In 2015, when Charlotte and Andrew Petris launched the young startup Timelio, fintech was hardly a word. Certainly no one had heard of COVID-19 or the accelerated digital revolution that would accompany it.
But six years later, CEO Charlotte Petris is at the forefront of the bill financing boom caused by the pandemic.
After securing a $ 270 million warehouse debt facility, with Goldman Sachs as the primary lender, Petris is now preparing Timelio for his next phase of monumental growth.
The facility, which also includes investors from the existing Timelio Capital Fund, marks an important start-up milestone, as well as a change of direction.
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Timelio began life as a marketplace for invoice financing, connecting companies with investors to help increase cash flow while they waited for payments from their own customers.
Running a marketplace requires constant juggling between the company and the investor, explains Petris. The balance is never quite perfect.
The shift from one side to a finance warehouse means fintech can lend to more companies than ever before, and in larger volumes.
This funding is “the key to unlocking our growth and future ambitions,” opening a new phase in the company’s evolution, says Petris.
“But to get there, especially with someone like Goldmans, you need that six-year track record.”
Timelio had the proven risk models, processes and maturity, says Petris, and he is now poised to âaggressivelyâ accelerate his growth.
“We wouldn’t even have thought of that at first.”
Growth during COVID-19
To date, Timelio has provided $ 1.5 billion in financing to business owners. The average loan size is $ 1 million, up from $ 250,000 in 2017.
In the past six months alone, demand has grown 15% month-over-month, and the startup is acquiring twice as many new customers each month as before COVID.
Since the start of the pandemic, Petris has noticed an increase in demand from rapidly changing consumer goods markets, particularly in the beauty, personal products, and food and beverage sectors.
This reflects consumer behavior and where people are spending. But it is also indicative of innovation in these sectors and the growth of companies.
At the same time, these industries have been affected by supply chain delays and other disruptions related to COVID-19, resulting in additional financing needs.
A sector that adapts
Timelio is not the only fintech to fill the cash flow gaps of SMEs. Existing cash flow problems were only exacerbated by COVID-19, and more solution providers have emerged to meet the growing demand.
Earlier this year, invoice financing startup Butn integrated into the MYOB ecosystem, while Commonwealth Bank reintroduced invoice financing through a partnership with fintech Waddle.
Square has also launched its own small business loan product and Zip offers lines of credit up to $ 150,000.
The space has changed dramatically since Timelio entered the market. Back then, âfintechâ was a new buzzword, Petris recalls, and there were only a few dozen companies âinnovatingâ and innovating in financial services.
âIn five or six years, the scale of what fintech is has changed dramatically,â she notes.
In March 2020, the pace of change accelerated further, as entire industries went online and innovations in areas such as legal technologies and payment processes made it easier to use loan products. fintech for businesses.
Small business owners also trust digital finance providers more, suggests Petris.
In the area of ââalternative finance in particular, she has noticed a change in attitude towards technology products.
Just as consumers have become more comfortable buying online and using alternative payment platforms, for example, business owners are realizing the options available to them if they are turned down by their bank. .
Trust at the heart of fintech
Confidence has been the key to Timelio’s success so far, says Petris.
The startup still works with companies that have been around since day one in 2015 – companies that have grown and forced Timelio to grow with them in order to meet their needs.
For any business, growth comes with hurdles down the road, Petris thinks, but in fintech, it’s trust that will keep customers on board throughout.
âConfidence is what underpins everything you offer. “
When your customers are small businesses, the products you offer can really be the difference between survival and closure.
âIf you’re genuine and really do the best you can for your client, and they trust you and you respect and trust them, that’s what some traditional financial products are missing. “