iwoca names ex-Zopa exec as new COO

By Daniel Lanyon on Tuesday 13 November 2018

Alternative Lending

The SME lender is scaling up its loan book across Europe and the United Kingdom.

Small business lending platform iwoca has appointed Seema Desai as Chief Operations Officer (COO).

Launched in 2011, iwoca provides loans of up to £200,000 to small and micro businesses across the UK, Germany and Poland via its website and through partner integrations using its proprietary Lending API.  

Desai, who joined iwoca in January 2017 as Head of People, has a brief including scaling its customer service capabilities and its efforts to promote greater diversity and inclusion across the fintech industry, the firm said in a press statement.

A survey of 245 fintech companies operating in the UK, carried out between February and May 2017 by EY and Innovate Finance on behalf of the Treasury, found that women account for just 17 per cent of senior executives in the industry.

Prior to joining iwoca, Desai led the development of the Innovative Finance ISA at peer-to-peer lender Zopa as Head of Product. Prior to that, she helped members to drive financial inclusion in emerging markets at GSMA, the trade body of mobile network operators, before which she gained experience in traditional banking as Head of Retail Savings Products at Halifax and Bank of Scotland (HBOS).

Christoph Rieche, CEO and co-founder, iwoca said: “Seema has been an exceptional hire for iwoca, working tirelessly over the last 18 months to tackle the painful organisational challenges that beset hyper growth scale-ups like us.

“As COO, I need her to continue to move mountains to unlock access to finance for small businesses across Europe.”

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