Alternative finance/fintech vehicle Tungsten looks like it's finally about to hit the London stockmarket with a big IPO in the next few weeks.
Although this new business isn't really an AltFinance platform - there's no social aspect to its network - it is a big deal, for two very simple reasons.
The first is that Tungsten is the latest play thing of serial financiers Eddie and Danny Truell. These brothers have an impressive track record stretching from managing the huge investment portfolio at the Welcome Foundation, through to setting up the Pensions Corporation, a disruptive player in the pensions market. Along the way there's the usual Goldman Sachs pedigree and a host of successful new businesses.
So the soon to be listed Tungsten has a great set of backers but the really interesting bit is that this new outfit is hooking up a world class Fintech platform (OB10's e invoicing platform) with a plan to buy a fully licensed UK bank which will then specialise in the provision of supply chain financing.
This is potentially very big news as most of the major UK banks aren't really SME focused (although outfits like Handelsbanken have a very powerful focus in that field) nor are they concentrating on just a few simple business products like invoicing. By integrating the OB10 platform (which is a very impressive piece of kit, used by many of the majors) into a proper, licensed banking operation, we have the makings of a dedicated SME bank that is using technology to fight the high street majors.
Does this mean that Tungsten could start attacking the invoice funding space? Could it eventually even push into bank credit lending, challenging Funding Circle?
Who knows, but whatever happens, battle will commence and that can only be good news for the AltFinance space, with real heavyweights like the Truell brothers joining the side of the insurgents!