Meet Ann Juliano, CEO & Founder at SME Finance Provider: Muse Finance

Muse exists to give small and growing businesses the support they need to flourish – whether that be through accurate and timely business finance, or through connecting them with like minded business leaders to grow their network. We also think it’s time we changed the perception of what small business finance should look like.

These days, the most common form of finance for small businesses is either through a company credit card, or the business overdraft. Alternatively, if you’re after a significant business loan you’ll be required to pass various affordability checks, or have a minimum turnover – which can often be out of reach for smaller businesses with fluctuating cash flows.

Through our core products, Invoice Finance and Supply Finance, we give SMEs another option when it comes to growing their business – without the need to take on additional debt. Invoice Financing, for example, allows our customers to release money from outstanding customer invoices and receive cash within as little as 24 hours. For businesses that may have previously struggled to get access to finance, this is a gamechanger in terms of managing their cash flow, and their ability to take on more business.
 
 
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How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
After working for nearly 20 years at service-driven investment firms Fortress, Moodys and Credit Suisse, I was frustrated to experience such a disparity in service when I was starting my own business. From poor access to funds, to a lack of cash flow visibility, I soon realised if I was feeling this way then other small business owners must be too. This is what led me to build Muse.

Compared to their larger-sized counterparts, small business owners are regularly having to deal with cash flow gaps, chasing invoice payments and untangling complex financial reports. Small businesses account for over 99% of businesses in the UK and are a key driver for our economy, yet are still treated differently and not receiving the level of service they deserve. This has led to an approximate £56bn funding gap existing as smaller businesses have struggled to gain access to finance.

At Muse, we want to change this by designing financial solutions that cater to the specific needs of small business owners. Because we believe it’s about time financial services treats smaller businesses with the respect they deserve – providing solutions that offer them control, help them grow, and don’t leave them dependent on an overdraft.
 

 

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

 
Since our launch in 2018, we’ve already grown our team to include 17 employees, with our headquarters centred in Victoria, London. Most recently, we’ve also expanded our senior team to include Tarek AbdelKader, Muse’s new CTO, and Darren Ross, who has joined as our new Head of Embedded Risk.

With regards to work with our customers, there has also (understandably) been a surge in the number of small businesses seeking our support as they emerge from the back end of the pandemic. With other factors such as Brexit, and the ongoing situation in Ukraine presenting further challenges to businesses, we’re closely working with founders to secure their cash flows and support them through unprecedented times.
 

What can we hope to see from Muse in the future?

 
In the immediate term, our future plans are mostly centered around expanding our product offering, growing our team and customer base. Beyond this, we’re actively looking at opportunities for expansion to bring Muse to small businesses in other parts of the world.