Atlanta-based small business lender Kabbage is snapping up bank deals in Europe.
“Kabbage’s business growth throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa has been exponential over the last several months,” Kathryn Petralia, COO of Kabbage, told Bank Innovation.
The Santander deal will allow SMEs in the United Kingdom access to working capital loans of up to $100,000. Nearly 5 million Santander UK business customers qualify for the loans.
Kabbage raised a $135-million Series E round in October that was led by Santander Innoventures, so the bank’s selection of Kabbage over, say, UK-based Funding Circle, should not be surprising. The October funding raised Kabbage’s credit facility to $900 million, the company noted at the time. “Santander UK has been investing heavily in growing its SMB proposition over the last couple of years,” Petralia added.
For Funding Circle’s part, it is expending energy on its expansion into continental Europe, according to Albert Periu, global head of capital markets for Funding Circle, which also has a large San Francisco office for its operations in North America. “It’s a massive market,” Periu said of Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, “and we haven’t seen many formidable competitors.”
Funding Circle is also in the process of securitizing its UK loans to raise additional capital, Periu said.
SMBs make up 99% of the private sector in the UK, Petralia said, and it can take these companies up to 12 weeks to secure a loan and receive funds through traditional channels. With Kabbage, that time is down to minutes, Petralia said. The loan platform provided by Kabbage also yields analytics offering greater insight into the health of customers’ business.
Santander, one of the world’s largest banks, is building a fintech-friendly reputation with its venture activities, hackathons, and growing presence in the global centers of innovation such as Silicon Valley, London, and Tel Aviv. “Santander supports fintech companies with growth finance and industry expertise,” Petralia said. “Kabbage is a great example of where this approach is working well.”