Intesa Sanpaolo’s corporate venture capital fund Neva Finventures has acquired a stake in the UK-based fintech iwoca, which specializes in financing small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The Italian lender said that the rationale behind the investment is to set up a new system to offer financing to small customers with turnover of up to €5m.
Iwoca claims to be offering flexible credit structure to over hundreds of thousands of SMEs. It uses a fuly digital platform, which is made available in the UK, Poland and Germany.
The company uses a technology that pools customer information, allows for quick approval of loans of up to €100,000. Iwoca was founded in 2012 and since then, it is claimed to have struck more than 25,000 deals.
With its fast loan approval process, the company has now become one of the major fintech startups offering credit to SMEs in Europe.
Details about the percentage of the stake acquired or the consideration paid by Intesa were not disclosed.
Intesa Sanpaolo Group chief innovation officer Maurizio Montagnese said: "Investing in iwoca is of strategic importance to us in that it strengthens the Intesa Sanpaolo Group's position in the area of new business models, and specifically of highly innovative digital financial services.
“The industrial synergies between iwoca and Intesa Sanpaolo could be significant in the coming years and will allow the Intesa Sanpaolo Group to enter segments of the market not served by other banks."
Before expanding iwoca’s technology to other geographies such as the Italian market, it will be tested on customers in Central Eastern Europe, according to Intesa Sanpaolo.
Image: Intesa’s venture capital division acquires stake in iwoca. Photo: Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.