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Spanish Fintech Twinco raises €2.5m to make our products more ethical

Supply chain finance is nothing new, but Twinco's pitch is that it can help companies behave more ethically and provide workers, many of which are in Bangladesh, with better conditions.

By Tim Smith in Barcelona

Impact-driven fintech Twinco Capital has raised €2.5m to expand its supply-chain financing business in another sign of the willingness of venture capital funds to back startups with a “tech for good” angle.

Twinco offers affordable loans to factories when they receive a purchase order so they can buy raw materials and pay wages before they actually receive invoices from customers.

Most supply chain financing provides liquidity once the goods have been shipped and the invoice is issued, but Twinco provides money to factories much earlier. 

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Their pitch is that it can help companies behave more ethically and provide workers, many of which are in Bangladesh, better conditions.

Cofounder Sandra Nolasco says that getting paid later “reduces your capacity to invest in production systems that are more socially responsible”, pointing out that factories in Bangladesh receiving Twinco loans have launched initiatives like providing kindergarten for workers’ children and free sanitary products.

“The company needs to have the capacity and the margins to invest in those kinds of things, everything that has to do with women-related sanitary health, even things like sanitary pads actually improve the health of the workforce,” she adds. “It reduces absenteeism in a very concrete way and improves productivity and improves the general working conditions in the factory.”

Launched in 2018, Twinco has financed more than $2m in loans as part of its first financing programme in partnership with a Spanish fashion house. Nolasco says the Series A round, led by Finch Capital, will enable the company to scale its team as it prepares its second finance programme.

The only woman in the room

The female cofounder duo Nolasco and Carmen Marin say they are proud to be bringing greater gender representation to the world of south European fintech, with more than 35 years of experience in banking between them.

Nolasco, who has worked in banks across Europe, says Iberian professional culture in the financial sector still has a long way to go, “It’s true that if you come down to Portugal and Spain I would say that the finance industry is still very male orientated and needs to do a lot of catching up.”

And while the startup world of fintech may be more advanced, Nolasco says her and Marin are still in the minority, “You’re less often the only woman in the room. Having said that, I was presenting Twinco at an SME [small medium enterprise] finance forum in 2018, there were 14 companies and out of those 14 pitches I was the only woman.”

Nolasco says that it’s hugely gratifying to be helping women in vulnerable communities through their financing model and hopes Twinco will be able to strengthen communities in more locations as the company scales.

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