Oaknorth, the fast-growing UK bank that specialises in lending to small and medium sized businesses, is raising $440m from Softbank’s Vision Fund in the largest European fintech fundraising to date. Oaknorth has lent more $3.7b, which has directly helped to create 9,500 homes and 11,000 jobs in the UK.
Oaknorth focuses on lending sums of up to £20 million to entrepreneurs, and broke even before it had marked its first year of operation. Its advisory board includes Lord Turner, a former chairman of the City watchdog, and Lord Maude, the former trade minister. The lender has tried to differentiate itself through the quality of its cloud-based technology platform, underlining the extent to which advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence are playing a central role in the banking sector’s development. The story was first reported by Sky News.