Funding Options and Experian partnering to bid for backing to help small businesses

9 May 2019

  • Europe’s leading online business finance marketplace partners with Experian to bid for Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) Capability and Innovation fund to launch a cash flow management tool.
  • The tool – ‘Totem’ – will enable business owners to gain control of their finances and have a 360-degree view of their current, past and future financial situation.
  • Small businesses are the backbone of economy, yet nearly half admit they regularly worry if the business has enough cash to keep going.

Funding Options, together with Experian, is to bid for the BCR Capability and Innovation fund, part of the RBS Alternative Remedies Package1 designed to improve the financial products and services available to small businesses.

Funding Options has partnered with Runpath, a part of Experian, to develop a cash flow management tool that will allow small business to get on top of VAT bills, manage invoices, check their credit report and score, and identify any upcoming dips in cash flow. This comes as new research from Funding Options finds nearly half (44%) of small businesses worry if the business has enough cash to keep going and a third (33%) have previously found themselves in financial difficulty.

Cash flow – and a lack of oversight of it – can have major implications for a small business with 72% saying that a loss of income is the biggest threat to the stability of their business. Half (51%) say they want help to take more control over their business finances.

Together, Funding Options and Experian will be applying for a share of the Capability and Innovation fund to support the 5.7 million small businesses in the UK to take better control of their finances. With 600,000 new companies started between March 2017-March 20182, there are many start-up businesses with a short credit history that would benefit from this type of support. The tool, called ‘Totem’, will be available for free and builds on Funding Option’s winning entry for the Open Up Challenge – a prize backed by the Competition and Markets Authority and run independently by Nesta Challenges. In its award entry, Funding Options showed how Open Banking data could help small businesses to manage their future cash flow challenges.

Totem will use Open Banking and Management Account data to provide small business owners with a much clearer picture of their financial situation, identifying any upcoming pinch-points in their cash flow and allowing them to address dips in income before they become an issue. It aims to resolve the three main issues all businesses face: money management, accessing finance and scaling the business successfully. If successful, the funding will allow Funding Options to bring Totem to market much sooner and to reach even more small business owners.

Ryan Edwards-Pritchard, Managing Director at Funding Options, comments:

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and yet the financial products and services that are available to them are far behind those that are available to consumers. For too long, small business owners have been undervalued and underserved. Open Banking is a crucial step in changing this and giving small business owners more control of their finances. We want to offer products and services that help small business owners walk tall, allowing them to manage their day-to-day activities with the confidence that comes from foresight and planning.” 

Matt Dunn, B2B GTM Managing Director at Experian, said: 

“Cash flow is a crucial issue for SMEs – it can hamper their growth, and all too often put them out of business. Working with Funding Options, we’re creating a tool using Open Banking and Management Account data which will put directors in control of their financial information.

“It is a striking example of how new financial services technology can provide new solutions for businesses, allowing them to make better decisions which will benefit both them and their customers. We are delighted to have partnered with Funding Options and look forward to seeing the outcome of our application.”


Methodology: Between 10 and 15 April 2019, Opinium, on behalf of Funding Options, interviewed 500 people of middle management level and above within SMEs.

  1. 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 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’s Williams and Glyn SME banking customers to switch their business current accounts to the Eligible Bodies.


  1. Companies House data: