London Fintech Updraft raises £16m to help people break up with their credit cards
LONDON, UK — Dec 2nd, 2020 — Updraft, an app designed to tackle escalating consumer borrowing, has secured £16m in funding to help its member’s avoid unnecessary credit card and overdraft charges. The funding arrives in the form of equity and debt, with specialist investment firm Quilam Capital leading on the debt side, and the UK Government’s Future Fund participating via their convertible loan note alongside a group of high-net-worth investors.
Available now via the Apple App Store, Updraft was founded by financial services executive Aseem Munshi, former Head of Cards and Unsecured Lending for HSBC, UK. With over 15 years’ of experience in banking, Munshi realised there was a problem that could only be solved from the outside – that consumers drift into borrowing more and more each month without noticing. Banks seldom intervene, reliant as they are on those charges to pay for free banking for everyone else. These consumers will pay over £10b in fees and interests for overdraft and credit cards in 2020 alone.
Updraft elegantly disrupts this process by providing consumers with automated monitoring of credit cards, overdrafts, buy-now-pay-later schemes and credit scores using Open-banking and credit report data. The AI algorithm then automatically builds a 360-degree picture of spending and borrowing and provides a series of interventions designed to lift the consumer back into the black. Where expensive borrowing is detected, Updraft alerts the consumer and offers a lower cost alternative.
While the UK market may seem cluttered with personal finance apps, none offer the sophisticated suite of alerts and advice on offer from Updraft. The service has been beta tested throughout 2020 by over 15,000 users and has already refinanced millions of pounds of borrowings. A typical Updraft user has been able to reduce their borrowing charges by up to 50%.
The app was built by an in-house team including cofounders David Yalland, Chief Product Officer, and Matt Millar as CTO. Updraft was developed as part of the FCA Innovation program and was recently selected as one of 15 finalists by the Open Up 2020 Challenge run by Nesta in partnership with Open Banking. In addition to the support of Quilam Capital, Updraft has attracted a board of advisors that includes Mat Braddy, Brand Founder of Just Eat plc, Sanjiv Sud, former Global Head of Customer Experience and Retail Propositions at HSBC and Philip George founder of Shawbrook Bank.
Confirming Quilam Capital’s investment, Director Sarah Watts gave the following statement:
“Over the years we’ve seen innovators making use of open banking, shed light on financial health and provide credit, however Updraft provides a truly unique offering across all of these aspects with a market leading solution to give customers the fairly priced credit they deserve. We’re delighted to invest in Updraft and support the business on their mission to give consumers the tools to save and reach their life goals faster.”
CEO Aseem Munshi comments:
We are thrilled by this vote of confidence from a respected institution like Quilam. This funding gives us the fire power to take on the UK’s spiralling consumer borrowing – and we are acutely aware how much help young professionals need right now.
Updraft is available now on iPhone via the Apple App Store, with the Android version soon to follow.