Upstream becomes part of London-based finance firm Cubitt

Judith Totten and Alan Wardlow of Upstream

BELFAST alternative finance specialist Upstream has become part of London-based speciality finance group Cubitt Trade Holdings in what its owner says is "a game-changer" for the business.

It means Upstream, the north’s only privately-owned provider of working capital into the SME and corporate business sectors, becomes one of only five independently-run finance companies in the UK and Ireland operating as part of Cubitt.

But Upstream, which has just marked its 10th anniversary, will retain its corporate DNA, its name, and will be expanding its Irish team as part of the deal.

“Having the support of such a significant investment partner is a true game-changer for Upstream,” its founder Judith Totten MBE said

“For a decade we've been known for providing working capital for growth-focused SMEs and, whilst this will continue to be an integral element of our offering, we are now in a position where we can support much larger corporate deals for businesses who may have existing bank relationships, but require an added line of funding, which can act as an innovative but ultimately integral part of the client’s overall funding package.

“Thanks to Cubitt, we will now be pursuing an aggressive growth programme throughout the island of Ireland that will also include acquisitions if the right opportunities present themselves.”

She added: “Our operating model will continue as before and there will be no disruption to our systems or clients. We now simply have the freedom and backing to escalate our growth plans across Ireland. The agility, flexibility and empathy our clients have always enjoyed will not change.

“Upstream has a stable, committed and exceptionally well capitalised funding and equity partner, with a demonstrable appetite to grow and develop a bigger and stronger business across Ireland. We have partners who mirror and endorse our ambitions, and I hope we can help our existing and new clients even more than before.”

Upstream sales director Alan Wardlow said the timing of the new partnership could not have been better.

“The landscape of SME and corporate finance is changing dramatically, and the impact of Brexit and the pandemic have accelerated these changes. For many businesses it is no longer a case of approaching a bank and seeking a simple overdraft or term debt.

“Their needs are often much more complex than that and require a multi-layer funding approach if they are to maximise their working capital potential. In particular, Upstream will seek to fund companies’ Supply Chain requirements as well as its traditional invoice financing, on a standalone or end-to-end basis thereby supporting the cash flow cycle from start to finish.

“With the post pandemic economic recovery now beginning to take shape and traditional banks adopting a more cautious approach to lending, our new relationship with Cubitt means we can truly fulfil our purpose of enabling ‘Fearless Growth’ among companies as a means of driving economic recovery throughout the island.”

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