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French fintech expands into UK to rescue £20b platform economy payments

Hot on the heels of 2000% year on year growth, France’s leading B2B deferred payment provider has launched in the UK with senior hires and new landmark customers to support the UK’s growing contingent workforce and platform economy.

Every year over £20 billion is paid via online platforms to the army of freelance workers working for a range of businesses across the UK and, all too often paid very late. Helping these workers and companies get this right since 2019, French fintech Aria is today launching in the UK to be the default deferred payment infrastructure provider for the UK platform economy and B2B marketplaces.

Aria has opened a new office in London and appointed embedded finance and B2B marketplace specialist Tom Lamb as Head of UK to lead its growth efforts and scale the UK team with 6-8 hires expected in 2023. Launching in the UK with both existing clients and new platforms, the launch marks a new chapter on the back of 2000% YoY scale-up growth supporting 20,000 freelancers per month with invoices ranging from £500 to £20,000. They are launching with European leading platforms such as Malt, Brigad and Dweet which are now being funded in the UK and Europe.

Aria supports the growing UK platform economy which comprises the contingent workforce and booming online B2B trade, connecting to marketplaces, transactional SaaS platforms and ERP systems. Aria distributes early payment of supplier invoices and offers deferred payment options for end-clients via their API, letting their platform partners white-label the solution to create brilliant customer experiences and new revenue opportunities.

Aria is Europe’s leading deferred payment infrastructure provider for the platform economy, working with over 100 platforms to solve the payment gap between when suppliers need to get paid and when buyers want to pay for goods and services. Making B2B trade seamless for freelance platforms, B2B marketplaces and Vertical SaaS Aria integrates directly into the platform’s systems enabling instant direct payments to suppliers across Europe and allowing buyers up to 90 days to pay for goods.

Founded in 2019 in Paris by co-founders Clement Carrier and Vincent Folny, as ex-freelancers themselves they understood the pain of waiting for slow payment and uncertainty of income freelancers experience. Since launching their deferred payment API in 2021, Aria has exploded in France and Europe, to become the leading provider of deferred payment for contingent workforce platforms in Europe, working with the largest freelance platforms and marketplaces such as Malt, Brigad, StaffMe and SThree. With a recent debt raise of £50m from M&G Investments Aria is prepped for further growth in the UK and European market with annual finance capacity of over £1bn.

Clément Carrier, CEO and co-founder of Aria, commented: “We built Aria to make instant B2B payments the new standard for the platform economy. Our growth has been fueled by solving a real problem for freelancers and businesses in a way that lets platforms keep control of their customer experience. Opening up the UK market is an important step in our journey to change the way businesses pay and get paid.”

Freelancers contribute approximately £20 billion to the British economy each year. Yet these statistics are largely based on the gig economy which often doesn’t even include the highly skilled end of the freelancer spectrum. Some estimates push this economic contribution further, stating the spiralling growth of the gig economy in the UK could explode to a £63.25 billion contribution to the UK economy by 2026.

When hiring pauses, the freelancer work continues. Fiverr found 78% of companies will rely on freelancing in 2023 rather than add staff with post-pandemic remote policies making it easier than ever to integrate freelancers. Critical talent gaps make it necessary, with year-on-year growth being greatest for web programming (43%), web design (31%) and social media marketing (25%) according to TechRepublic.

With an average delay of 15.6 days, the UK has recorded the worst late payment figures since the end of 2016. One in ten British companies now delays payment to suppliers by more than 30 days. Aria ensures freelancers get paid in 24 hours and know that invoices will not be missed or go unpaid.

Tom Lamb, Head of UK for Aria, commented: “It’s incredibly exciting to be bringing Aria’s technology to the UK, supporting platforms to solve the biggest problem facing many freelancers and suppliers. Post-Covid and in the current economic climate more and more companies are looking online and for contingent workforce solutions but struggle to get the same terms or experience to which they are accustomed. By working with our platform partners we make solving this crucial issue for businesses and freelancers simple, easy and automated.”

The UK launch marks an important step in Aria’s growth and ambition to be the leading deferred payment infrastructure partner to the platform economy. Hiring Tom Lamb as Head of UK brings in expertise as the company looks to support more diverse B2B marketplaces.

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French fintech expands into UK to rescue £20b platform economy payments