Using technology and data science to bring a new approach to traditional business loans, Bridgement, offers simple finance to small to medium sized (SME) businesses across South Africa. Their first product to market has a record time of 90 minutes from loan application to money landing in an SME’s account.
When money is needed quickly – to cover salaries or pay suppliers between receiving payments from slow-paying clients – the time and burden of proof required to secure a bank loan is prohibitive. Working with the likes of Xero, Sage and Quickbooks, to streamline approval processes, Bridgement gathers relevant financial data and trading history through a company’s accounting software to assess business performance for application approval. The company also services businesses who do not use those accounting packages by assessing the banking data provided upon application.
While bank business loans can take weeks or in some cases months to approve, Bridgement’s invoice financing offers SMEs a convenient and flexible way to deal with slow paying customers and acquire financing when they need it. The process is done online, and is quick, simple and headache-free.
Offering credit facilities to SMEs with transparent and upfront pricing, with little to no paperwork, Bridgement’s platform allows SMEs to access working capital quickly. They help businesses manage cash flow and in turn, weather uneven monthly or seasonal changes in income. Bridgement provides invoice financing and revolving credit facilities, from R10 000 to R5-million, to registered companies who have been trading for longer than six months.
Alternative financing avenues in the past have included exploitative loan companies with complex interest structures and hidden costs. With newcomers like Bridgement, a board member of the South African SME Finance Association (SASFA), SMEs see the exact, fixed cost they will pay before agreeing to anything. If they pay it back early, they are rewarded with a discount and are not punished with cancellation fees.
With the spotlight on the role of SMEs in the South African economy, local Fintech lenders have adapted existing financial services to better cater for small businesses. From lowering barriers to access to giving them the capital that they need to grow, Fintech start-ups, like Bridgement are offering solutions to many of the problems faced by small businesses, such as cash flow concerns and insufficient funding.