With 15 years’ experience in corporate financing, largely focused on matching businesses with funding and investment opportunities, Andrea launched Swoop in 2018 to help SMEs start up, scale up and finance their new ventures.
Arguably the UK’s number one expert in business funding, it’s not hard to see why she is affectionately known to colleagues and industry peers as the ‘Martin Lewis of business finance’.
Andrea grew up in Ireland, the youngest daughter of the late former Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, and owner of Irish pet food company C&D Foods. After graduating from University College Dublin with an Economics degree, she joined KPMG where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant, working with large corporate businesses such as Ryanair and Aircraft Leasing. She later joined KPMG’s management consultancy division in London.
In 2004, she set up her own corporate finance consultancy, counting McLaren Applied Technologies – a division of McLaren F1 – among her clients. Her role was to help SMEs to understand the funding landscape, and match them with suitable funding opportunities.
When the economy crashed in 2008, the funding landscape changed entirely and it became even tougher for SMEs to navigate. They needed Andrea more than ever.
By 2013 she had become a founding partner in business development consultancy, Re.Fresch. While Andrea focused on start-ups, scale-ups and innovations, her colleagues were focusing on larger corporations. She was learning about even more funding opportunities from big corporate businesses.
Andrea realised that if she could create a technology platform that would compress the funding process for SMEs, she could reduce the admin, shorten the decision-making time and intelligently match investors based on customer profiles. So that’s what she did.
By 2017, following a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and with investment from Enterprise Ireland, plus seed investment from a group of UK investors, Swoop was born. By April 2018, it was ready to launch to the public.
Swoop is a platform that integrates a business’s bank accounts and data sources in just a few clicks. Within seconds, Swoop gathers all the information a business needs to apply for funding, and collects the decision-making criteria from thousands of providers. Then it matches the business with suitable funders.
As part of her work with Swoop, Andrea also runs regular funding masterclasses, webinars and workshops for SMEs, to educate teams on the funding landscape, product types, investment applications and investor readiness, among other topics.