Fintech start-up wins slice of £40m funding

Joel Blake
X The Business Desk

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Birmingham fintech start-up, GFA Exchange, has been selected by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to receive funding from a designated £40m fund competition designed to boost economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

The start-up founded by local entrepreneur Joel Blake OBE, was chosen to receive up to £50,000 from over 8,600 UK applications based upon its innovative approach of using data intelligence with the latest in machine learning technology, to help financial lenders tackle the issue of access to finance for SMEs affected by COVID-19.

The competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis, while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups.

Innovate UK executive chair Dr Ian Campbell, said: “The COVID-19 situation affects not only the nation’s health but also the economy and society. Businesses from all over the UK answered our call rapidly to meet the challenges we face today and in the future through the power of innovation.”

Companies applied in April to the special fast-track competition, with funds being part of the £1.25bn coronavirus package first announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help UK businesses driving innovation and development.

Joel Blake OBE, founder and CEO of GFA Exchange, said: “Following record-breaking levels of interest from across the UK, we are proud that our business has been selected to drive forward new technological advances within financial services in these challenging times, and beyond.

“By helping lenders access deeper intelligence on businesses with less risk and cost, we will help to ensure that more SMEs receive the support that they need to achieve their own growth ambitions.”

Ewa Bloch, regional manager for Innovate UK said: “Financial services require new and innovative ways, to help SMEs access the finance they need to grow. We are absolutely delighted to be able to support GFA Exchange for their unique and inclusive use of data intelligence technology, to help financial firms respond to business finance needs at scale.”