Ask Inclusive Finance

Ask Inclusive Finance (AskIf) is a platform business providing loan funding and support to small business borrowers, specialising in lending to SMEs that have been declined by a bank.

The story

AskIf is a social enterprise, providing loan funding and support to small business borrowers, specialising in those SME’s unable to secure funding from mainstream lenders.

Not long ago small companies built a relationship with their bank manager and lending decisions were made based on the credit fundamentals of the business. Today bank branches have closed with lending decisions being centralised, and automated based on historical data. FinTechs are competing with banks using the same auto credit scoring competing through speed of decisions and a better online customer experience. This broad based ‘tick box’ credit assessment results in a “NO” decision for many financeable SMEs.

AskIf has delivered the platform solution to fill the funding gap and create a scaled market:

  1. For SMEs - Access to support and funding; loan approval unlocked via a thorough credit fundamentals assessment overlaid with the experience of the Responsible Finance network
  2. Robust risk assessment of data and credit fundamentals; strong risk adjusted returns and centralised loan administration to minimize the cost of delivery
  3. For Loan Funders - a wholesale window to deploy capital at scale with streamlined access to Government subsidies and guarantees delivering an 8-10% return

The platform business is a simple model; AskIf facilitate the marriage between Loan Investor and Borrower.

The team

The team consists of co-founders, Sam and Jo, who have 40+ years of experience in the commerce and finance industries between them. Sam worked for Barclays investment bank and wealth management for 19 years before advising the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group for Responsible Credit and Savings. Jo managed large businesses for Kraft Heinz and P&G.

Advisors and Board Members of AskIf include Keith Wilson, Simon White, Andrew Mullinger and David Gill. Keith Wilson held senior management roles at Coutts (as COO) and Barclays Wealth (as Head of Product). Simon was group COO of FTSE listed Man Group. David Gill has extensive experience investing in, growing and exiting technology businesses.

The lead investor

AskIf’s Lead Investor is Andrew Mullinger, who co-founded Funding Circle, a company targeting an adjacent SME market. He played a fundamental role in the growth of Funding Circle from idea to employing over 750 people across the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, and helping 10,000s of businesses raise billions of dollars, as well as in helping the company to reach a valuation of over $1bn, raising over $350m of equity finance. Andrew is now an angel investor, predominantly in Fintech due to his in-depth knowledge of the sector.

These small businesses deserve to be served better and Sam has put together a strategy to build a great business. The team totally understand the opportunity. Lots of people building businesses in lending are smart but don’t understand what they are doing sadly – I’ve met many! – Andrew Mullinger, AskIf Lead Investor.

Andrew Mullinger

Lead investor

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