BELFAST’s alternative finance specialist Upstream is now part of London-based specialist finance group Cubitt Trade Holdings in what its owner calls a “game changer” for the business.
This means Upstream, the North’s only private working capital provider for the SME and corporate sectors, becomes one of only five independent finance companies in the UK and Ireland operating under Cubitt.
But Upstream, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, will keep its corporate DNA, its name, and expand its Irish team as part of the deal.
“Having the backing of such an important investment partner is a real game-changer for Upstream,” said its founder Judith Totten MBE.
“For a decade we have been known for providing working capital to growth-oriented SMEs and while this will continue to be an integral part of our offering, we are now in a position where we can support corporate transactions a lot more important for businesses that may have existing banking relationships but require an additional line of funding, which can act as an innovative but ultimately integral part of the client’s overall financial package.
“Through Cubitt, we will now pursue an aggressive growth program across the island of Ireland which will also include acquisitions if the right opportunities arise.”
She added: “Our operating model will continue as before and there will be no disruption to our systems or our customers. We now simply have the freedom and support to step up our growth plans across Ireland. The agility, flexibility and empathy that our customers have always enjoyed will not change.
“Upstream has a stable, committed and exceptionally well capitalized funding and capital partner with a demonstrable appetite to grow and develop a bigger and stronger business across Ireland. We have partners who reflect and support our ambitions, and I hope we can help our existing and new customers even more than before.
Upstream Sales Manager Alan Wardlow said the timing of the new partnership couldn’t have been better.
“The landscape of SME and corporate finance is changing dramatically, and the impact of Brexit and the pandemic has accelerated these changes. For many businesses, it’s no longer a matter of approaching a bank and looking for a simple overdraft or term debt.
“Their needs are often much more complex than that and require a tiered financing approach if they want to maximize their working capital potential. In particular, Upstream will seek to finance the supply chain needs of businesses alongside its traditional invoice financing, on a stand-alone or end-to-end basis, supporting the cash cycle from start to finish.
“With the post-pandemic economic recovery now beginning to take shape and traditional banks taking a more cautious approach to lending, our new relationship with Cubitt means we can truly deliver on our goal of enabling ‘Fearless Growth’ among businesses as a way to drive economic recovery across the island.”