A Wilmington fintech firm is expanding with the help of an infusion of $3 million.
Approve, a company that offers a financing platform for equipment sellers, will bring as many as 50 new tech jobs to Wilmington in the coming months as part of an expansion fueled by the $3 million series A funding round recently completed with support from Cofounders Capital, Live Oak Ventures and VentureSouth, according to a news release.
Live Oak Ventures, the investment arm of Live Oak Bancshares, and VentureSouth have both made previous investments in the company, the release stated.
Approve CEO Robert Preville said in the release, “Investments from reputable firms such as these bring experience, talent and big ideas to Wilmington and challenge the expectation that innovation can only be fostered in larger cities or tech centers.”
Preville and Rob Kaiser are part owners of Approve. Preville is part owner of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal along with Kaiser, who is the publisher of the Business Journal and the director of VentureSouth Wilmington.
Launched last year, Approve has 20 employees and is bringing on about 40 equipment distributors as new customers each month, the release stated. It grew out of Wilmington-based Kwipped, which started in 2014 as a B2B equipment rental marketplace and first developed the equipment financing tool
for its own use before expanding it to clients.
Originations on the Approve platform grew 97% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2023 compared with 2022, according to the release. First-quarter originations were 30% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2022.
"With this most recent funding round complete, Approve plans to more than double its Wilmington-based workforce, bringing on 40 to 50 new employees. The company is hiring account executives, finance operations coordinators, a digital marketing manager and multiple developers," the release stated.
Approve officials are also seeking office space for the expansion.
Preville said the new capital "enables the company to pursue an aggressive customer acquisition and product innovation strategy that will bring Approve’s industry-disrupting software to more equipment sellers in food service, construction, manufacturing and many other industries."
According to the release "The new hires will triple the size of the sales team, provide new resources for marketing and expand the development team—a move that will enable faster implementation of the product features Approve plans to introduce as it pursues a long-term vision of making the process of financing equipment 'as easy as using a credit card,' in Preville’s words."