ilumoni, the start-up app that aims to help people to borrow well, has raised £1.2m in an over-subscribed seed funding round after successfully launching in Beta earlier this year.
The purpose-led, AI-driven fintech had previously raised £455,000 in pre-seed funding, which saw the initial build of the first version of the app. The app went on to receive full FCA authorisation in January of 2021 and has already attracted its first beta users.
The free to use app helps people to understand and manage their borrowing better. ilumoni delivers rich, personal insights into how users borrow and repay, with full visibility of what they owe, including how long it will take to repay and how much their borrowing will cost in interest. This is combined with prompts and future scenarios that users can interact with to find repayment amounts or alternative products that cost less in interest, help pay balances sooner, or free up cash.
The latest round of investment was over-subscribed, despite two increases, and has attracted an additional 20 plus angel investors to the business. The new funding will take the product to market and beyond, with general App and Play Store release planned for later in the year. Early adopters are able to become beta users of the app via the ilumoni website.
In addition to the funding, ilumoni has appointed two Non-Executive Directors to its board, new investor James Eden and existing investor Simon Moran.
Eden commented, “While there are many emerging tools that champion consumers’ financial degrees of freedom, there aren’t any that provide an independent view of borrowing and debt, despite the impact it can have on people’s financial and mental wellbeing. The purpose behind ilumoni, level of innovation and credentials of the team were more than enough to convince me this was an investment worth making. So much so that I am delighted also to be joining the board.”
Ilumoni CEO, Gary Wigglesworth, added, “We’re thrilled to have such a ringing endorsement of ilumoni with an over-subscribed funding round. There is a huge opportunity to help people to borrow well and it’s more important now than ever.”
According to the FCA, over half of all UK adults pay interest on their borrowing, rising to almost 2/3 of working age adults, and recent statistics from StepChange show that 42% of people have experienced a negative change in circumstances since the pandemic.
Wigglesworth went on to say, “Many borrowers need to manage their debt better, yet there is very little help available until they’re faced with formal debt management, such as IVAs. As with anything, prevention is better than cure, and we believe in better borrowing for everyone. ilumoni provides a tool that not only demystifies borrowing but provides practical ways to relieve the stress of debt and reduce how much it costs. We can’t wait to show people how, very often, small changes can make a big difference, and encourage them to borrow well.”
The same FCA study revealed that 59% (30.6m) of adults are either overwhelmed by or overconfident in their financial numeracy; 45% of 18-24 year olds rate their financial knowledge as low, a rise from 1 in 3 in 2017, despite financial literacy being part of the curriculum since 2014.
Wigglesworth concluded by saying, “Let’s face it, for most of us, calculating the cost of your borrowing and making sure you pay back optimally on the best deals is neither easy nor a fun way to spend your time. And we now expect young adults to emerge from school with financial literacy skills, yet they have no frame of reference. We want to change that and give people the tools to help them manage their borrowing, so that they can spend time on the things they want to do, knowing their borrowing is under control.”
AI fintech startup, ilumoni, was founded to help millions of people borrow better, save on unnecessary interest payments and repay debts faster. Founded in 2019, ilumoni is the UK’s first AI-powered borrower wellbeing app, which uses open banking, credit and market data to build a fast, accurate and realistic picture of the user’s debt. The free app provides insights that help users take targeted action, such as making affordable changes to payments or switching to a more competitive financial product.
ilumoni was founded by Gary Wigglesworth and Jonathan Corner, who have worked in leadership roles for the likes of first direct, HSBC and Egg. The co-founders and ilumoni management team have decades of experience spanning financial services, data science, technology, regulation and risk.
ilumoni has been part of the FCA Innovation Hub and was granted FCA authorisation across all four permissions of account and credit information services, credit broking and debt counselling on 11th January 2021.
Also in January 2021, ilumoni was named one of Business Insider Yorkshire’s 50 Most Exciting Companies, having debuted at 21 in Business Cloud’s Yorkshire & Humberside Tech 50 in November 2020.
About James Eden
James Eden has worked in financial services for over 20 years and built his career as an Equity Research Analyst in the banking sector, frequently ranking as the number 1 European Banks Analyst during his time at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. He is now a professional adviser to private companies, using his analytical experience to back those he believes offer the best risk/reward profile, and is a Non-Executive Director on the Board of 14 other companies.
About Simon Moran
Simon Moran has 23 years’ Board and Executive experience in specialist FCA regulated lending business Premium Credit, where he is now a Non-Executive Director. Premium Credit is the number one insurance premium finance company in the UK and Ireland with over 2.1 million customers and funded loan advances of £3.6 billion. As Chief Sales & Marketing Officer he joined the company in 1998. Prior to this he was Sales & Marketing Director at Transamerica Insurance Finance Company where he established the model for commercial premium finance in the UK. He is now a Non- Executive Director and investor on the Board of financial services and manufacturing and retail companies.