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Fintech for good startup to scale up after securing £1mn in funding round

Melanie May | 20 October 2023 | News

Lightning Reach application portal on laptop and phone

Fintech for good startup Lightning Reach is to scale up after securing £1mn in a funding round with new investment from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Growth Impact Fund, amongst others.

The investment will allow Lightning Reach to increase the number of grant-giving organisations it works with from 20 plus now, to more than 100 within two years. The company plans to recruit more individuals and partner organisations, expand its resource network for more comprehensive support, and introduce new features.

Lightning Reach helps people in need get rapid access to emergency hardship cash grants and other support, enabling them to find and apply for support from multiple sources, such as charitable grants, and funding from local councils.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

One-stop solution

It provides a one-stop solution letting individuals to check their eligibility for support schemes and reducing repetitive form filling and paperwork for applications. In many cases, it says, this cuts down the wait for help from weeks to days. Founded during the pandemic by entrepreneur Ren Yi Hooi, Lightning Reach has registered more than 60,000 people in the UK and facilitated over £6 million in grant funding via its financial support portal to date.

On average £1,000 per successful applicant has been awarded directly by its partners. Lightning Reach works with charities like the Royal British Legion and Teaching Staff Trust, local authorities and housing associations including Lambeth Council and PA Housing, and financial institutions including TSB.

Investment round

The new investment round comes from a combination of impact investors including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Growth Impact Fund run by Big Issue Invest and UnLtd, European angel fund Angel Invest run by Jag Singh and other angels such as Mary McKenna (this year’s UKBAA Angel Investor of the year) and Shefali Roy (former COO of TrueLayer).  

Gareth Oakley, CEO of Cash Access UK, has also joined the Lightning Reach board as Chair following this funding round, while investor Mary McKenna has been appointed as a Director.

Ren Yi Hooi, Founder and CEO of Lightning Reach said:

“We’re delighted to have closed our funding round with a brilliant group of investors who are not only aligned with our social mission but bring real value to our core business with their diverse set of expertise across financial inclusion, technology, and systems change.


“I’m grateful to everyone involved for their belief in Lightning Reach. We’re here to enable organisations to increase their reach and streamline their support to people facing financial vulnerability, and would love to collaborate with anyone working in this space.”