Swoop, a global online funding platform for SMEs and advisors, has raised $9.4 million in Series A funding with the aim of further expanding into the Australian and global markets.
The raise was led by venture capital group Velocity, Arab Bank Ventures, IAG and Californian WeHo Ventures. Swoop has offices in the UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia, and is also focusing on expanding in the US. The platform is forecasting an increase in revenue of 450% globally, and will expand its team from 60 to 80 by the end of winter.
Head of commercial operations Australia Scott Weddle tells SmartCompany that for the Australian arm this will mean more hands on deck, growing their team of eight by 15% by the end of August.
“We’re still going through a growth phase,” Weddle said.
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“And we recently launched the Swoop for Advisors product in May. Expansion is just starting to take off, and we’ll be creating more jobs and expanding the team. We’re looking to rapidly grow in Australia.”
Swoop acts like a marketplace allowing SMEs to gain access to a range of funding options across loans, equities, grants, foreign exchange and other business transactions, partnering with a range of banks including ANZ, NAB, Westpac, Liberty, Suncorp, Judo Bank and Pepper Money.
It has also partnered with more than 90 fintech lenders, and has relationships with VC funds, family officers, private investors and crowdfunders.
Its new product, Swoop for Advisors, is an advisor portal for accountants and advisors, helping them find funding for their SME clients.
In addition, Swoop also assists businesses with finding and applying for grants to increase their chances of obtaining funding.
“It’s a tricky market at the moment. There’s a lot of different information, so what we’re trying to do is uncomplicate the market and give SMEs the right information. We have experts who really understand commercial funding to help small businesses expand,” Weddle said.
Since launching last year, Swoop has also been helping SMEs navigate business financing during COVID-19, including with the federal SME recovery loan scheme. For businesses that could not get access to funding, Swoop worked closely with them on a roadmap to recovery.
“It was not always about funding, but actually being there for them and helping them make the best of a bad situation or minimize the impact of a bad situation,” Weddle said.
And while there has been some criticism about the SME recovery loan scheme, Weddle says the scheme was designed to help businesses that were previously successful and the client had to be able to afford the loan to begin with.
“The bank can’t lend if there is no guarantee it will be repaid,” he noted.
“From a credit point of view, banks never want defaults even if the government guarantees a loan.”
Since opening office in Australia in March 2021, Swoop has helped Australian SMEs secure over $100 million in equity, debt and grants funding.