Interview with Simon Cureton, CEO of Funding Options

We caught up with Simon Cureton, CEO of Funding Options, to talk all things from the most compelling part of working in the fintech sector, to his advice for navigating a small business during COVID-19…

Tell us about Funding Options

Funding Options is a marketplace for business finance. We help businesses across the UK and Netherlands find the funding that’s most appropriate for their individual situation. We’re delivering hundreds of millions of pounds in vital finance to thousands of businesses every year, which is achieved through partnerships with over 200 lenders.

Whether a company is seeking growth, paying off a bill, investing in new equipment or premises, it’s important that our technology empowers business owners to conduct a search in line with their financial needs. This process is done at unparalleled speed, as we recognise that time is of the essence for independent businesses.

Our goal is to deliver the infrastructure that unites the UK SME finance ecosystem, making all parties feel connected while simplifying life for SMEs to shop around for the best finance option which suits them and their business.


What’s the most compelling part of operating a business within the fintech sector?

I was compelled to join Funding Options because I wanted to be part of the senior team at an organisation that is making a real difference to SMEs, which are the lifeblood of every economy.

As a fintech scaleup, the variety of challenges and priorities the team faces on a daily basis, allied to the sheer pace of change, is incredible. Although it can be daunting at times, as CEO the feeling of being in control of a business of this nature is quite addictive and I often reflect on what a privilege it is to have that opportunity, as well as to work with such talented, fantastic people on a daily basis.

Funding Options is focused on pushing the boundaries of technology and data science to deliver the leading platform proposition for SMEs, giving them access to a marketplace through which they can apply for finance from a broad range of alternative finance providers.


Can you talk about the challenges small businesses are facing in this current climate and advice you’d offer them?

The fundamental challenge for SMEs is understanding their funding options and where to locate them. There are so many lenders out there, from the big banks and neos to challengers and altfi providers. This is where Funding Options comes in. If an SME is time-strapped as they often are, we have experienced business finance specialists, cutting-edge technology and access to the best lender panel in the market – all harnessed in digital form.

Back in mid-March at the start of the pandemic, we tracked £101,937,336m in loan applications over the course of 48 hours from 1,884 independent businesses. This was a record amount.
In the months since, we’ve seen the government introduce schemes to build on the existing financial aid the fintech sector was providing.

Nevertheless, these are uncertain times. We’re constantly on the edge of our seats awaiting a second wave or lockdown, so my advice would be to prepare. Think back to what issues you faced when the first lockdown was enforced and try to be ready in advance, rather than waiting for the news to reveal the worst. You can never be too vigilant where business performance and finances are concerned – especially in this climate.

What can we hope to see from Funding Options in the future?

Without giving away too much, Funding Options is working on some extremely exciting innovations that we believe will revolutionise the SME finance sector in the UK.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown, we have doubled down on our technology, data and product initiatives to ensure we would be in a position to come out of lockdown in a far stronger position as a business than when we entered into it. I am pleased to say we have achieved this and I am incredibly excited to be launching our initiatives publicly soon.

You can rest assured that we won’t be resting on our laurels at that point. Our delivery roadmap is full and we remain absolutely committed to supporting SMEs in every way we can to help them succeed during what is still a very stressful time for business owners.


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