After growing the US proportion of its loan book to 15 per cent inside eight months, Funding Circle has raised new funds to continue growth in the country as well as additional markets.
Since founding in 2010 to connect businesses needing loans with consumers wanting a better return on savings, Funding Circle has facilitated the lending of $500 million to 5,000 companies.
To help with future growth around the world, Funding Circle has brought in Perella Weinberg Partners CEO Robert Steel as a board member. Alongside being an investor, Steel has also served as under secretary for domestic finance of the United States Treasury, as CEO of Wachovia, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs and deputy mayor of New York.
Speaking to GrowthBusiness, Funding Circle co-founder and CEO Samir Desai say that the round has come off the back of growing ‘extremely quickly’ in the UK and US.
‘The US side of the business has grown phenomenally fast, proving that demand is there from small businesses looking to grow,’ he adds.
‘Awareness continues to be an issue amongst the small business community, but we’re confident that companies will come back to us once they have given us a go.’
Funding Circle has now raised $123.2 million since its fundraising efforts began in February 2010. Back then it raised a $1.1 million angel deal, followed by a $4.1 million Series A in April 2011, $16 million Series B in April 2012 and $37 million Series C in October 2013.
The British business bank, set up by business secretary Vince Cable, has also supported Funding Circle and the growth of peer-to-peer finance by lending directly through the platform. Two allocations, worth £20 million and £40 million, were provided in December 2012 and February 2014 respectively. Under the agreement, the business bank cash made up a proportion of every deal completed on Funding Circle.
More on Funding Circle:
- Alternative funders including Zopa and Funding Circle join network
- Funding Circle and Santander lead charge with banking referrals
- Future Fifty initiative names Funding Circle and SwiftKey
Explaining why he has become involved with Funding Circle, Steel comments, ‘I have been impressed with the growth of the company over the past four years, and believe there is a unique opportunity for marketplace lending to revolutionise access to finance for small businesses across the globe.
‘I hope my experience as CEO of one of America’s larges banks, and my time in the US Treasury Department, will support the company as we enter the next stage of our growth.’
Statistics released by Funding Circle show that, since setting up shop in the US at the end of 2013, lending has increased by 500 per cent and is forecast to hit $100 million by the end of 2014.
In telling GrowthBusiness about the differences between the US and UK markets, Desai says,’ Currently in the US, only accredited and institutional investors are able to lend to businesses compared to the UK which is open to retail investors as well. Our plan, over time, is to introduce retail investor in the US as well.
‘In the UK, the introduction of institutional money means that the marketplace has a more diverse range of investors making it sustainable for the long term. For too long, small businesses were reliant on a sole line of credit but our ambition is that they will be able to access finance from a range of different investors. This doesn’t mean our retail investors won’t continue to be incredibly important to us – our mission is to ensure small businesses access finance whilst investors earn better returns.’