Liberis raises £32 million to accelerate ambitious growth plans in US and Europe

Rob Straathof

Jan 2020

Liberis to support thousands more small businesses with the finance they need to thrive.

Liberis, the fintech on a mission to reshape small business finance for good, has successfully closed a £32 million funding round in in its largest equity capital fundraise to date. This investment represents the company’s first institutional equity fundraise and was led by FTV Capital – a growth equity firm with a successful track record of supporting high-growth financial services and technology companies. Liberis is backed by Blenheim Chalcot, the UK’s leading digital venture builder, who welcome FTV as co-investors in Liberis. This investment brings Liberis’ total debt and equity funding to over £150 million.

Since its inception, Liberis has provided over 15,000 small businesses with more than £450 million in funding of which the majority through its innovative Funding-as-a-Service platform with integrated partners. Liberis’ strategic partners, which include amongst others four of the world’s largest merchant acquirers, currently white-label its finance platform to offer funding to their own small business customers.

The last 18 months have seen rapid global growth for Liberis with expansion into five new countries including the UK, US, Sweden, Czech Republic, Slovak and Finland.  This new investment will support the business as it further expands its footprint in the United States and in two new European countries, as well as attracting the best talent with a 30 percent increase in headcount planned for the next year. The investment will also enable the company to scale globally at pace through its unique partnerships model to support the millions of small businesses who have difficulty in accessing the funding they need to thrive.

Rob Straathof, CEO, Liberis, commented: ‘Small businesses are the lifeblood of the global economy, yet they continue to be turned away by banks and traditional lenders or faced with unhelpful repayment terms and complex processes. We are delighted with this investment from FTV Capital as it means we can continue to onboard new partners, expand our product range and grow our team in order to serve the 50 million small businesses across the US, Europe and the UK with much needed funding.  2020 is set to be an exciting year for Liberis and this financial investment will help to accelerate our plans so we can support thousands more small businesses around the world with fast, flexible and fair funding.’

Jerome Hershey, Senior Investment Advisor at FTV Capital, said: ‘FTV believes the convergence of payment processing and small business funding presents a massive investment opportunity. Liberis’ differentiated distribution model offers a compelling value proposition for both its strategic partners and small business customers. To support a significant growth trajectory as it expands internationally across Europe and in the United States, Liberis can now leverage our Global Partner Network®, a group of leading finance and payments enterprises that have helped FTV portfolio companies for two decades. We are thrilled to be working with the company’s strong management team, and existing investors, to help them execute their vision.’

Manoj Badale, Founder at Blenheim Chalcot said:Rob and the Liberis team have built a great business with some of the world’s largest payment providers as strategic partners, and we are delighted to welcome FTV as co-investors. We look forward to working closely with them as we continue to expand its partnerships base and grow Liberis globally.’

To strengthen its global operations, Liberis has recently appointed General Managers for both the US and Europe. Howard Kramen joins as General Manager for the US, having previously led PayPal’s global credit operations. Kramen played an instrumental role in lending over $10 billion to over 225,000 small businesses across the US, UK, Australia and Germany. Meanwhile Pedram Tadayon joins as Europe General Manager and brings 20 years financial services industry experience to Liberis, having previously been CEO of Emric – a fintech provider in credit management, along with senior positions held at Nets, EnterCard and American Express.

Liberis also welcomes Jerome Hershey from FTV onto its Board. Having led OnDeck’s IPO as the Company’s Head of Business and Corporate Development, and with investing roles at Spectrum Equity and Technology Crossover Ventures, Jerome brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Liberis and will support the organisation as it continues to grow its presence in the United States.