New York private equity firm General Atlantic is investing $250 million in the UK supply chain finance (SCF) provider Greensill Capital, giving the seven-year old lender a valuation of $1.64 billion.

Since its formation in 2011, Greensill has facilitated payments to 1.5 million suppliers and provided over $40 billion of financing across 50 countries. The company has been closely held until now and General Atlantic is its first institutional investor.

“Today, almost all working capital is provided by banks,” said chief executive Lex Greensill, “We’re using technology to make it possible for small companies to get funded at rates that would otherwise have only been available to much bigger companies.

Greensill previously led the global supply-chain finance businesses of Morgan Stanley and Citibank, before setting up his company. He said that with General Atlantic’s minority investment, he hopes that Greensill can expand into new markets where its US investor has an established presence, including Brazil, India and China, and to find ways to support more customers.

“We’re trying to lever technology to transform the financial-services space, and in effect, fill voids that have been left behind by the large banks,” added Bill Ford, CEO of General Atlantic. “Lex is nothing if not ambitious. We made this investment based on their growth story.”

Greensill has developed its SCF portfolio by enabling suppliers to receive their money earlier than the 30, 60 or 90-day period after purchase typically imposed in many contracts. In return for earlier payment a fee that in most cases is less than 1% is charged based on the payment due.

Since its formation, the company has added other types of working capital finance to SCF and its client portfolio includes suppliers to companies such as Vodafone Group, General Mills, Airbus and Boeing.

Greensill also owns Greensill Bank, which was founded in Bremen, Germany in 1927, and other sources of capital include the sale of bonds composed of invoices it has purchased and bundled together and four proprietary supply-chain finance funds managed by Credit Suisse Group and Global Asset Management.