Curve bids for £10 million BCR grant to revolutionise SME financing

Curve today outlined its plans to revolutionise financing for UK SMEs with two innovative new products. Curve, the banking platform that consolidates multiple cards and accounts into one smart card and app, has bid for a £10 million grant from the BCR Capability and Innovation Fund to support development. If the grant is approved, Curve will match the funding with its own cash.

Curve Cast and Curve Credit-SME will use the power of fintech innovation to offer a lifeline to SMEs fighting to prosper amid the COVID-19 crisis. The new products mean:
• Curve Cast will end the problem SMEs face when their banks only provide a single physical card. Curve Cast will allow employers to share access to their company card with staff, without sharing any sensitive information like the card number, and subject to appropriate spending limits and controls, with full visibility of the activity on that card.
• Curve Credit-SME will ensure short term cash needs can be met via the most cost- effective financing available. Expenses charged to any company credit or debit card, or an overdraft, will prompt an automated notification on accessing the best available financing. It will mean urgent spending can be retrospectively financed via short term loans instead of emergency credit.

Both products leverage Curve’s unique ability to manage a set of accounts and its proprietary technology to tackle some of the biggest problems faced by SMEs: The high cost of payments and expense management, payments fraud, the challenge of accessing working capital and the inflexibility of short-term credit.

These problems are particularly acute for microbusinesses and sole traders, which despite their small individual size represent 96% of all SMEs, 33% of all private-sector employment and 22% of turnover. SMEs in this category are estimated to spend £9.3 billion on expense processing annually, while fraud costs them around £4.2 billion. Today’s announcement comes against a backdrop where many small businesses have struggled to access government support during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Curve CEO Shachar Bialick said: “We have supercharged banking for consumers and now we want to bring the power of fintech transformation to small businesses. “Curve Cast and Curve Credit-SME take the best of Curve’s unique tools for managing money and apply them to the biggest challenges faced by British entrepreneurs. Small firms are a collective powerhouse and deserve the best solutions available. “Money can work better for everyone and we’re leading the revolution.”

Curve COO Nathalie Oestmann added: “This BCR grant would mean 75 new full-time jobs, a quarter of which will be outside London, and more than 20 of which will be for people at the start of their careers.“If we are successful in our application, we are determined to work closely with SMEs to maximise the opportunities and create customer-focused products that best serve the needs of business in these challenging times.”

If funded by the £10 million BCR grant and Curve’s match funding, the new products would be expected to launch in 2021. Pool E of the BCR Capability and Innovation Fund is designed to foster new services that can better serve the needs of SMEs in the UK. Curve submitted a full business case for the proposed new services as part of its grant application.

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Curve Nathalie Oestmann Shachar Bialick

Author: Lauren Towner

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