Senior Worldfirst Executive Oliver Whelan joins UK fintech Storfund
After a six month search, Storfund has appointed Worldfirst’s former Global Head of Enterprise, Oliver Whelan, as its Chief Revenue Officer. Whelan, who spent almost a decade at payments fintech Worldfirst, will be responsible for accelerating Storfund’s rapid and profitable growth.
Available in 20 countries on the world’s biggest marketplaces, including Cdiscount, Back Market, PcComponentes, Fyndiq and Amazon, Storfund is one of the UK’s fastest growing fintechs. But what’s more remarkable in an industry obsessed with scaling loss-making operations, Storfund has achieved this growth whilst turning a profit.
The founders took the decision to fund growth from revenue rather than external capital, believing this would create an impact-driven culture: growth would only come if clients saw that its service was worth paying for.
“Unlike its competitors, Storfund has focused on its product and, most importantly, its customers” said Whelan, “it knows why it exists and it hasn’t forgotten this in the pursuit of growth.” Storfund is the only European provider of factoring – immediate payment on sales – to marketplace sellers, an essential service given businesses wait 42 days on average to get paid.
“Cashflow remains the biggest challenge for ecommerce businesses,” said Whelan. “There are a few start-ups offering loans to ecommerce sellers, but Storfund is still the only European fintech to offer working capital in the form of factoring. Traditional banks, even digital challenger banks, still don’t understand the ecommerce sector.”
“Storfund’s potential is immense,” said Whelan, “it is offering a simple solution to an industry worth almost £4 trillion.”
Demand for its service means that Storfund has doubled the financing it provides every year for the past three years; and last autumn Storfund announced that it had put in place financing which would enable it to provide up to £5 billion each year to ecommerce businesses. Whelan’s task will be to capitalise on this momentum, drawing on his experience at Worldfirst.
Worldfirst’s breakneck growth saw it transfer over £70 billion for customers between its launch in 2004 and 2019 when it was acquired by Ant Group, in one of the largest deals by the world’s largest fintech. As Wordfirst’s Global Head of Enterprise, Whelan was responsible for negotiating the business’s largest strategic ecommerce and financial partnerships.
“Worldfirst’s success was driven by its culture,” said Whelan, “and Storfund is the same. It has a fantastic team and loyal, enthusiastic customers – over a third of new business comes from recommendations”.
“The strength of our product, our funding structure and obsession with profitable growth enables us to stay 100% focused on our mission, said George Brintalos, CEO and Co-Founder, “it’s also one of the reasons we are able to attract exceptional talent like Oliver and continue to hire whilst the industry as a whole is retrenching.”
The tech industry has been awash with venture capital over the past three years, and Storfund’s unusual decision not to take external capital puts it in a strong position to weather the market downturn, which has particularly affected the value of tech businesses. Without the pressure for returns, Storfund is well placed to continue growing via steady expansion.
The next few years will be all about expansion through partnerships with fast-growing marketplaces across Europe, Asia and the Americas. “Oliver is the right person at the right time,” said Akbar Ahsan, Co-Founder, “not only does he have an enviable track record and a vast network, he’s also the right cultural fit. He has an entrepreneurial mindset and gets our mentality of rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck-in, but he also brings the discipline and process-driven thinking that large corporations instil, which will be crucial as our international operations expand even further.”
Whelan’s appointment follows Storfund’s strategy of appointing experienced ecommerce executives to senior roles. Other notable hires include David Rolls from Amazon and Margaret-Anne Galvin from Cdiscount.