How Began – Our Founder’s Story

Dan Rajkumar set up Web Translations in 2001. Over the next ten years it became a successful business, translating its clients’ websites using a network of translators located across the world to help them penetrate new markets. During that time Dan built up a good rapport with his bank and was able to source finance as and when the business required it to aid growth.

However, like many small business owners, he found the rules of the game had changed once the recession hit: “My bank’s lending criteria and its attitude to risk had changed and the types of products being offered to me, including factoring and invoice financing, were not right for the business.

“As a service business I couldn’t offer the types of fixed assets required by the bank and I didn’t want anything secured against my personal property – that’s why I run a limited company. What I really needed was a loan, but the only terms available came with an APR of 17.5 per cent. It was unaffordable”, said Dan.

Dan didn’t take up the banks offer; instead he turned to a local enterprise fund. It was able to help him, but took 82 days to process his application, by which time the needs of the business had moved on.

With further growth of Web Translations dependent on new sources of finance, Dan did some more digging and unearthed crowdfunding, which had been a big success in America. After a bit more research he decided to apply for a loan through a crowdfunding UK platform. He went on to have his loan application filled by a network of individual investors, well over 100 in fact, and was presented with a repayment APR he was happy with.

“What crowdfunding showed me was that there is capital available for businesses and an appetite to lend money on the part of individuals who can get a better return than offered by the banks. I was able to receive the finance quickly and on good terms to support my business.

“With my computing and management background I thought I could easily recreate the experience, but crucially I could build in value to the process and make it more interactive. Businesses could benefit from the word of mouth and social media support of their investors and lenders could invest in the person behind the business as much as what’s on the balance sheet. That’s the fundamental difference between and other crowdfunding sites”, added Dan.

And was formed, with the aim of making finance social and helping other businesses like Web Translations crucially access the finance that could be the difference between success and failure.

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