Spend some time on the Barclays Rise website and you’ll see the phrase “The mind of a startup with the expertise of a bank”. In an event held yesterday at Rise, MarketInvoice Co-Founder and CEO, Anil Stocker, echoed this sentiment in talking about our partnership with Barclays.

He spoke about the bank’s 300+ year legacy and the strength of the relationships they’ve built during that time. He described how our collaboration aims to empower that loyal network of business banking customers with MarketInvoice’s tech-led solutions. For Anil, it’s about giving the bank’s 1000 Relationship Managers a tool to say “yes” more often to entrepreneurs looking to fund high growth businesses.

Anil was joined by Mark Bembridge, Founder and CEO of Smartology and a long-time customer of MarketInvoice. Smartology is one of the top 10 AI companies in the UK with a unique semantic matching platform that brings content and audiences together. Caught between having to pay their creditors monthly and waiting 90 days to get paid by their debtors, Mark described the moment he found MarketInvoice as “game-changing”. For Smartology, invoice finance fixes a fundamental problem and enables them to keep the business running.

Presenting to the Barclays High Growth and Entrepreneur teams alongside Regional Area Business Manager, James Whitaker, Mark and Anil spoke candidly about building their businesses from the ground up. In a spirited Q&A session, they also shared the things keeping them up at night now as both MarketInvoice and Smartology scale rapidly to the next level.

A key theme that came up throughout the session was the importance of relationships. Whether that’s between businesses and their customers, staff, partners, banks or funding providers, these connections can make all the difference. In sharing his top advice for other founders, Mark highlighted the relationships with his team as a defining factor for success.

“You can have the best idea in the world,” Mark explained. “But without the right people around you, the whole thing would just fall apart.”

Anil pointed to staying close to our customers as his richest source of inspiration when things get tough. He also spoke about the breadth of MarketInvoice’s relationship with Barclays which actually began 8 years ago in 2011.

“When we started MarketInvoice we needed a bank account. We spoke to all the high street banks and Barclays was the only bank that said yes,” Anil recalled. “I can still remember meeting with our Relationship Manager, Rob, who had been with the bank for 25 years. He sat across the desk from me and he said yes, I think I can help you. As an entrepreneur, so many people say no that when somebody finally says yes, you’ll always remember that person.”