FinTech firm and business lender iwoca has today announced it will open a new office in Leeds.

Earlier this year, iwoca announced that it had secured a £10m grant via the Capability and Innovation Fund with the aim of helping businesses improve lending or payment services to SMEs across the UK.

As part of the win, the firm committed to opening a regional office to better serve its UK-wide customer base, of which 79 percent are outside of London.

The new office comes after the company received support from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Trade and Investment team and the Department of International Trade throughout the decision-making process.

The city will eventually accommodate up to 100 of its employees and be home to the firm’s growing team of developers, customer support officers and relationship managers.

The first office is due to open early in the new year.

iwoca has increased headcount by 50 percent in the last year, currently employing over 300 people the majority of which work in its London offices, with a further 10 in Frankfurt, and up to 100 new jobs created in Leeds by 2023.

“Leeds has a strong heritage in financial services and banking, but we wanted to play a major role in the city’s Fintech evolution,” said Seema Desai, iwoca’s COO.

“We looked at several cities and Leeds stood out as a natural second home from where we could support even more small businesses across the UK. We were particularly impressed with the size and quality of Leeds’ talent pool, its strong and improving infrastructure, as well as the city’s own distinctive culture and soul.

“But, we remain at the start of our journey – our aim is to fund one million small businesses so we need smart, hands-on people to help us reach this goal.”

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11 added: “I am delighted to welcome iwoca, one Europe’s largest Fintechs, to Leeds City Region following a national selection exercise.

“The region is second centre for banking in the UK employing over 28,500 and home to over 30 national and international banks which provides a very favourable ecosystem for FinTechs to thrive.

“This coupled with a pipeline bursting with talent and supportive business environment, ensures that the region is an attractive place for global FinTech companies to invest and grow.”