Fluidly wins £5M in RBS competition funding to unlock AI for SMEs
News on 14th June 2019
Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR) announces latest tranche of £425M Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF) awards
CIF forms part of wider £775M RBS Alternative Remedies Package, administered by BCR
CIF is divided into four pools and Pool D aims to boost financial technology relevant to SMEs
Starling Bank, Metro Bank, ClearBank and Tide were awarded £280M in February
London, Friday 14 June: London-based fintech startup Fluidly has been awarded £5M as part of the RBS Alternative Remedies Package. The grant is one of five from Pool D of the £425M Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF) that forms part of the £775M package, which is administered by Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR).
Fluidly, which is already connected to thousands of businesses, will use the funding to accelerate the development of its AI-driven cashflow management software and give small businesses better access to emerging technology. CIF Pool D grant money aims to facilitate the commercialisation of financial technology relevant to SMEs.
Following on from its £5M Series A in November 2018 led by Nyca Partners, the £5M BCR grant will significantly boost Fluidly’s existing expansion plans, data science capabilities and product roadmap. Fluidly aims to unlock financial data for SMEs and transform how businesses manage their finances, while also bringing together the wider banking and fintech ecosystems.
As part of the various public commitments the company laid out in its BCR bid, Fluidly aims to connect 400,000 SMEs to its platform by September 2022. In particular, Fluidly will work with accountants to offer improved financial support, to help the two thirds of small business owners losing sleep over cashflow concerns. The company has committed to delivering over 20,000 hours of cashflow advisory training by September 2022.
BCR made five awards available to CIF Pool D applicants, who were also awarded £5M. The winners of other pools announced so far include Starling Bank, Metro Bank, ClearBank in partnership with Tide, Nationwide, Investec and Co-op Bank. CIF Pool C winners will be announced in August.
Caroline Plumb, CEO and Founder, Fluidly, said: “Fluidly works to help SMEs sleep better at night, by providing control, certainty and confidence around cashflow. We’re thrilled to have been awarded this £5M grant by BCR to scale our impact and support for businesses. We’re intent on building a product that helps businesses with their most pressing challenge and allow them to benefit from the transformational potential of AI.”
London-based Fluidly is building a new software category – Intelligent Cashflow – to automate the forecasting and management of finances for businesses using machine learning. Cashflow is the single biggest pain point for businesses and forecasting is the key to financial decision-making. Fluidly uses data to predict and optimise the financial future for SMEs. Fluidly has been named one of 2018’s ‘Hot 10’ European Fintechs by the Fintech50, was listed in WIRED’s Top 100 Hottest European startups and won “Innovation of the Year” and “Forecasting, Planning & Analysis Software of the Year” in the Accounting Excellence awards.
Fluidly has built a team of financial professionals, engineers and data scientists with previous experience at Entrepreneur First, Sage, Tandem and MarketInvoice. The team is led by Caroline Plumb, who previously co-founded recruiting and consulting business FreshMinds. Caroline is a former Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador and received an OBE in the 2016 Birthday Honours list.
About the Alternative Remedies Package
In 2009, the European Commission approved a number of state aid measures granted to The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (“RBS”). This approval was given on the basis of a restructuring plan submitted by RBS and a number of commitments given by the UK Government in 2009 and subsequently amended in 2014, including the divestment of a part of RBS’ branch-based retail and small and medium-sized enterprise (“SME”) business, which later became known as ‘Williams and Glyn’ (the “Divestment”).
As a result of considerable challenges in achieving the Divestment, the UK Government proposed substituting the 2014 commitments with a revised package of measures with the aim of achieving the objective of promoting competition in the market for banking services to SMEs that lay behind the Divestment. The Alternative Remedies Package was agreed in principle in July 2017 and formally approved by the European Commission on 18 September 2017.
The package consists of two elements:
£425m Capability & Innovation Fund to provide grants to Eligible Bodies to help them improve their banking capabilities for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises; and
Up to £275m for an Incentivised Switching Scheme to provide funding to Eligible Bodies, in order to incentivise RBS’ Williams and Glyn SME banking customers to switch their business current accounts to the Eligible Bodies.