Praetura builds new tech platform to double deal flow
Finance business Praetura Group has created a custom-built tech platform to give businesses faster access to lending.
The Praeview (pronounced ‘preview’) platform will link broker partners to businesses looking to raise funds and will remove one of the largest blockages to finance decisions and double Praetura’s total capacity for the number of businesses it can support in the next 12 months.
The tech was built in-house at Praetura by the company’s head of technology Ruta Makunaite, who accessed over 25 years of SME lending data and expertise from the five Praetura lending businesses.
With two degrees from Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania – the largest technological university in the Baltics – Makunaite joined Praetura in 2020 from ecommerce business Sorted Group, where she was head of strategy. Praetura invested in Sorted in 2019.
She said the current debate around AI and robots replacing people doesn’t apply here.
“With Praeview, our mission is to empower the people tasked with lending decisions and monitoring risk rather than replacing them, which is what the narrative around tech solutions is focused on in a lot of instances right now.
“Our team have been almost solely dedicated to this project for the last two years. We’ve worked with a number of development partners and internal teams to create a completely new kind of platform in specialist finance. We’ve used over 25 years of data and expertise from the team to work in tandem with them to make something fit for purpose. It’s been a real passion project and we’re excited to keep building! It’s all about creating something that helps SMEs get access to finance faster and with greater certainty through more efficient risk decision making.”
Designed to deliver quicker and more accurate lending decisions at scale, Praeview claims to be the first tech platform of its kind in the UK alternative finance industry, with no other lender developing a bespoke platform with a comparable level of technical capability combined with significant first party data.
In the initial months of testing, the platform has enabled SME clients to access funding more than four times faster, and by integrating with its broker partners, the Praetura team can offer greater oversight and certainty of funding throughout the application process.
She told TheBusinessDesk.com that Praeview takes an innovative approach and that the team devoted a lot of time and effort designing the best ways to present vast amounts of information to help lenders to make fast, yet nuanced and prudent lending decisions. “This means our risk experts can focus on the core decision making process, not retrieving data. The platform empowers them to make better decisions faster and hence increase their capacity. And while we’re constantly learning and improving, and even though we’re using much more information than before Praeview, we’ve sped up our decisions over 4 times.
“Our partners, who have already been benefiting from us making faster decisions, and therefore providing faster access to funds for SMEs, can also connect to Praeview API, which they can use to submit, track, and manage lending applications directly from their systems, thus saving even more time and eliminating process friction.
“After a decisions been made, we are able to monitor the portfolio in a more proactive way to reduce potential risks moving forward by aggregating information from our sources. Over the next 12 months, we will now continue to expand the platforms functionality whilst also refining its uses.”
The development of the platform is a big move for the North West-based debt and equity capital provider which was formed in 2011 by David Foreman, Mike Fletcher and Peadar O’Reilly. The business now employs more than 150 people across the North West.
Praetura grew its lending division with the acquisition of Chester-based Zodeq in 2022, a specialist lender to recruiters.
Peadar O’Reilly, chief executive the Praetura Lending Division said the platform sets a new standard within the finance sector and in a bid a drive to speed up lending decisions.
“We have always taken an entrepreneurial approach to lending by putting SMEs first and making funding available quicker than other lenders. The challenge, however, is balancing this with risk assessments and the checks and balances we need to carry out.
“We’re now able to lend and make lending decisions faster than ever before thanks to Praeview. We’re aiming to create a new standard within the finance sector that will complement the essential work that banks, underwriters and brokers do.”