Woodsford RxBridge – leading the way with innovative healthcare finance
Woodsford RxBridge: Leading the way on innovative healthcare solutions
Woodsford RxBridge is designed from the ground up to provide funding to healthcare businesses to help them grow.
In this behind-the-scenes interview with Woodsford RxBridge Managing Director, Seb Miles, we review the technology that powers the business, and look back at the successes of last year – a year which saw them win the “One-to-Watch” award in the Specialist Funder of the Year category at the Growth Finance Awards 2019.
Woodsford RxBridge – from proof-of-concept to high growth healthcare lender
In 2016, the Woodsford TradeBridge leadership team, led by Chairman Olivier Bonavero and CEO Mark Coxhead, worked with independent consultant, Nigel Folkes to identify a clear market opportunity to create a technology-powered funding solution for independent healthcare businesses, and more specifically, pharmacies.
Pharmacy is an under-funded sector; it provides an absolutely essential, trusted service to the public, is run by studied and entrepreneurial professionals, services a good customer (the NHS) and has comparable KPIs from one pharmacy business to the next; yet is typically neglected by the major banks.
According to CEO Mark Coxhead, “This made the pharmacy sector a perfect match for Woodsford TradeBridge’s combination of AI-enabled smart data techniques and our own funding.”
Olivier and Mark approached Andy Harwood, an established pharmacy sector specialist, to ensure that the product they built would be fit for purpose, and would support the specific needs of an independent pharmacy business.
Together with data specialists at Woodsford TradeBridge, the team was able to develop a cutting-edge fintech solution to support the growing need for accessible finance in the pharmacy sector. This solution, RxBridge, is based on BridgeIT, the FinTech platform for supply chain finance that Woodsford TradeBridge has already implemented globally, and on which US$millions are transacted annually across multiple sectors.
Woodsford RxBridge: “One to Watch” in the Growth Finance Awards 2019
The Specialist Lender of the Year award recognises the creative use of finance to businesses in a specific sector, or in a specialist or niche way. The panel of judges want to see that the solution has delivered a clear and demonstrable business impact to the client’s business over the past 12 months.
The judges look for clear differentiators including qualitative and quantitative evidence of customer growth, innovation, customer satisfaction, feedback, and impact on the business, sector or industry as a result of the lender’s intervention.
Woodsford RxBridge were thrilled to be nominated as the “One to Watch” in the Specialist Lender category at the Growth Finance Awards 2019.
Pharmacy finance – a growing need
Woodsford RxBridge was established in the summer of 2016 and embarked on a 12-month “proof-of-concept” phase, resulting in funds out of £1m over a relatively short period of time.
Seb Miles joined the team in 2017 to head up Woodsford RxBridge. “I was previously Head of Pharmacy and Healthcare for the business credit division of Shawbrook Bank – providing asset based lending facilities to healthcare businesses in the SME market. I was really impressed by the scalable technology engine developed at Woodsford TradeBridge, and I was delighted to join an organisation that was truly focused on the specific funding needs of the healthcare sector.”
Woodsford RxBridge achieved 500% growth in funding out over the ensuing 12-month period, and the following year saw a further 100% increase. This is set to double again this financial year.
According to Woodsford TradeBridge CEO Mark Coxhead:
“Under Seb’s leadership, and with his significant understanding of how the pharmacy sector is funded, the quantum of Woodsford RxBridge funds out has increased to £20m over a staggeringly short period of time”.
How Woodsford RxBridge healthcare finance works
Algorithms extrapolate the NHS data and the business’ trading patterns, which Woodsford RxBridge then overlay with a deep understanding of the debt cycle in the healthcare sector. By combining sophisticated data interrogation tools and sector expertise, we can quickly derive the quantum of funding that can be offered, giving ambitious businesses the freedom to grow.
As the lending book grows, so does the level of intelligence available to the Woodsford RxBridge engine, BridgeIT. In this way, the pace of growth contributes to the evolution of the algorithm. This improves both the speed of the process and the predictive accuracy of the funding calculator.
Woodsford RxBridge helps Wellbeing Pharmacies to scale their estate
Starting their growth journey ten years ago with the purchase of a single pharmacy group of 13, Wellbeing Pharmacies Limited, have used the scalable Woodsford RxBridge working capital facility to help them put their estate on the map.
“Woodsford RxBridge’s facility has been built from the bottom up, specifically to meet the needs of pharmacy groups like ours.”
Fred Gourlay, Finance Director, Wellbeing Pharmacies Limited
What the future holds for healthcare finance
In summer 2019, following a period of sustained growth and continuous improvement, the Woodsford RxBridge platform was updated with new functionality. One of the most significant recent updates allows NHS statement data to be quickly and automatically extracted.
In the most recent evolution of our product, we now bring together general business information with NHS risk data to provide an overall client score.
This update makes the application process and credit decision for new businesses even faster than before. For example, the platform combines information on a pharmacy contract, longevity, financial performance and gearing with NHS statement information. This drives the credit limits and pricing, making the whole process more streamlined and speeding up the credit and risk assessment.
Funding pharmacy growth
Woodsford RxBridge prescription factoring finance delivers rapid working capital where it is most needed. This is particularly effective because there are no restrictions on use – clients can use it to invest in the business or for personal reasons – and we offer the highest quantum in the market.
Woodsford RxBridge have unparalleled experience in the pharmacy sector, with over 200 facilities arranged to date. Most importantly, it sits alongside existing bank facilities. This means that pharmacies can draw down what they need with same day, online access with no impact to their banking relationships.
Managing Director, Seb Miles is proud of what the business has achieved:
“Woodsford RxBridge continues to lead the way in providing discretionary working capital for the pharmacy sector. I’m so proud of the team here, and what we have achieved. The opportunity is immense and BridgeIT, the technology that sits behind the business, is eminently scalable. I am looking forward to exploring and expanding into new healthcare sector opportunities in 2020, starting with our offering to dentistry which starts in March. Another exciting year ahead!”