BankiFi secures £2.2m in Praetura Ventures led funding round

Mark Hartley - Bankifi

Mark Hartley

BankiFi, a fintech business specialising in payment processing and financial administration services for SMEs, has secured a £2.2m investment in a funding round led by Praetura Ventures, with participation from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

Headquartered in Manchester, BankiFi was founded to help financial institutions better serve small and medium-sized businesses. Mark Hartley, Founder and CEO at BankiFi, said: “SMEs and early-stage innovators are a vital pillar of our economy and will play an important role in UK’s post-pandemic recovery, but many continue to be hampered by inadequate banking services.

“BankiFi want to change that by putting banks at the heart of businesses’ day-to-day needs. Before the pandemic, invoice cycles took a month on average, meaning most businesses didn’t get paid for their services or products for more than 50 days. That delay has now increased to more than 70 days, putting immense pressure on the cashflow of many SMEs.”

McKinsey estimate that around 74% of an SME’s time is spent on ‘non-core activities’, including time-consuming administrative tasks. Compounding this, late payments owed to individual SMEs stand at more than £6,000 on average, according to research from the Federation of Small Businesses.

“The good news is that banks are beginning to see the sizeable opportunity to tap into this under-served market. Our software allows them to offer advanced services to SMEs, and we’re seeing a real uptick in demand for our products as banks look to compete in this space. The Praetura Ventures team has deep sector insight with a track record of scaling fintech businesses, which we believe will be crucial in helping us grow our business.”

The business was founded in 2017 by Mark Hartley. He previously scaled payments technology provider Clear2Pay, which was sold to FIS for circa €375m in 2014. BankiFi’s CFO is Chris Fry, who was previously a partner at KPMG.

The £1.5m investment by Manchester-based Praetura Ventures, the VC fund that targets early-stage businesses in high-growth sectors, is joined by an additional £700k from GMCA. This new funding will allow BankiFi to expand its product and service offering, grow its client base and target new domestic and overseas markets.

David Foreman, Managing Director at Praetura Ventures, said: “The UK is Europe’s established leader in FinTech, and the sector will play an important role in future of the UK economy. The global market is forecast to almost triple in size to £380bn by 2030, so there’s a clear opportunity for innovative businesses like BankiFi to scale up. It’s such an exciting sector that we’re always looking to invest in.”

“Since we first met Bankifi, we’ve been so impressed with the founding team’s passion, knowledge and track history in Fintech. Their focus on growing the business in the North of England and delivering something revolutionary to the region dovetails perfectly with our own mission.”

Councillor David Molyneux, GMCA lead for investment and resources, said: “We are delighted to be investing in BankiFi. This investment will boost the services BankiFi is already providing and assist in achieving its ambitious global ambitions. COVID-19 has amplified the importance of helping micro and small businesses reduce time spent on administration rather than doing the job, and BankiFi’s products will be invaluable for fulfilling the post-pandemic opportunities for businesses.

“It is a very exciting time in Greater Manchester for the financial services and technology sectors. Our city-region is the largest creative, digital and technology hub outside of London. This is a great example of how business, private investors and GMCA can work together to support our burgeoning technology sector.”

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