BRITISH bank OakNorth has se­cured a £154 million investment as it hopes to lend an additional £1.5 billion to UK firms in 2018.

Founded in September 2015, OakNorth provides debt finance (£500k to £20m) to British busi­nesses, and its clients include Leon, Galliard Homes, Frogmore, Brasserie Blanc, Strawberry Star, and The Collective.

Its loans have helped create more than 3,000 new homes and 2,000 new jobs in the UK, a state­ment from the bank said.

Rishi Khosla (right), CEO and co-founder of OakNorth, said: “This funding will enable us to boost our lending by an addi­tional £1.5bn and add thousands more jobs and homes in the UK.”

He added: “We’ve worked with some of the UK’s most inspiring and ambitious entrepreneurs, and have helped over 150 busi­nesses achieve their growth am­bitions. While we have reached an £800m loan book in two years, we know that this represents just a fraction of the businesses that need financing support.”

The bank was the headline spon­sor of this year’s Asian Business Awards, hosted by Asian Media Group, publishers of Eastern Eye.

OakNorth has helped busi­nesses through the ACORN data and technology platform, which will now be available to lenders abroad. ACORN’s cloud-based technology sources millions of data items on SMEs across various parameters, sectors, and markets, and then uses machine learning algorithms to pull out the pieces of data that lenders need to make more informed credit decisions.

Khosla said: “Through ACORN we will be able to help lenders around the world unlock the un­derserved and underestimated market for bespoke loans to SMEs.”