Thursday 27 July 2017

Aztec Exchange raises €3.5m in funding ahead of new product launch

Aztec Exchange operates an online marketplace that allows finance providers to bid for companies' unpaid invoices
Aztec Exchange operates an online marketplace that allows finance providers to bid for companies' unpaid invoices
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Dublin-based peer-to-peer lender Aztec Exchange has raised €3.5m in funding, according to documents newly filed at the Companies Registration Office.

The cash injection came from Singapore-based Maya Capital Pte, the documents show.

An Aztec spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on investments but added that it is finalising launch preparations for a new product set to hit the market in two months.

The company operates an online marketplace that allows finance providers to bid for companies' unpaid invoices.

Aztec, based in Dublin's International Financial Services Centre, receives a fee for each successful transaction.

It supports businesses in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia.

The need to make alternatives to traditional bank finance available to Irish businesses has been widely acknowledged.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) said earlier this month that access to credit "continues to be a pivotal issue for SMEs in this country".

Last year, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) - managed by the NTMA - unveiled plans for a scheme called the Platform Investment Fund (PIF), which would invest in loans generated by "next generation platforms" (NGPs) like peer-to-peer lenders.

Aside from Aztec Exchange, peer-to-peer platforms in operation here include Grid Finance and Linked Finance.

"The potential for such emerging NGPs to be used as a new channel to facilitate the extension of credit to the SME sector in Ireland is recognised," an ISIF document circulated last year and seen by this newspaper states.

The plan envisaged that a vehicle known as the Platform Investment Fund (PIF) would be set up.

"The strategy is to develop a PIF that starts relatively small (as low as circa €10m initially) but has the capacity to scale up significantly (potentially to €100m-€200m) over a relatively short period of time," the document said.

"ISIF funding could be made available to such a fund on a commercial basis."

Guernsey-based GLI Finance was to be appointed as manager of the fund, but the plan hit a snag when negotiations broke down over terms, the Sunday Independent reported earlier this year.

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