James Hickson — “It Took Real Tenacity To Stay True”

James Hickson, CEO of Bloom (Photo © Silicon Luxembourg)

Luxembourg capital distribution firm Bloom Financial Group raised €350m within two years of being founded. CEO James Hickson shares the fintech’s incredible story.

The 2020 pandemic led to an explosion in ecommerce, accelerating a trend that Hickson had observed before the health crisis.

“New businesses suddenly emerged. People started selling kettlebells and that became a huge business, from zero to a million a month in revenue on things like kettlebells,” he says, adding: “In that process, they suddenly had to deal with: ‘I’ve been historically spending 10,000 monthly on inventory, but I now need 50,000. How do I manage that?’ And that’s where businesses like ours can really help.”

Established in 2019, Bloom distributes capital to ecommerce, recurring revenue and SaaS-based businesses to help them grow. It underwrites client business by connecting in real-time to their merchant ecommerce platform, their sales data, bank account data, and making a real time offer for capital of up to £10 million.

“Outside of that, we’ve also built free tools which help people understand their bank account and their cash position, and helps them benchmark their performance to the market and to peers,” explains Hickson.

“Our goal is to become one of the top three players in Europe in what we do.”

Ted Hickson, CEO of Bloom

With offices in the UK, Luxembourg and Romania, today Bloom is operational in the UK. But, with the latest round of Series A funding, raised by Credo Capital Partners and funds managed by Fortress Investment Group,  in 2022 it plans to expand operations to Germany, Italy and Spain.

“Our goal is to become one of the top three players in Europe in what we do. Part of that is building great products with great pricing, and with a great team and I think right now we’re in a really good place,” Hickson says.

The journey has, however, been a slog, the CEO says: “Raising the seed round was just an intense amount of effort. We had 1,000 hours of pitching and we got rejected […] It took real tenacity to stay true.”

After securing seed funding in May 2021, Bloom completed its platform and worked on POCs before returning to the market for the Series A.

“Raising money during covid taught us that you can’t take capital for granted. And you have to deliver a superior product,” Hickson says. Now his team will focus on deploying the capital and putting “it in the hands of ecommerce merchants and business and digital entrepreneurs that need it.”

Bloom’s success is also a testament to the founder’s professional background. The British national, who has lived in the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Hungary and Luxembourg, left a 15-year career with Morgan Stanley to lead a startup for two years before establishing Bloom. “In New York I ended up running fintech for Morgan Stanley globally, getting exposed to really cool entrepreneurs that were inspiring for me,” he says. He chose to remain in Luxembourg because of its “good innovators”, its location and strong fintech ecosystem.

This article was first published in the Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Read the full digital version of the magazine on our website, here. You can also choose to receive a hard copy at the office or at home. Subscribe now.

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