Alba bank targets private investors in £5m cash call
Jim McColl: bank founder
Scots entrepreneur Jim McColl’s challenger bank for SMEs is raising £5 million in Series A funding through an offer to private investors.
Led by Seismic Venture Partners it will ease Alba’s transition to second-stage operational status under a restricted licence.
The Seismic Opportunities investment fund will enable new investors to collectively own nearly half of the business.
Alba is looking to revolutionise banking funding for SMEs in the same way that Monzo and Revolut are for retail consumers.
McColl, who Chairman and CEO of Clyde Blowers and former owner of Ferguson Marine shipyard, is a founder investor in Alba and a non-executive director, along with ten other entrepreneurs.
The bank will launch with 35 staff, including a team who aim to build cose relationships with customers rather than rely on automation and algorithms.
Chief executive Rod Ashley, the former head of Airdrie Savings Bank, said “These bank managers will be authorised and empowered to make lending, overdraft and other financing decisions, much like the bank managers we used to have.”
Mr Ashley, who is currently on the advisory board of the Adam Smith Business School in Glasgow, believes this will be particularly important as the economy attempts to emerge from the recession created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rod Ashley: ‘broadening the investor base’
The Series A round is being offered directly to smaller investors with a minimum investment size of £1,000 subject to self-certification as a sophisticated or high net worth investor.
Mr Ashley said: “We are really excited by the opportunity to broaden our investor base to local people in the local areas we are looking to develop and grow into.
“Our existing investors have been fantastic in their support to date and it is an important part of our journey to open up this investment to a broader range of investors using our planned pod network in cities across the UK including Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Middlesbrough.”