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Wayflyer targets SVB customers with $2bn lending pledge


Wayflyer founders Aidan Corbett and Jack Pierse

Wayflyer founders Aidan Corbett and Jack Pierse

Wayflyer founders Aidan Corbett and Jack Pierse

Irish fintech Wayflyer has jumped into the gap left by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and pledged nearly $2bn (€1.88bn) in short-term working capital to digital start-ups.

The company, which provides unsecured credit to e-commerce companies in exchange for an upfront fee and a slice of sales, put out a message through its social channels this week that it was ready to “step up and support those impacted”.

“Silicon Valley Bank have played an important role in the start-up ecosystem to date,” the company said on Saturday, as the California start-up lender was negotiating a rescue for depositors with US regulators.

“Such a sudden exit has created immediate working capital challenges for many great eCommerce businesses. It is important for other financing providers in the space to step-up and support those impacted. This includes us.”

The post said Wayflyer had close to $2bn “ready to deploy”, adding that many founders had been in touch and would receive funds within days.

Co-founder Jack Pierse also put the message up on his personal LinkedIn page.

CEO Aidan Corbett put up a separate post saying Wayflyer would “continue to provide dependable support” by covering financing lines previously provided by SVB or helping customers set up new accounts with “trusted” banking partners.

A spokesperson said Wayflyer had seen an increase in demand in the last week due to the SVB situation.

Wayflyer became one of a few Irish tech unicorns in February 2022 when it raised $150m in a funding round that valued the company at $1.6bn, bringing on JP Morgan as a key shareholder.

It then went on to raise more than $550m in debt funding in two tranches from JPM and Credit Suisse, the troubled Swiss bank to top off the $76m the company raised in its first funding round in 2021.

It is understood that Wayflyer has access to $1bn in off-balance sheet funding from securitised loan receipts.

But Wayflyer’s rapid expansion did not protect the company from the problems in the tech sector brought on by the rise in interest rates, which lowered valuations and made fresh funding harder to access for cash-hungry firms.

By November, the company was laying off 40pc of its workforce after hiring for growth and opportunities that it said didn’t materialise.

The company said it is proceeding with a $200m expansion in several European countries. It has not disclosed whether it hit its target of lending $2.5bn by the end of 2022.

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