Fast growth UK tech business secures funding
Alternative SME credit specialist Caple has helped iPLATO, the UK HealthTech company, to access a multimillion pound eight-year unsecured loan. Caple offers access to unsecured lending of up to £5m.
iPLATO, which simplifies access to healthcare for millions of people with its “myGP” platform and app, will use the loan to invest in its technology and marketing. This will enable it to grow in the UK and to launch internationally. The business will also develop new products and services to enhance the experience for patients, doctors and the NHS.
iPLATO is one of the 100 fastest-growing private tech companies in the UK as ranked in The Sunday Times Tech Track. Through its myGP platform, iPLATO connects 25m people with more than 6,500 GP practices and 12,000 pharmacies in the UK. It has ambitious growth plans and aims to increase its 1.5m myGP app users to 10m users in the UK next two years.
Firms such as iPLATO can find access to secured lending a challenge because their business is based on intangible assets, such as intellectual property. Banks generally need tangible assets to put up as security for loans, so raising additional finance for growth was not open to them.
Sean Brophy, UK country manager of Caple, said: “Many successful businesses are growing by developing intangible assets such as intellectual property or services. However, while banks can lend against the tangible assets in a business, they can only do so up to the value of those physical assets available as collateral. After that, they cannot help.
“This creates a barrier to growth and may force businesses to issue equity instead of raising debt. iPLATO had this issue and had considered, but did not want to give up, equity. Now, with our unsecured funding deal, iPLATO can implement its ambitious growth plans and achieve its goals without having to resort to equity funding.”
Martin Rowden, CFO of iPLATO, said: “Our aim is to transform healthcare by making it easier for patients to better organise their and their family’s healthcare. To do so, we need funding that reflects our ambitions. While equity funding was a possible option, it was expensive, failed to match our vision, and we did not want to dilute our ownership.
“This deal with Caple is ideal for our business as it enables us to develop new products and services to achieve our growth targets. We have achieved significant user growth and we want to keep our foot on the gas to reach 10m users in the next two years. There is a significant appetite for digital first healthcare services both in the UK and internationally and we aim to meet this demand.”
iPLATO is an innovative software as a service healthcare business connecting patients, GPs and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Employing 75 people, the business has more than ten years in healthcare. In 2019, the platform supported 100 million interactions with patients ranging from appointment bookings to video consultations.
Customers include public healthcare bodies such as the NHS England, NHS Wales and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Services offered also include patient engagement, prescription ordering, intelligent care navigation and remote consultation.
iPLATO has strong growth pipeline as a result of both a government and sector focus on using technology to promote better patient outcomes, transform the patient experience and deliver efficiencies.
Caple is the UK’s first firm to offer access to long-term unsecured lending of up to £5m based on the future cash flows of the SME. It requires no collateral or personal guarantees as security. The loans also work alongside existing bank lending, meaning firms can have access to more funding than they would get from their bank alone, but allows them to maintain their existing bank relationship.
Caple’s technology platform supports a network of accountants and financial advisors to SMEs that use it to identify suitable borrowers and create the materials used in the process. This enables an efficient and robust credit process.
The loans Caple facilitates are part of BNP Paribas Asset Management’s SME Alternative Financing direct lending platform, which enables SMEs to access funding from institutional investors. BNP Paribas Asset Management aims to provide €1bn per year in funding to SMEs across Europe.