One to watch
We speak to Peter Tuvey of Fleximize, which is a tech-focused business. This is what he has to say.
- Company: Fleximize
- What it does in a sentence: Fleximize is an innovative, tech-focused business lender, which offers flexible business loans to UK-based SMEs
- Founded:January 2014
- Founder/s: Peter Tuvey & Max Chmyshuk
- Size of team:40 employees
- Your name and role: Peter Tuvey, Co-Founder and Managing Partner
What problem are you trying to solve?
Fleximize was founded on the belief that small to medium-sized businesses in the UK have for too long been limited in their funding options. For years, banks and other traditional lenders have made access to working capital far more rigid and difficult than it should be. Business owners have been put under added pressure by strict repayment deadlines, impersonal service, and a screen that simply says ‘no’.
Our mission is simple: we want to revolutionise the world of business funding by providing a suite of truly flexible funding options to SMEs, priced fairly and transparently, and tailored to the unique needs of every business. Rather than letting a computer make all of our lending decisions, our underwriters try to find a way to say ‘yes’ to every application by looking beyond credit scores and taking a company’s circumstances into account.
How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?
The alternative finance industry is only going to keep growing. Within the next three years, I’d like to think we’ll have a £250m portfolio of funded businesses and a minimum of five new creative loan products for SMEs. We would also like to be trading in two or more new countries.
How do you make money?
Our loans come with a competitive interest rate starting from 1.5% per month. Whilst we do turn a profit, our customers are not subject to any hidden fees, and there are no penalties for early repayment.
Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?
In a little over three years, Fleximize has grown into a business with over 40 members of staff, eight of whom followed me from my previous venture. The company’s success is testament to their dedication, hard work and collective focus.
Who’s bankrolling you?
Fleximize’s seed funding came from its three co-founders, with additional capital from investment funds and high net worth individuals. We have just secured an additional £16.3 million, which should allow us to substantially increase our lending capacity and propel us towards a goal of lending more than £100m to SMEs by 2019.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?
Raising investment for growth is arguably the biggest challenge for most business owners. First impressions matter when meeting investors, and it is vital to have a comprehensive and presentable business strategy and vision for your company.
What metrics do you look at every day?
I always keep an eye on our profit margin because, like any business, we need to know if we’re making money and how much we can spend to fund our future growth. I’m regularly monitoring outgoings, cash flow and KPIs, as well as the number of applications we’ve received, and from what source. This helps us see exactly what sectors and businesses need finance the most, allowing us develop our product set accordingly.
What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?
That I should spend less time talking and more time listening! After all, it doesn’t matter who comes up with the next brilliant idea, as long as someone does.
What’s been your biggest mistake so far?
I probably hung on to my old business a little too long. It can be hard to let go sometimes, especially when it’s something you’ve worked so hard to build.
What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead?
After Brexit, and with an election looming, it is hard to say with any certainty where the market will be. However, with many SMEs still struggling to secure funding from banks and traditional lenders, demand for our products should only continue to increase.
Which London start-up/s are you watching, and why?
It’s hard not to be impressed by Monzo. The personal banking sector has been long overdue a shake-up, and Monzo is leading the way by (literally) putting power into the hands of customers. What they’ve already achieved is nothing short of staggering.