UK fintech firm hopes to turn the Tide for SMEs in India

UK fintech firm hopes to turn the Tide for SMEs in India
Courtesy: Getty Images

London-headquartered small and medium enterprise (SME) focussed business financial platform Tide has chosen India as its first market for global expansion.

Tide, the UK’s fintech platform model which acts as the financial operating system for a small business, claims to be ripe for international expansion because the basic needs of small businesses are universal. And, it has chosen India as its very first international market, given the country’s over 63 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – nearly one in 10 of all SMEs in the world.

The London-headquartered firm believes these digitally savvy companies are vital to the Indian economy but are underserved by the banks. With fintech thriving in India due to a combination of the government’s digitisation efforts and high smartphone penetration, India is said to be primed for Tide’s “agile structure and globally unified single code technology”. It claims its business financial platform can be adapted and integrated with local product service partners to suit the specific needs of companies in each market.

Entrepreneurial spirit

With fintech thriving in India, the country is primed market for Tide’s “agile structure and globally unified single code technology”.
With fintech thriving in India, the country is primed market for Tide’s “agile structure and globally unified single code technology”.Courtesy: Getty Images

Tide CEO Oliver Prill said: “India was selected as our first market outside the UK due to its vast SME population, and the entrepreneurial spirit that is so prevalent in the country. As an aspiring global business financial platform operating in the largest SME market is a must.

“As a company, we already know India well and we are confident that Tide can adapt to make business banking better for Indian SMEs. With investment and the expertise Tide already has in the country, we can help underserved SMEs thrive.”

Gurjodhpal Singh, formerly of India’s leading Payment Service Provider PayU and said to have considerable experience in supporting Indian SMEs over many years, will lead Tide’s business in India. Starting with an Alpha test product, based on Tide’s global technology stack, Tide India is set to go live in the first quarter of 2021 as part of a test launch.

The company already operates a technology centre in Hyderabad and has a team approaching 100 people, predominantly software developers, working in the country. Singh will work to expand this team to deliver the launch, supported by Prill and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Guy Duncan. The company said it will adapt the structure of its senior leadership to accommodate its international expansion plans and Laurence Krieger, currently Chief Operating and Product Officer, will be stepping into the role of UK CEO.

“The UK market will remain a key focus for Tide, with a dedicated team building Tide India. As well as beginning our international journey, we expect 2021 to be another year of significant growth,” added Oliver Prill.

Global strategy

The company’s move into India is branded as another step in its global strategy and building on an established position. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, Tide claims continued strong growth because it has remained fully open for business, with its “digital-only experience” attractive to customers. With almost 300,000 members, processing £10 billion in transactions, the company claims to have over 5 per cent of the UK business banking market.

Founded in 2015 and launched in 2017, the company claims to have raised investment from major backers including Anthemis, Augmentum, Creandum, Goodwater, Jigsaw, Latitude, LocalGlobe, Passion Capital, SpeedInvest and The SBI Group. Tide has announced it will embark on Series C fundraising this year.

Tide’s stated mission is to help SMEs save time and money in the running of their businesses. The business financial platform not only offers business accounts and related banking services, but also a comprehensive set of highly usable administrative solutions, such as full integration with accounting systems.

The company claims that truly serving SMEs well requires relentless focus on their needs, which is why it has a firm SME only focus, using advanced technology solutions.

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