FinTech startup Uplinq is partnering with the SME Finance Forum, a global network that is part of the World Bank Group, and is aimed at making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access finance initiatives.
The SME Finance Forum was established by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion and is managed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), itself a part of the World Bank Group.
Uplinq claims to provide the first global credit assessment platform.
Patrick Reily, co-founder of Uplinq, said: “We are confident that our breakthrough technology will allow lenders in every region to improve and expand their lending decisions and get more cash into the hands of the entrepreneurs, who are the backbone of the global economy.”
Launched in 2022, Uplinq claims to provide the first global credit assessment platform. Targeting small business lenders, the company says its API enables its users to access billions of unique and validated data signals to measure small businesses’ performance to support lenders’ credit decisions.
In partnership with the SME Finance Forum, Uplinq will host a webinar on financial inclusion on April 19, 2023, and co-publish additional educational materials on the subject.
The SME Finance Forum has been building a global membership to support better SME financing since 2016, and claims to have established a network with over 240 active member institutions in over 190 countries.
“We are delighted to welcome Uplinq to further grow our mission of helping underserved small enterprises,” said Matthew Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum.
Following the 2010 G20 Summit in Seoul, the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion launched the SME Finance Forum to expand financial inclusion and accelerate access to finance for the 200 million global businesses that need it to invest, grow, and create new jobs. The partnership includes all G20 countries, interested non-G20 countries, and other relevant stakeholders.
To advance its goal, the SME Finance Forum unites financial institutions, technology companies, and international development institutions to share knowledge, foster innovation, spur policy changes, and build connections that will promote the growth of SMEs.
Uplinq raised an additional $820,000 CAD ($600,000 USD) in February from Cambrian Ventures with participation from ATX Venture Partners, and the former chief risk officer at Scotiabank, Daniel Moore.
With this investment, Uplinq has raised approximately $5.6 million, following a $1.25 million investment from ATX Venture Partners in October 2022 and a $3.5 million pre-seed funding round in April of 2022. Uplinq co-founder and CEO Ron Benegbi said the $600,000 is part of the $1.25 million investment from October.
In addition to helping expand its global presence, the funding will enable Uplinq to scale its workforce and product offering.
Rex Salisbury, a former Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z) partner, leads Cambrian.
“Cambrian is investing in the next generation of FinTech entrepreneurs and Uplinq’s founders, Pat Reily and Ron Benegbi, possess the kind of deep domain expertise and entrepreneurial know-how that compels confidence,” said Salisbury, founder and general partner of Cambrian.
“I can think of no better leaders to enhance lending decisions and expand economic inclusion and access to working capital for small business owners across the world,” Salisbury added.
“Cambrian’s support is a testament to Uplinq’s expanded footprint in the fintech ecosystem and our breakthrough technology, which is already transforming how small business lenders evaluate risk and credit,” said Benegbi. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Rex. As we kick off 2023, we look forward to tapping into his remarkable network of innovators as we continue to expand our global presence, especially in the United States.”
As a serial entrepreneur, Uplinq counts as Benegbi’s fifth startup. He previously founded and led a number of startups that operate in the financial and SaaS spaces.
Benegbi’s past companies include Accolade, a software for employee rewards and recognition; Carlton One Engagement, a performance improvement marketing company that focuses on delivering incentive, loyalty, and rewards solutions; and Global Rewards Solutions, a cloud-based management system.
Prior to Uplinq, Benegbi also co-founded Railz.ai, a startup that provides a single API to major accounting software service providers that enables on-demand access to financial transactions, analytics, insights, and reports on small business customers.
Uplinq’s other co-founder, Reily, has held leadership positions in financial institutions, like Equifax and his own business, Verde International.
Feature image courtesy Uplinq.