When you think of Financial Technology (Fintech) centres of excellence, the City of London, Frankfurt and even Singapore spring to mind.
Increasingly though, some of the most transformational Fintechs are being developed in far less traditional locations. None more so than Sorodo, which is based in Flintshire, North Wales.
Sorodo provides a suite of online platform-based financial services ranging from business funding to merchant cash advances and invoice factoring. And its rapid rise has a lot to do with the knowledge and expertise already embedded in the area.
“There’s a good ecosystem in Flintshire. There are a lot of Fintech companies around here,” says Sorodo co-founder Simon Moorcroft, noting that MoneySupermarket and Money Saving Expert are both based here.
Simon himself attended Wrexham’s Glyndwr University and came out with a first in computer science in 2008. His first job was with Best Companies, who do the data analysis behind the Sunday Times ‘best companies’ list.
Before long, though, he decided to embrace the start-up world – joining his brother Jamie Moorcroft and business partner Richard Wilcock in a design agency building websites for financial services firms. They quickly realised there was a gap in the market when it came to helping customers apply for loans and so pivoted from pure web design into creating their own Fintech business - ‘Quiddi’. The experience they gained in that first business would later become a key part of the rationale behind Sorodo.
“We struggled to raise finance in the early days of Quiddi. You’d apply to a bank, and then apply somewhere else and get declined and it was so time-consuming,” says Moorcroft. “The Quiddi platform already allowed individuals to fill out one application form and be matched with multiple lenders so they could pick the loan agreement or funding that they wanted. So, we thought, why not bring that model to business finance?”
After Quiddi was acquired by a venture capital firm the three partners put their own learnings into the new business – Sorodo. Today, its leading brand, Capalona, works with over 50 business finance lenders in the UK - helping small business and SME’s secure the most competitive and supportive business finance.
Applicants fill out a single online application form and the Capalona platform which accesses records from Companies House, business credit reference agencies, and open banking data in real time. The customer is presented with a results page showing best matched products. Once a lender is selected, that information is packaged and presented to the lender of choice which could be one or multiple. The applicant then receives quotes from those lenders and the customer can decide to proceed or not.
Being part of Wales’ Fintech ecosystem is a big bonus. “Back in the early days, we knew that if we hired someone from Money Supermarket, they would have the skill sets we needed to help us drive the business forward,” says Moorcroft. Today, Sorodo works with Starling Bank and Creditsafe, both of whom have offices in South Wales, while continuing to draw on the support of the North Wales Fintech scene. The company is also a member of the FinTech Wales association.
Sorodo recently recorded its best financial year to date. It continues to grow and is looking to take on staff and develop more brands to bolster the success of its platform.
Looking forward, Simon believes the Fintech sector will continue to transform financial services as businesses and individuals become aware of how Fintech “makes things a lot faster, smoother and easier for them to apply for finance in real time”.
“If we look at the business finance space five years ago it could take days and days to get a decision. Whereas now we work with lenders who can take 10 minutes and they’ve got the funding. In the business finance space, that’s unheard of,” says Moorcroft.
Co-Founder Richard Wilcock “Sorodo is one of the fast-growing Business Funding Platforms in the UK. The technology behind the platform has been a bespoke build from the ground up and has constantly evolved and improved over time. Our comparison driven results engine ensures that the customer has a level of transparency and choice - currently unmatched in the B2B finance space. As a business we are at the stage of rapid growth and development. We are keen to further expand relationships through more Funding Partners, Banks, Investors and other Fintech companies to knowledge-share and help put North Wales on the global Fintech map.”