At eOffice we are thrilled to support and provide a platform for growth to such an inspiring community of startups and entrepreneurs. Ranging in size and professional orientation, our vibrant members are at the core of what makes eOffice a thriving workplace environment for collaboration and interaction.
We decided to pop by the desk of FUNDING XCHANGE and have a quick chat with one of the Founders – Katrin Herring. An SME specialist at Bain & Company, Katrin co-founded the company with Olivier Beau de Lomenie, serial entrepreneur who led the team that built Ocado’s award winning e-commerce platform. Officially launched a couple of weeks ago in June 2015, FUNDING XCHNAGE is en route to bring clarity and simplicity to a process that is notoriously tricky and opaque.
eOffice: Very simply, what does FUNDING XCHANGE do?
Katrin: FUNDING XCHANGE helps business owners navigate the funding space and take control of funding their business. FUNDING XCHANGE has created the first UK marketplace for businesses to learn about funding options, easily and quickly access a large panel of providers with a single funding request and receive offers that are easy to understand and compare.
Many SMEs struggle to access bank lending. For example, more than 50% of funding requests by sole traders are declined by banks. To close this gap, 100+ finance providers for SMEs have emerged in the UK. However, most business owners remain unaware of the alternatives to bank loans or overdrafts, have never heard of the new providers, or simply don’t have the time to interact with multiple lenders.
For the first time, business owners can use a ‘comparison site’ that gives them access to quotes – creating the same transparency of funding options and terms that consumers have become accustomed to.
eOffice: How was the idea born – what does your tech start-up disrupt?
Katrin: FUNDING XCHANGE is disrupting the inefficient SME funding space by providing a marketplace for businesses to receive funding offers from the widest possible panel of lenders. FUNDING XCHANGE is 100% unbiased and encourages lenders to bid against each other for the opportunity to work with a business – ensuring that the business is getting a great deal.
eOffice: Are you funded?
Katrin: FUNDING XCHANGE has completed its initial funding and is currently raising a second EIS funding round.
eOffice: What were you doing before starting?
Katrin: I spent seven years with Bain & Company advising large banks and financial firms. I understands the constraints that make it difficult for banks to provide flexible forms of finance to small businesses and I have witnessed up-close the rapid emergence of innovative lenders who are seeking to step into the gap left by the banks.
My co-founder Olivier built his first bespoke enterprise online app way back in 1995 right after graduating from Stanford University at a time when the interactive web was still in its infancy.
Since then, he has constantly been developing online solutions for a wide range of businesses, industries and markets. He led the technology team that delivered the award-winning Ocado online supermarket.
eOffice: What’s the best thing about where you’re based?
Katrin: We are based in eOffice in the Holborn location – which is rapidly turning into the “New Shoreditch”. We love that many of our partners are within a short walk of our offices. eOffice provides us with a stimulating work environment where you can meet like-minded professionals and startups.