25 July 2012 by Tina
As the entries for this year's Smarta 100 continue
to come in, we are catching up with previous winners.
Here Paul Aitken, the founder of short-term loan provider borro, explains how
he enjoyed the experience of winning the Smarta 100.
What stage was your business at when you won the Smarta
100 last year?
Borro started lending in March 2009 and we've been rapidly
growing since. Last year when we won Smarta 100 our focus was on
scaling our UK operations - our loan book and average loan value
have more than tripled since.
Why did you enter the awards?
We entered the Smarta 100 to further increase borro's profile as
a leader in the alternative finance space.
What was the experience like?
It was a fun experience getting the whole company involved in
promoting borro through our online and offline networks.
How has your business benefited from being a part of
Being part of Smarta 100 has provided us with a great platform
to promote the business and further educate people on our type of
lending. We have always placed a focus on PR and using the media to
increase awareness and exposure - in Q4 of 2011 alone we had PR
coverage equivalent to over £1m worth of advertising spend. Being
named as a Smarta 100 winner helped with establishing the
recognition of borro as an innovative and fast-growing business in
What has your business achieved since being named a
Smarta 100 winner?
We have proven that we can scale and expand internationally at
minimum time and investment. We made the decision to launch in the
US in mid-October 2011, issued our first loan in mid-December and
by January 2012 we hit the ground running fully operational. It's
been going amazingly well and in March this year we already crossed
the $1M barrier of issued loans in the US.
What is your top tip for any company thinking of
entering Smarta 100 this year?
This is really a numbers game so promote your business using
your networks as well as social media. Leverage your connections
and get people behind you. This is a great opportunity to really
get some traction with your product and get your name out
For all the information on the Smarta 100, together with
O2, and how to enter click here, www.smarta.com/100.