Irish invoice-financing company Accelerated Payments has been selected by Virgin Money in Britain to help its millions of business customers address cash flow issues.
The Dublin-headquartered start-up, which is also close to completing a €2 million funding round led by institutional investors, is partnering with the lender to allow customers to receive payment on invoices early on.
The Accelerated Payments partnership forms part of Virgin Money’s new working capital health proposition. Last week, the bank, which has 6.5 million customers, launched its new M Account for Business, which has been designed for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses with an annual turnover of under £1 million and who prefer to do their banking digitally.
Accelerated Payments was founded by Ian Duffy, Colm Devine and Dylan Martin four years ago. It has developed a portal that allows users to upload and select invoices for funding. Once approved, payment is usually advanced within 24 hours, meaning that businesses don't have to wait months to get paid by suppliers.
Invoice financing is nothing new but speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Devine, Accelerated’s head of business development said Accelerated has sought to make it more accessible, flexible and affordable.
“Traditionally, credit committees have tended to look at the wrong aspects when weighing up if a company should be advanced payment, such as focusing on balance sheets. But what we do is look to see if they are selling to a good debtor, because that’s really where the risk is,” he said.
“We also operate on a pay-as-you-go basis rather than tying in companies to long terms contracts,” Mr Devine added.
Around 60 per cent of clients using Accelerated’s platform are new to invoice financing and they range in size from SMEs to larger companies, who don’t want to be tied into a facility. The company provides payments ranging from €10,000 up to €3 million and last month hit a milestone of having funded €500 million worth of invoices since inception.
The fintech currently employs 36 people but intends to take on an additional 10 employees after completing the funding round. Around 70 per cent of business comes from the UK, with the company also having clients in Ireland and Canada. It is eying up a move into the US shortly.
Mr Devine said the partnership with Virgin would give Accelerated a bigger platform in Britain and help more companies scale up and go global.
“It is a bit of a coup for us to be honest as we only stared the business in 2017 and this is our first major partnership. Virgin is one of the fastest growing banks in Britain and this obviously allows us to access their 6.5 million customers so we are very excited about this,” he said.
Accelerated, which is focused on growing its loan book to €50 million, last year secured a €20 million senior debt line from asset manager Channel Capital Advisors.
Speaking on the tie-up with the Irish company, Graeme Sands, interim head of business banking at Virgin Money said Accelerated Payments' invoice finance solutions would offer its customers help in addressing cash flow concerns that are a regular occurrence for many businesses.
“Having this kind of innovation will be a powerful tool for customers,” he said.