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Exclusive: Tide scoops up Funding Options in its first acquisition

The surprise takeover comes after Funding Options struggled to diversify its business.

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Simon Cureton of Funding Options and Oliver Prill of Tide (right).

SME banking provider Tide has bought lending marketplace Funding Options, in a surprise takeover that AltFi can exclusively reveal.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed by either party, but to date, Funding Options has raised around £20m in equity funding as well as £5m in cash from Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) in 2019.

For Tide, the move will super-charge its existing business loan marketplace by merging it with that of Funding Options, giving its 475,000 customers access to more credit options.

Tide said that it will maintain Funding Options as a standalone brand and CEO Simon Cureton will lead both Funding Options and Tide’s own credit marketplace.

“With this deal, Tide is aiming to create one of the UK’s biggest digital marketplaces for SME credit, and to make it easier for small business owners to access this vital resource,” Tide CEO Oliver Prill told AltFi.

“We know that getting credit is even more important to our members in these challenging times: not just in terms of the rising cost of doing business, but also when high street banks are typically slower to offer smaller businesses loans.”

Since it was founded in 2011, Funding Options has helped SMEs access more than £680m in funding from its panel of over 120 lender partners.

However, the business has also been working to diversify, with Cureton leading an aggressive push into new fields like energy switching and international payments for SMEs.

Earlier this year Funding Options also launched ‘Connect’ which let accountants and advisors facilitate loan applications on behalf of their SME clients directly on Funding Cloud.

While today’s acquisition is presented as a win-win for both fintechs, it’s also an admission that Funding Options had reached the end of its runway as a standalone business.

Indeed there are fewer and fewer dedicated SME funding marketplaces left still standing, with Funding Options’ biggest rival Funding Xchange increasingly shifting focus to white labelling its technology under the FTX Technologies brand.

UPDATE 29-11-2022 - Correction: Funding Options was founded in 2011 and has raised £20m in equity funding, rather than in 2013 and with £8m raised as this article previously said.

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