The story of Qred
Once upon a time, it was a relatively young and aspiring entrepreneur who would start a business. Then there was a lot that was new, exciting and unknown. The very first thing that needed to be done was to get a bank certificate that the hard-earned share capital was paid in. Proudly, the small entrepreneur went to the nearest bank to announce that he wanted to open an account for the new business and deposit hundreds of thousands of kronor in cash.
He enthusiastically told the banker about his plans, who asked why the entrepreneur had chosen to come to their bank. Since they had been named commercial bank of the year, the entrepreneur thought the question felt a bit strange, but replied that it seemed like a good bank for companies. After a 15-minute meeting, the entrepreneur was told that the bank did not think the business idea seemed well thought out and that he unfortunately could not become a customer of the bank. The news came as a cold shower. How is that possible? He didn't want to borrow money from the bank, he just wanted to deposit 100,000 kronor into an account. Maybe the banker was right. Thankfully, he didn't give up, but found another bank that was more understanding.
The young entrepreneur was me. Later, I learned that I am far from alone in feeling diminished by the bank. It makes me angry. Especially considering that 4 out of 5 new jobs are created by small business owners and that Sweden's future prosperity depends to a large extent on us creating new growing companies.
Today, 15 years later, I am what is commonly referred to as a serial entrepreneur. I love creating new businesses and shaking up old tired structures. First the monopoly of televerket was challenged, and then Svenska Spel. Now the luck has come to the oligopoly of the banks.
After many years of work, I have established contacts with good and knowledgeable bankers, but for new entrepreneurs it is hardly the open arms waiting at the bank office. Not to mention when you need capital to grow and develop your business. Business loans can basically be forgotten if you do not have many years of history and a turnover of 10 million or more. If you are not a childhood friend of the bank manager, you need lots of documentation – business plans, budgets, period accounts and not least that you are a full customer of the bank with bank giro, debit cards and pension savings. Preferably also private and for a long time.
We know that small businesses are often forced to turn to family and friends for funding or there is a risk of non-growth. While banks are extremely profitable and interest rates are at historic lows, lending to small businesses is declining. Beautiful! There is room here for a new business, I thought.
We at Qred want to help companies grow. We want all companies to get the treatment and respect they deserve. It shouldn't be harder to get a business loan than to buy a book online and if you have a smart digital solution, you should be able to leave a message in just a few minutes. In addition, by skipping fancy offices and expensive civil servants, we can reduce costs.
Now we hope to help many small business owners and make the banks a little, a little more humble.
Emil Sunvisson, CEO and co-founder