The cash flow management problem is the second biggest reason why start-ups fail. Moreover, the survey by Department for Business and Innovation has found out that it is a top obstacle to the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.1 Some entrepreneurs see solutions in every problem, and that’s how the Cubefunder, a short-term business loan provider, was founded. Read the story of a UK-based Cubefunder and learn how they are helping small British businesses to grow!
How it all began
Cubefunder was founded in early 2017 by Gary Miller-Cheevers. Previously, Mr. Miller-Cheevers owned a number of businesses over many years. He experienced on his own skin all the hardship the small businesses are going through. He remembers the times when he did not know how he was going to meet the staff wages or pay rent on time. Which was possible if the money from the current contract was paid late. This is the basic cashflow worries that most small business owners struggle with as they try to grow their business.
The only options were to go to the bank and explain that he needed a loan of £10,000 for a couple of months. The bank needed weeks to consider the request. Another option was to go to the customer and try to get them to pay ‘early’. That was just bad for business because clients thought that the business was not financially strong.
The problems Garry experienced weren’t unique and only his. This became common issues in the business environment of small and even medium-sized companies. That was a point of realization that there is an actual niche in the market. Despite the UK being a front-runner in financial services and a headquarters of many respectable banks, they are overlooking the smaller businesses. So, Garry decided to sell his existing businesses and invest the money in new lending venture with the help of two business partners. Now, Cubefunder employs 15 people, who are as passionate, as the founder to serve small enterprises and add value to UK business growth.
The origin of the brand name has an intriguing background. It is coming from the phrase “square deal”, Americanism from the late 19th century, meaning honest deal or arrangement often used by President Theodore Roosevelt in his domestic program. It is clear why the founder was inspired by this idiom- because the mission of Cubefunder is to bring a fair, quick and convenient lending solution for businesses.
Gary Miller-Cheevers has held FSA (now FCA) personal authorization since 2004, and is authorized as a CF1 and managed the successful FCA Authorization process for Cubefunder. Now, Cubefunder a UK-based company needs to raise additional cash-flow on Grupeer platform to expand its operations.
The mission of Cubefunder was clear-to provide day to day finance for small business owners using a combination of a traditional understanding of business and cutting-edge data analysis. The solution was to create process and screening models that would make the right decision, without a loss of a personal human touch.
From the moment of filling the application until the final decision passes less than 12 hours. Usually, the application is submitted online through Emerald operating software. In fifteen minutes, customer services team talks to the business owner to establish the need and to confirm the authority to make bank and credit checks. Checks are then run using their online tools. During the same day also happen committee meetings for final risk assessment and the final decision. The next day the client can accept or rejects the terms, also the office visit is completed.
In order to survive for the non-banking lending companies, it is important to maintain prudent approval of new clients. At Cubefunder the rejection rate is high-90%. Majority of applications don’t pass the initial Customer Services assessment. Then, a quarter is rejected after banking and credit checks and finally, the risk assessment team filters the left candidates.
Who are the clients?
The target audience is businesses with up to £2m turnover and less than 20 employees. Businesses usually owned and run by the same person or persons. Typical clients are entrepreneurs, who actually worked hard to establish and run their own business. These businesses are coming from different economic sectors- restaurants, small hotels, shops, building services, small manufacturers. Over 60% of customers are returning. Which is great for growth, as repeated clients are less risky and reliable, plus they can ask for a bigger loan second time.
What is the secret to their success? Well, it’s the “the right blend of online speed and face-to-face understanding of the customer’s business”, say satisfied customers. By the end of 2nd quarter of 2019, the total loan portfolio was £4.6m, while the revenue £225,000 per month and growing.
Cubefunder offers business loans from £5,000 to £100,000 (up to £250,000 for existing established customers). Loan terms of 6 months to 2 years (3 & 4 years available for larger loans to existing established customers). The average new loan is £20,000 and most frequent purpose is to buy stock or pay a tax bill.
The rates are in line with competitors’ levels, however, one of their USPs is that a customer can pay out the loan faster than agreed with no penalty, or early-repayment fees. This is a great option for small & medium-sized businesses since they are dependent on the payment of their receipts by their customers. Cubefunder will charge interest only for the period that the money was used, as they don’t have a problem to re-lend to other customers.
The goal for Cubefunder is to build the loan book steadily with an eye on quality rather than just chasing volume. More importantly, is to keep investing time to build and empower the management team. The aim is to stay local and focus on its strong sides. We believe that our customers will find these loan listings attractive addition to their portfolio to reduce diversification with no currency risks!