3,500 small businesses for credit facilities, far more than any other challenger bank, and nearly matching HSBC's or Barclays's business overdraft approvals.
What's been your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is to put to an end to the monopoly banks have on their customers. Even though 56% of small businesses find it difficult to secure financing according to the British Business Bank, the vast majority of small businesses will only apply to their own bank for financing.
How do you plan to hit your targets this year?
Our target is to finance 100,000 small businesses in the UK over the next five years, which would put us on par with leading high-street banks. To achieve this we'll need to invest heavily in research and development to build a broader product range and in marketing to create greater awareness among small-business owners.
What's the one piece of advice you'd give fellow entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is a marathon of sprints. Be resilient, and never take no for an answer.