Lara Gilman | Co-lead of iwocaPay | iwoca

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“Last year we hit our target of more than £1 billion in funding, which is very exciting” – Lara Gilman co-lead of iwocaPay features on Searching for Mana podcast.

With 1 in 4 small businesses concerned that they won’t survive into 2021, Lara Gilman talks on ​Searching for Mana​ podcast about expanding the financial possibilities available to small business owners.

“Culture has been a big part of iwoca – we want to make sure we keep adapting and learning how to build new products, as accessible as we can be and being responsible in the FinTech scene,” says Lara when interviewed by Lloyd Wahed and Mimi Nguyen on Searching for Mana podcast. Searching for Mana is a progressive podcast celebrating leaders and founders in the tech and finance space.

On the podcast, Lara shares iwoca’s ambitions to bring products when and where small businesses need it, which comes as the company recently launched a new tech product called “iwocaPay”. iwocaPay gives customers a choice over when they make repayments, allowing them to choose payment terms of up to 90 days. At the same time, suppliers will be paid immediately through iwoca. Addressing the needs of both business customers and suppliers will help improve cash flow and give greater confidence to small businesses as they return to work in the coming weeks and months.

When asked about how intelligent the technology is, Lara speaks about striking a balance between drawing on the strengths of technology and of humans: “iwoca can consume and understand data but we also have a philosophy that machines are good at some things, and humans are also good at some things. We have to be able to lend the benefit of machines and humans. Machines help us consume data and recognise patterns in data but they’re not so good at client concentration risk. For us, it’s important to blend in that human part”.
Ultimately, Lara’s drive for product innovation is underpinned by one overarching company mission: “Our mission for a long time has been to fund 1 million businesses and the reason is because we want to ensure that we focus on helping small businesses”.

Episode Notes

4:10 how was iwoca in 2014 at Series A and the power of people behind creating products and innovations (guest Mimi Nguyen)

7:21 iwoca in 2020 funding last year over 1 billion. Culture being a big part of iwoca

9:45 Mission of SME lending and what is iwocaPay?

22:45 How is technology supporting the underwriting process? The balance between machines and humans in the decision process.

24:50 How did COVID-19 affected iwoca and it’s clients?

30:00 Fintech 2.0

32:32 Lara’s background and what brought her to fintech

39:15 Lara’s mana – what has shaped her career

48:27 What makes a good researcher?

Also published on Medium.