Citi Selects Foro Holdings to Scale Bridge Built by Citi Platform via Strategic Acquisition

Citi (NYSE: C) announced the acquisition of its Bridge built by Citi® platform (“Bridge”) by Foro Holdings, Inc. (Foro), a Charlotte-based commercial lending services provider.

As part of the transaction, Citi contributed Bridge to Foro and “joined Foro’s investors, including TTV Capital (TTV), US Bank and Correlation Ventures in an additional capital investment in Foro to support the continued growth of the business.”

Bridge is a digital platform that “connects small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with more than 75 lenders across the United States to provide qualifying businesses with access to capital.”

The platform digitally “connects SMBs with lenders to offer them greater choice and convenience.” Bridge provides lenders “with the opportunity to diversify their businesses, broaden their customer base and offer borrowers a high-quality experience.”

Foro will use the new capital investment “to scale the business and expand the services it provides to SMBs, local and regional banks, community banks, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and non-traditional lenders.”

Citi will be a minority investor “in Foro and it will continue to support the platform in various ways including ongoing connectivity with Citi’s Diverse Financial Institutions Group.”

In addition, Tasnim Ghiawadwala, Global Head of Citi Commercial Bank, will join Foro’s Board of Directors.

Bridge co-founders Rohit Mathur and Harte Thompson, “who collectively have 20 years of experience at Citi, have been named Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Foro, respectively.”

Mathur said:

“We developed Bridge to simplify and modernize the lending process for both borrowers and lenders. Our goal is to democratize access to capital for SMBs by providing a digital tool to connect with a range of lenders, while offering lenders a more efficient prospecting process and a way to expand their reach without having to build their own infrastructure. With the support of Foro, Bridge will continue to grow and provide innovative solutions for the lending market.”

David Vorhoff, Foro’s Chairman of the Board, said:

“We are excited to bring in Citi as an investor and welcome Tasnim to the board. We were impressed by what Rohit and Harte have built at Citi and are excited to see our combined platform grow under Rohit’s leadership,”

Citi launched Bridge in 2021 “as part of its long-standing commitment to inclusive access to capital and support of innovative, digital-first solutions in financial services.”

Since its launch, Bridge has grown “from 18 lenders to more than 75 lenders on the platform nationwide. It has also established relationships with large retail corporations to provide their vendor networks with customized access to Bridge.”

The concept for this innovative digital platform was “conceived by Citi Commercial Bank colleagues and its growth and development has been supported within Citi’s Institutional Clients Group.”

Bridge is a demonstration of Citi’s innovation strategy “to identify market problems and develop solutions that drive market efficiency and serve clients.”

Emily Turner, Head of Business Development for Citi’s Institutional Clients Group, said:

“The success of Bridge is a testament to the power of innovation that comes from a global institution like Citi and demonstrates our ability to transform an idea into a product that has the potential to evolve business lending. The firm’s continued investment in Foro signals our confidence in the platform and we are excited to see its impact continue to grow.”

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP served as legal counsel to Citi. K&L Gates LLP served as legal counsel to Foro.

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