OakNorth is a revolutionary credit platform that caters to capital requirements of lower mid-market businesses. Headquartered in London, OakNorth began its journey in 2015 when it obtained banking license. It was founded by Rishi Khosla and Joel Perlman. After getting the banking license, OakNorth Bank started lending to mid-market businesses in the range of £0.5 – £45 million.
Since its inception, OakNorth had lent several billion pounds and has been receiving several million pounds in repayments. As of now, OakNorth is counted amongst the fastest growing fintech startups in the world. While Britain continues to be the primary market, the company is expanding operations to other countries such as US, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Just like most startups, the idea for OakNorth was based on finding a solution to a problem. Around 2006 when the founders were trying to secure capital for their startup Copal Amba, they realized that it was quite difficult to get funding from traditional banks and financial institutions. These institutions primarily offered ‘debt’ products, which were not suitable for small and medium-sized businesses. Moreover, traditional banks found it economically uncompetitive to lend to these businesses, as there were significant costs associated with due diligence, origination, credit underwriting, servicing and monitoring. In the conventional setup, these businesses had to face a lengthy approval cycle and high rejection rates.
To solve these problems faced by lower mid-market businesses, the founders decided to launch an entirely new lending platform. Having faced the problems themselves when seeking funds for Copal Amba, the founders knew exactly what needs to be done. In 2014, they sold Copal Amba to Moody’s Corporation and utilized their financial expertise to develop a next-generation lending platform. OakNorth was subsequently launched in 2015. OakNorth utilizes advanced tech to predict credit risks, which is simpler and more effective than the conventional checklist method used by traditional banks. A process that used to take several months can now be completed within days with OakNorth.
Till date, OakNorth has raised capital worth more than $1 billion. Top investors include SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Clermont, GIC and several leading business men and women.
OakNorth has not made any acquisitions till date, but can consider that opportunity in the future.
OakNorth competes with other SME lending companies such as Cambridge & Counties Bank, Hampden & Co, Coutts, Lendhub, C. Hoare & Co, Tuscan Capital, and Life Financial Solutions.
About the Founders:
A British-Indian serial entrepreneur, Rishi Khosla currently works as the CEO at OakNorth. He has studied Economics at University College London and completed his masters (Accounting & Finance) from the prestigious London School of Economics. Prior to launching his own entrepreneurial venture, Khosla had worked with leading banks and financial firms such as ABN Amro and GE Capital. Co-founder Joel Perlman has studied at Georgetown University and London School of Economics. Prior to Copal Amba and OakNorth, he had worked with McKinsey & Company as an associate.