Signalling a vote of confidence in British fintech, business lending platform Growth Street has raised a £7.5m scale-up investment round led by the Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited (Merian Chrysalis). Asset manager Merian Global Investors has joined forces with leading individual investors including Rob Rankin, former co-Head of Corporate Banking & Securities at Deutsche Bank, and Peter Brodnicki, CEO of the Mortgage Advice Bureau, in backing Growth Street.
Existing Growth Street investors are also contributing to the round, including Christiaen van Lanschot, who serves as Growth Street’s chairman, Paolo Cuniberti, former CEO of Mediobanca UK, and Pi Capital CEO David Giampaolo. Growth Street was advised by Zeus Capital, who are also participating in the round.
Merian Chrysalis is advised by leading asset management firm Merian Global Investors, which has a total of £31.6bn under management. The funding round values Growth Street at £27.5m.
The funding underscores Growth Street’s ambition to be the next disruptive force in UK fintech. After the 2008 financial crash, bank lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) collapsed, with the recovery since being dubbed “slow and uneven” by the OECD. Growth Street’s own research suggests that total UK overdraft lending reduced by around £18bn between 2008 and 2018.
As the UK prepares for its exit from the EU, the Merian Chrysalis portfolio management team believes that Growth Street can shake up an ossified lending market and accelerate loan book growth. Growth Street supports growing, profitable SMEs with GrowthLine, a transformation of the traditional bank overdraft. Powered by Open Banking and cloud accounting integrations, GrowthLine delivers flexible facilities up to £2m.
The FCA-regulated company, which was founded by CEO Greg Carter and serial investor Thomas Hoegh in 2014, aims to combine traditional and personal relationship management with best-in-class technology to provide long-term support to its clients as they grow.
Commenting on the announcement, Growth Street co-founder and CEO Greg Carter said:
“New regulations and technologies are driving rapid change within business lending. In a short period, we have proven that ambitious businesses can thrive with GrowthLine. We are now working to expand access to GrowthLine and strike new relationships throughout the financial services ecosystem.
“I’m delighted Merian and leading investors share our view that business owners deserve better.”
Thomas Hoegh, Growth Street co-founder and investor said, “Having built and backed more than 50 tech businesses, I have experienced entrepreneurs’ struggles first-hand. With Growth Street, we give business owners the financial flexibility they need, right when they need it. As businesses scale over the coming years, Growth Street will be there to support them.”
Richard Watts, co-fund manager of Merian Chrysalis said, “Growth Street has built a differentiated product that provides flexible funds to SMEs, filling the vacuum created by the retrenchment of high-street banks in this space. We’re excited to work with Greg, Thomas and the team to provide supportive capital, allowing British businesses to continue to grow.”
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