BCR names FinTechs getting Pool E grants

The board of Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) has announced the results of the £20 million Capability and Innovation Fund Pool E grant process.

It has given grants of £5 million to Funding Xchange and Onfido, with grants of £2.5 million going to Codat, ezbob, Fractal Labs and Previse.

The purpose of this fund is to facilitate the commercialisation of financial technology that is relevant to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). BCR was particularly interested in the ability to deliver on its proposition build by the end of 2022, meeting the product and service criteria, while ensuring high security standards for end users.

BCR received a total of 92 applications from 67 applicants for the Pool E Application period one process, during an application window between 1 and 26 June.

As with each previous pool of the Capability and Innovation Fund, BCR engaged business and technology consultancy Baringa to analyse the applications via a rigorous and detailed process.

Progress against each applicant’s public commitments will be updated on a quarterly basis with the first reporting update due in January 2021. Awardees report regularly to BCR, including face-to-face (currently virtual) meetings.

Aidene Walsh, lead director on the Capability and Innovation Fund workstream, said: “It has been really encouraging to see that, despite the challenging economic environment, this pool has attracted a large number of diverse and innovative organisations that are making strong progress in meeting the needs of UK SMEs.

"All successful applicants have demonstrated a clear vision for how they will deliver on their business proposition by December 2022 and provide agile and enduring products and services to the SME market”.

Applications for the Pool E application period two - for banks and organisations that were eligible under previous Pool A, B and C criteria for grants - which have a combined value of £80 million, closed on 31 July.

The evaluation process is underway and successful awardees will be announced during the week of 21 September.

Responding to the award, Previse chief executive Paul Christensen said: "With the BCR funding and collaboration with the FSB, we will be able to get more SMEs paid instantly: reducing the need to resort to other expensive forms of finance.

"Our top priority is getting working capital to small businesses, to provide the immediate cashflow support they need - to do this, we must create a change to the payment culture across the UK."

Pete Lord, chief executive at Codat, added: “Developers, not bankers, are going to be the people to build the financial products we need for small businesses here in the UK.

“With BCR’s backing we’ve been able to move much quicker, to ultimately help support British SMEs – and right now, that’s never had more significance."

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