B-North, the Manchester-based firm building an SME lending bank for the UK, has raised a further £1m as it moves closer to obtaining regulatory approval.
B-North has teamed up with County Durham fintech specialist, Growth Capital Ventures (GCV), to announce the fundraise, which is part of a £20m series A fundraising round designed to give B-North the necessary capital to finalise its banking licence process. Prior to this latest raise, B-North had completed two fundraising rounds worth a combined £6.9 million.
Tapping into the UK SME lending market which has a stock of over £150 billion, B-North will deliver loans of between £500,000 and £5m and is built upon the premise of operating regional ‘lending pods’, which include underwriters, valuers, and account managers, across the UK to facilitate a vastly improved borrowing experience and to build genuine face-to-face relationships with growing businesses and the brokers which support them. Teamed with the latest in cloud-based technology, B-North aims to deliver finance up to 10x faster than the market standard.
Interested parties who would like to invest in the current round can do so via GCV’s co-investment platform, growthfunders.com, until the deadline of October 30.
Jonathan Thompson, CEO of B-North, said: “We are using this ‘bridge’ round to extend our cash runway and enable us to complete our Series A fundraising as efficiently as possible in the coming months, at which point we will bring the business to market.
“The last couple of years have seen us painstakingly bring together the different, important elements required to deliver fast, efficient lending to the UK’s SMEs. We are very much ready to go and are excited to get out there and start helping businesses realise their ambitions.”
Craig Peterson, co-founder and chief operating officer of GCV, said: “This fundraise has created a rare and attractive opportunity to own a stake in a business that’s about to bring to market a technology-driven UK bank focused on providing finance to scale-ups and SMEs. The levelling up of the UK economy simply cannot be achieved in the current financial landscape and I am very confident that B-North and its unique regional bank model will be an important addition to the supply side of credit to UK SMEs.
“Getting more funds to high-growth SMEs will be vital as the UK attempts to reinvigorate an economy that has been damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. SMEs account for around 60% of private sector employment and have been the major driver of job growth over the past ten years.”