We sat down with our CEO, Chirag Shah, to ask him about the Nucleus journey so far, his favourite moments to date and the incredible growth and change that the business has experienced. In light of our most recent accomplishment, £1bn lent to businesses across the UK, Chirag describes his pride in the team for making it happen and looks ahead to the future in 2019 and beyond.
What are your personal top three success moments for the business?
This is a tough one!
Definitely, I’d have to say the first deal we ever did. Back then, we were one of the first alternative providers, at a time when the market was dominated by banks. The first deal was an Invoice Finance facility and sent a clear message to the market that we can deliver.
Another thing that I’m really proud of is the multiple deals where we have used a combination of different products to support a client. Our position in the market is very much orientated around our offering of multiple products and the fact that we can use them to tailor a solution to exactly the client’s requirements – and that is something fairly unique. The high street lenders have traditionally offered multiple products but struggle with the internal communication necessary to create truly bespoke combined solutions and of course, they lack the agility that alternative funders, such as Nucleus have. It truly differentiates us and positions us in the middle – with the technology and innovation of a fintech provider but with the product range and expertise of a traditional lender.
Of course, one of the milestones we’ve recently achieved is £1bn funded to businesses, across all products. It is a great team effort in getting to this point and is a reflection of the hard work that our entire team has put in over the past seven years. I’m incredibly proud of how far we have come, as a team and a business.
What's been your favourite client story?
It has got to be GSE – Civil Engineering. A groundwork business that was about to enter administration. We looked at the deal and within days were able to put together a £3m asset based lending facility to replace the bank, who were not supportive. The business traded through the next 12 months with our support and turned profitable and cash flow positive. To this day, they are still an existing client and a real success story – a reflection of the service we provide and our brilliant team.
Two years after the initial deal, we arranged a further loan, on a Property Finance deal, to support growth.
It’s a classic story where we helped the business turnaround by structuring a multi-product offering and quick turnaround. Then we used the range of products we have to further support the business growth.
What are you most excited about for 2019? And beyond?
2019 is going to be a very exciting year for the business. Further integration of technology into our decision making is a real front-runner in terms of our priorities. Access to fast decisions is paramount for any business and our new auto-underwriting features will allow our clients to enjoy a superior service. Our team will be empowered by the real impact of machine learning and AI, supporting our underwriters in arriving at more accurate decisions, in much shorter time frame.
Not only that, having already invested in a portal for our introducers, we will roll this out for our clients as well, enabling even faster applications and monitoring of their borrowing.
Any other comments or thoughts?
I strongly believe we are the best team in the industry - a great mix of experience and upcoming talent. The £1bn mark is testimony to the effort put in by the team day-in-day-out, and the culture we have maintained through this rapid growth
2019 is a big year for us. We have a lot of tech projects coming live, integration of machine learning and AI into our decision making, access to cheaper capital which will help us support more SMEs, and a growing share of self-originated deals for Cash Flow Finance / Property Finance / Business Cash Advance products. This channel has grown phenomenally in the past two years and already accounts for more than a third of our applications. The £1bn funded milestone is only the beginning…