Investment led by Common Ocean, a venture capital firm backing early-stage fintechs focusing on financial wellness
Charlotte, NC 03/15/2021 — upSWOT, a fintech platform helping financial institutions dramatically improve their ability to service Small-Medium Business clients (SMBs), announces a $4.3M seed round with commitments from multiple VC firms, corporate partners, and 50+ prominent angels and industry operators. Utilising an API-driven, modern approach, similar to Plaid, upSWOT connects, collects and normalizes data from over 120 business software tools SMBs regularly use, such as Quickbooks, Xero, Salesforce, Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Freshbooks, Sage, and more. SMBs can easily and accurately track business operations through KPI dashboards, real-time insights, and automatic alerts. At the same time, their bank partners obtain actionable data to meaningfully engage and help fuel growth.
upSWOT’s 45-person team currently services a diversified clientele from US and European banks like Raiffeisen Bank Aval, Société Générale RosBank, to Fintechs like Tribal Credit, and non-banking FIs like MasterCard. Common Ocean Ventures led this Seed round with participation from CFV Ventures, ICBA, First Southern National Bank, SpeedUp Venture Group, and previous investors. Common Ocean General Partner, Igor Ulis, joined upSWOT’s Board of Directors
With this funding round, upSWOT plans to expand its US footprint, continue hiring onshore staff to support a growing list of deployments with Tier 1 and Tier 2 financial institutions, and further enhance the product to widen the competitive advantage gap..
While personal financial management tools, like Mint, designed to aggregate data from multiple sources to get timely assistance and advice have been available to individuals for over a decade, SMBs have primarily had to fend for themselves. upSWOT aims to change this dynamic by partnering with financial institutions and bringing simple-to-use data aggregation, visualization, and analytics to millions of businesses. Using a mix of metrics- driven dashboards and timely recommendations, SMBs get modern-day tools for cash flow management, debt funding decisions, financial planning, and accurate cash reporting to ensure supply chains stay healthy, customers are happy, and workers get paid.
Small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for 44% of US economic activity, but this client segment is also the riskiest for lenders due to business owners’ frequent lack of scaling experience, lack of data transparency, low data consistency, and thin credit files.
“Managing a portfolio of SMB clients is a challenge for every bank, lender, and servicer,” explains Dmitry Norenko, upSWOT CEO. “Amidst a global pandemic, the financial industry must find new and innovative ways to support this vital customer segment. Our white-label cloud solution helps leading national and community banks gain granular insights into their SMB customers launched within 6 weeks, and with minimal strain on internal IT or overlap with legacy systems.”
“The pandemic accelerated a shift to digital platforms as the primary interface with customers. Banks need to offer sophisticated tools to keep pace with demand,” adds Ulis. “When it comes to quick deployment of innovative financial products, first-mover advantage has worked in upSWOT’s favor. In under two years, they’ve integrated 120 mission-critical SaaS products and launched pilots with 30 financial institutions across Europe and North America and have already shown customer success. Their momentum is a clear indicator of market need, product fit, and the agility of upSWOT’s team.”.
In addition to VC participation, upSWOT has brought on a consortium of angel investors, including Knut Frangsmyr, COO of Klarna; Kaustav Das, Chief Risk and Analytics Officer of Quadpay; David Rabkin, former EVP & GM at American Express; Hannes Liebe, COO of Finastra; Levi King, Chairman, NAV; Kerry Agiasotis, EVP, SAGE, and more than 50 other financial industry leaders, visionaries, and operators.
“Given the number of SMBs globally and the historic friction in collaborating with banks, upSWOT is addressing a critical problem at the right time and in a vast market,” said Panagiotis Spiliopoulos CFO, Temenos and upSWOT angel
“upSWOT’s technology creates a unique win-win situation for financial institutions and their SMB customers,” said Alex Keltner, CEO of First Southern National Bank and upSWOT client. “Banks and FinTechs alike can now offer timely credit products and efficiently scale their portfolio servicing operations. At the same time, SMBs, who form the backbone of our economy, have much-needed access to working capital and financial tools to ensure their success”.
upSWOT helps Small-Medium Businesses grow and make better financial decisions. Deployed as a white-label Business Finance Management solution in partnership with financial institutions, upSWOT aggregates and analyzes data from over 120 Accounting, HR, ERP, eCommerce, and other SaaS systems commonly used by SMBs. Easy-to-use BI dashboards surface insights and create meaningful engagement between financial institutions and their SMB clients. upSWOT was founded in 2019 and participated in the elite Berkeley SkyDeck accelerator. For more information, visit www.upSWOT.com.
About Common Ocean
Common Ocean is an NYC-based venture capital firm making early-stage investments in fintech founders who share in our mission to empower everyday people to reach a brighter financial future. For more information, visit www.commonocean.co
Media Contact: Veroslava Novosilnaya