IWOCA is set to become the first major fintech brand to open an office in Leeds, as part of its expansion plans.
The European business lender said that its new Leeds office will create up to 100 new jobs by 2023.
The new office is expected to open early next year, and will house developers, customer support officers and relationship managers.
Over the past year, Iwoca has increased its headcount by 50 per cent and it plans to have around 400 employees by the end of 2020. The majority of staff are based in London, with another 10 in Frankfurt.
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Earlier this year, Iwoca secured a £10m grant via the Capability and Innovation fund to help improve lending or payment services to businesses across the UK. As part of this deal, the platform promised to open a non-London office. Leeds was chosen after a series of meetings with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) trade and investment team and the department of international trade.
“Leeds has a strong heritage in financial services and banking, but we wanted to play a major role in the city’s fintech evolution,” said Seema Desai, Iwoca’s chief operating officer.
“We looked at several cities and Leeds stood out as a natural second home from where we could support even more small businesses across the UK. We were particularly impressed with the size and quality of Leeds’ talent pool, its strong and improving infrastructure, as well as the city’s own distinctive culture and soul.
“But, we remain at the start of our journey – our aim is to fund one million small businesses so we need smart, hands-on people to help us reach this goal.”
More than 28,500 people are currently employed in Leeds-based banks and building societies. However, to date the city has had no major fintech presence.
“I am delighted to welcome Iwoca, one of Europe’s largest fintechs, to Leeds City Region following a national selection exercise,” said Roger Marsh OBE DL, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.
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“The region is the second centre for banking in the UK and home to over 30 national and international banks which provides a very favourable ecosystem for fintechs to thrive.
“This coupled with a pipeline bursting with talent and a supportive business environment, ensures that the region is an attractive place for global fintech companies to invest and grow.”