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Outfund to loan over $870 mil to e-commerce firms globally, including Australia, this year

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Outfund to loan over $870 mil to e-commerce firms globally, including Australia, this year

Australia’s funding ecosystem has been challenging due to limited access to capital and conventional financing methods; bank loans have high compound interest rates, while VCs demand equity dilution.

Outfund, a revenue-based finance provider, provides Australian businesses with a new funding source.

Earlier, Force Over Mass, PostFinance, 1818 Venture Capital, and Tribe Capital led a Series A debt and equity round in which the company raised £115 million ($200 million AU). The additional funding will aid Outfund’s rapid expansion in Australia and internationally, as it offers SMEs a quicker, more equitable, and more cost-effective way to raise growth capital. 

With a commitment to lend £500 million ($AU870 million) to e-commerce and subscription-based businesses worldwide, including Australia, over the next 12 months, Outfund will use the funds to offer enlarged lending rounds to smaller to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Redesigning funding for Australian SMEs

By offering an alternative financing channel that enables online-based businesses to get the funds they need, when they need them, Outfund is reshaping the funding market for Australia’s SMEs. Businesses that have been in business for at least six months and have a minimum monthly turnover of $10,000 are eligible for funding between $10,000 and $10 million. 

In contrast to traditional business loans, Outfund offers flexibility for SME owners by customising the time taken to repay each business’s specific needs and an agreed revenue share starting at 1%.

Same-day access to capital

SME owners can submit an online application for financing through Outfund. Due to the technology’s and product’s proprietary nature, only quick checks are needed to access capital; business plans and extensive risk assessments are not required. 

Businesses only need to connect their revenue accounts, and Outfund will use this information to create a funding offer and distribute funds the same day. Outfund’s revenue-share percentages are calculated to ensure that each company has a sufficient cash flow for day-to-day operations; the more successful the company, the more successful Outfund. The funding balance between a company and a lender is now equal for the first time.

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Outfund achieved significant growth in 2021, expanding revenues sixfold and moving into three new countries. With its wider reach and new capital, Outfund is set to loan over $870 million in 2022 and is expected to fund over 5,000 businesses globally.

Mr Charles Grover, Outfund Country Manager, Australia, said, “What sets Outfund apart from the market is our technology and our ability to provide in-product finance solutions to almost any partner. This not only ensures rapid growth but also gives our partners the ability to provide a range of value-add financial products to their customer base”.

A data-driven approach

The pandemic has seen more Australians embrace online shopping. In 2021, more than 80% of Australian households made an online purchase, driving national year-on-year growth to 12.3% – almost double the pre-pandemic baseline.

With the “golden retail quarter” – the peak trading period between October and December fast approaching, many SMEs will need to grow and sell more on the web in order to drive continued revenue and profitability, making an increased investment into inventory and marketing a priority.

However, the funding landscape is becoming more challenging, with limited access to capital and traditional financing routes offering an unfair deal to SMEs. Bank loans offer high compound interest rates (or are entirely inaccessible outside government schemes), while venture capitalists demand equity dilution.

The Outfund model is based on future revenue projections, and this data-driven approach means significantly fairer terms for SMEs.In addition to using the latest tranche of funding to lend more capital to more businesses, Outfund also plans to invest in new products and team growth.

Outfund’s latest round of funding and ambitious growth plans have made the company the largest revenue-based finance provider in the UK, Spain, and Australia.

Outfund’s technology is also taking the bias out of lending, with analysis based solely on business revenue and performance. One-fifth (20%) of Outfund’s portfolio comprises female business founders – a testament to Outfund’s commitment to advancing the democratisation of access to capital.

Mr Grover said, “Our ambition is for Outfund to be the go-to place to grow your business, without compromising equity or wasting time fundraising. We have developed a way to make the process of securing money for growth easier, fairer and, most importantly, faster.

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“Our approach has been warmly received by Australia’s SME community, and we are now looking at how we can open the Outfund experience to more businesses – and continue to be part of their journey to success for a long time.

“The last six months have delivered continued growth for Outfund, and our team is proud of the number of entrepreneurs we have been able to support,” concluded Mr Grover.

Mr Mark Pearson, founder and managing partner of UK-based Fuel Ventures, added, “The Outfund team is pivoting the model of business funding, rebalancing the scales so that business owners don’t lose out financially while getting the capital they need to supercharge their online business’s growth. At Fuel we work with the most ambitious entrepreneurs building market leading companies. Outfund is a perfect example of this – a strong, passionate founding team creating a game-changing venture that is now a leader in its field.”

Mr Filip Coen, Partner at Force Over Mass, said: “Outfund provides SMEs with the short-term financing options they deserve: fast, flexible and on good terms. A modern, digital-first credit provider with automated credit and risk scoring, managed by an exceptional team. We are very excited to join Outfund on the journey ahead”.

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At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

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At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

BALTIMORE (AP) — Teams of engineers worked Saturday on the intricate process of cutting and lifting the first section of twisted steel from the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, which crumpled into the Patapsco River this week after a massive cargo ship crashed into one of its supports.

Sparks could be seen flying from a section of bent and crumpled steel in the afternoon, and video released by officials in the evening showed demolition crews using a cutting torch to slice through the thick beams. The joint incident command said in a statement that the work was being done on the top of the north side of the collapsed structure.

Crews were carefully measuring and cutting the steel from the broken bridge before attaching straps so it can be lifted onto a barge and floated away, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said.

Seven floating cranes — including a massive one capable of lifting 1,000 tons — 10 tugboats, nine barges, eight salvage vessels and five Coast Guard boats were on site in the water southeast of Baltimore.

Each movement affects what happens next and ultimately how long it will take to remove all the debris and reopen the ship channel and the blocked Port of Baltimore, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

“I cannot stress enough how important today and the first movement of this bridge and of the wreckage is. This is going to be a remarkably complicated process,” Moore said.

Undeterred by the chilly morning weather, longtime Baltimore resident Randy Lichtenberg and others took cellphone photos or just quietly looked at the broken pieces of the bridge, which including its steel trusses weigh as much as 4,000 tons.

“I wouldn’t want to be in that water. It’s got to be cold. It’s a tough job,” Lichtenberg said from a spot on the river called Sparrows Point.

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The shock of waking up Tuesday morning to video of what he called an iconic part of the Baltimore skyline falling into the water has given way to sadness.

“It never hits you that quickly. It’s just unbelievable,” Lichtenberg said.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

One of the first goals for crews on the water is to get a smaller auxiliary ship channel open so tugboats and other small barges can move freely. Crews also want to stabilize the site so divers can resume searching for four missing workers who are presumed dead.

Two other workers were rescued from the water in the hours following the bridge collapse, and the bodies of two more were recovered from a pickup truck that fell and was submerged in the river. They had been filling potholes on the bridge and while police were able to stop vehicle traffic after the ship called in a mayday, they could not get to the construction workers, who were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The crew of the cargo ship Dali, which is managed by Synergy Marine Group, remained on board with the debris from the bridge around it, and were safe and were being interviewed. They are keeping the ship running as they will be needed to get it out of the channel once more debris has been removed.

The vessel is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and was chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk.

The collision and collapse appeared to be an accident that came after the ship lost power. Federal and state investigators are still trying to determine why.

Assuaging concern about possible pollution from the crash, Adam Ortiz, the Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, said there was no indication in the water of active releases from the ship or materials hazardous to human health.

REBUILDING

Officials are also trying to figure out how to handle the economic impact of a closed port and the severing of a major highway link. The bridge was completed in 1977 and carried Interstate 695 around southeast Baltimore.

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Maryland transportation officials are planning to rebuild the bridge, promising to consider innovative designs or building materials to hopefully shorten a project that could take years.

President Joe Biden’s administration has approved $60 million in immediate aid and promised the federal government will pay the full cost to rebuild.

Ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore remains suspended, but the Maryland Port Administration said trucks were still being processed at marine terminals.

The loss of a road that carried 30,000 vehicles a day and the port disruption will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and commuters, but also U.S. consumers, who are likely to feel the impact of shipping delays. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other U.S. facility.

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Collins reported from Columbia, South Carolina. Associated Press writers Sarah Brumfield in Washington, D.C.; Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tennessee; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee; and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed.

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The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

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The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

DALLAS (AP) — The Texas attorney general has opened an investigation into a key Boeing supplier that is already facing scrutiny from federal regulators over quality of parts that it provides to the aircraft maker.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said it began looking into Spirit AeroSystems because of “apparent manufacturing defects” in parts that “have led to numerous concerning or dangerous incidents.”

In a statement Friday, a Spirit spokesman said, “While we do not comment on investigations, Spirit is wholly focused on providing the highest quality products to all our customers, to include the Boeing Company.”

Paxton asked the Wichita, Kansas-based supplier to turn over documents produced since the start of 2022 about communication with investors and Boeing about flaws in parts and corrective steps the company took.

The request goes into detail in seeking internal discussions around Spirit’s efforts to create a diverse workforce “and whether those commitments are unlawful or are compromising the company’s manufacturing processes.” Paxton asked for a breakdown of Spirit’s workforce by race, sexual orientation and other factors, and whether the makeup has changed over time.

Since a Spirit-made door-plug panel blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max in January, some conservatives have tried to link aviation safety to diversity at manufacturers.

Paxton is a conservative Republican who this week agreed to pay $271,000 in restitution to victims and take 15 hours of training in legal ethics to settle felony charges of securities fraud. Paxton did not admit wrongdoing in the 9-year-old case.

The Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation into Boeing Spirit after the Alaska Airlines incident. An FAA audit of manufacturing procedures in Spirit’s factory gave the company failing grades in seven of 13 areas.

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Boeing is in talks to buy back Spirit, which it spun off nearly 20 years ago, as part of a plan to tighten oversight of manufacturing in its supply chain.

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Boeing plane found to have missing panel after flight from California to southern Oregon

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Boeing plane found to have missing panel after flight from California to southern Oregon

By CLAIRE RUSH and LISA BAUMANN

 

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A post-flight inspection revealed a missing panel on an older Boeing 737-800 that had just arrived at its destination in southern Oregon on Friday after flying from San Francisco, officials said, the latest in a series of recent incidents involving aircraft manufactured by the company.

United Flight 433 left San Francisco at 10:20 a.m. and landed at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport in Medford shortly before noon, according to FlightAware. The airport’s director, Amber Judd, said the plane landed safely without incident and the external panel was discovered missing during a post-flight inspection. No injuries were reported.

The airport paused operations to check the runway and airfield for debris, Judd said, and none was found.

Judd said she believed the United ground crew or pilots doing a routine inspection before the next flight were the ones who noticed the missing panel.

A United Airlines spokesperson said via email that the flight was carrying 139 passengers and six crew members, and no emergency was declared because there was no indication of the damage during the flight.

 

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The Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center is pictured in Medford, Ore., on Jan. 4, 2024. The first lawsuit filed Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, brought amid reports that a nurse at the southern Oregon hospital replaced intravenous fentanyl drips with tap water seeks up to $11.5 million on behalf of the estate of a 65-year-old man who died. (Janet Eastman/The Oregonian/The Oregonian via AP)

 

“After the aircraft was parked at the gate, it was discovered to be missing an external panel,” the United spokesperson said. “We’ll conduct a thorough examination of the plane and perform all the needed repairs before it returns to service. We’ll also conduct an investigation to better understand how this damage occurred.”

The Federal Aviation Administration also said it would investigate.

The missing panel was on the underside of the aircraft where the wing meets the body and just next to the landing gear, United said.

The plane made its first flight in April 1998 and was delivered to Continental Airlines in December of that year, according to the FAA. United Airlines has operated it since Nov. 30, 2011. It is a 737-824, part of the 737-800 series that was a precursor to the Max.

Boeing said, also via email, that it would defer comment to United about the carrier’s fleet and operations.

In January a panel that plugged a space left for an extra emergency door blew off a Boeing Max 9 jet in midair just minutes after an Alaska Airlines flight took off from Portland, leaving a gaping hole and forcing pilots to make an emergency landing. There were no serious injuries.

The door plug was eventually found in the backyard of a high school physics teacher in southwest Portland, along with other debris from the flight scattered nearby. The Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation.

On March 6, fumes detected in the cabin of a Boeing 737-800 Alaska Airlines flight destined for Phoenix caused pilots to head back to the Portland airport.

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The Port of Portland said passengers and crew noticed the fumes and the flight landed safely. Seven people including passengers and crew requested medical evaluations, but no one was hospitalized, officials said.

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Baumann reported from Bellingham, Washington.

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