October was born after the previous financial crisis with the aim of giving more financing options to European SMEs. We didn’t think we would go through a pandemic but we knew the future would be digital. I know we have said this many times but, today more than ever, October is part of the solution.
Today we have closed the financing for our 100th Spanish company. 100 may seem like a small number, but in the 3 years it has taken us to get to 100, we have lived a lot. When October, formerly Lendix, landed in Spain we knew that we were entering a highly bancarized market. We knew that it would be a challenge to change the habits of borrowers. When we began to operate, we explained to our clients that we were a crowdlending platform, where 22,000 investors would lend to their projects, but at first they were reluctant. They had a bit of Stockholm syndrome, they did not want their project to be published, they were concerned of what their banks would say, and the possible repercussions with them… To overcome these resistances to change, we had to build trust being transparent for all the participants and stakeholders. We explained that they didn’t need to physically go to our offices or bring 200 papers to analyze their projects and that they could make the request in 3 minutes directly on the web, some didn’t believe it. More than one borrower asked us to come to our offices just to meet us.
However, in this period, we have seen a change in the behaviour of Spanish companies, driven in part by changes in the market: large mergers and acquisitions, such as that of Banco Popular, the digitalisation of the financial sector driven by fintechs and an unprecedented pandemic. Today, entrepreneurs are aware of the strengths and benefits of diversifying their sources of financing beyond their traditional banks. They know that publishing your project is a sign of growth and an opportunity to make their business known to a large European community of lenders. They do not conceive that their financial partners do not have a digital solution for them. After all, if you can book a hotel with your phone, why can’t you finance your business in a few clicks?
Today, entrepreneurs are not only willing, they are demanding a digital remote process, saving time and efforts, reducing their frustrations and increasing the predictability of obtaining the financing they need.
Today, entrepreneurs want to adapt to this new environment, catching all opportunities to reposition their offer to customers as well as their production’s lines, to acquire new businesses and to enter new markets…
So what happens now? With the current economy, how will October cope with the situation? Today I am rescuing our original tagline: “Together, let’s give credit to SMEs” because that little piece of our past is more than ever October’s future.
In the midst of this pandemic crisis, the term “Together” is stronger than ever: private investors who want to participate in the real economy; institutional investors who are in need of yield diversifying their asset allocation; financial institutions that want to truly digitize their credit process and to offer a positive customer experience; supranational, national and regional institutions who are launching programs support SMEs in the crisis.
We are a technological company, offering digital solutions to SMEs, empowering businesses to thrive by simplifying and democratizing their financing. We are going to continue investing to create a technological product that offers the best possible customer experience. We believe in the power of collaboration to achieve our mission. In Spain, we already collaborate with Bankia and Liberbank and since February we have the support of ICO; and we are going to continue working to get the support of more Spanish and European institutions as well as to create alliances and partnerships with players to further enhance the reach to help SMEs to grow.
Do you want to know what we are going to do now? That’s simple. We are going to continue making the experience of financing faster and easier for Spanish SMEs to grow again.