Today, I’m delighted to announce that Tide has signed an agreement to acquire Funding Options, a leading UK marketplace for SMEs seeking business finance. This deal, subject to FCA approval, will give our members access to the Funding Options platform of lenders.
In doing so, we aim to create one of the UK’s biggest marketplaces for SME credit, and to make it easier for small business owners to access this vital resource. We know that getting credit is even more important to our members in these challenging times: not just in terms of the rising cost of doing business, but also when high street banks are typically slower to offer smaller businesses loans. The SME funding gap in the UK alone is estimated to be £56 billion.
Why Funding Options?
One of the things that drew us to Funding Options is that, like us, they want to make things as simple and as quick as possible for small businesses, down to the technology they use. The Funding Options ethos has always been to remove confusing products, complex application forms and long waits, because they know saving time and money is key for small business owners. It’s a mission that deeply resonates with us at Tide. Lastly, we know that getting access to more credit options and being able to make decisions faster will help close the funding gap and, in turn, benefit the UK economy.
What will happen to Funding Options?
Funding Options will continue to operate as a separate brand within Tide. Once we receive approval from the FCA, we’ll combine our existing credit intermediation business with Funding Options, which will be led by Simon Cureton, Funding Options’ current CEO. With a proven track record building Funding Options with a large team, we’re pleased to welcome Simon into the fold at Tide.
In just over a decade, Funding Options has become a leader in credit intermediation for small businesses and has been recognised as a fast-growth scale-up by the Financial Times. Since it was founded, Funding Options has helped thousands of small businesses in the UK find credit – and by joining Tide, they’ll further boost their numbers with access to our 475,000 members.
What’s next for Tide?
Funding Options is our first acquisition at Tide and one we’ve made after careful consideration. We’re still seeing strong organic growth in the UK and we’ll soon be launching in India – and we believe this acquisition will support Tide’s ambitious and long-term growth. Building our credit business was one of the commitments that Tide and our partner Clearbank made to the Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) when we received our BCR grant, and we’ve fully delivered on it. Our firm goal is to help ease access to funding for SMEs, and this acquisition takes that commitment to the next level.
Acquiring Funding Options will also help us accelerate our plans, building upon a fintech landscape that provides many opportunities for consolidation. With our strong balance sheet, supportive investors, and a leading position in the market, I know that we can become a leader in the fintech acquisition space as the market shifts shape.
As we move forward, Tide’s primary focus will be organic growth. However, as we expand in the UK and globally, we’ll consider further acquisitions where they fit with our goals, help bolster our growth and add to the services and products we can offer our members. Our members are the beating heart of our plans, and we’ll update you with more details about Funding Options in the coming months.