2013 – a year in numbers

Over the past 12 months, Funding Circle and the peer-to-peer lending industry has come on leaps and bounds. Since January, approximately £130 million was lent to businesses across the UK, the Government joined Funding Circle, lending alongside the public, and regulation for the industry was confirmed for April 2014.

Here’s a quick roundup of the numbers from 2013

 

The investors:

  • Lending for this year alone reached nearly £130 million from investors across the UK. Nice work!
  • An estimated 6,150 jobs have been created as a result of your lending this year.
  • We now have more than 62,000 investors registered at Funding Circle and this number keeps on growing!
  • The best week for lending was in December 2013, when £5.3 million made its way to businesses across the UK in just seven days. Who said December would be a slow month!
  • The middle two weeks in November saw the largest number, and value, of loans for the whole year on the marketplace: 182 new loans were listed, resulting in £11 million of new lending opportunities during the 2 week period.
  • It took 763 days to reach the first £50 million lent to businesses, 224 days to reach the second £50 million, and just 138 days to reach the third.

The businesses:

  • 2,050 businesses have come through the Funding Circle doors and taken out loans.
  • That’s resulted in 2,149 different business loans.
  • The most common loan purpose was for expansion, followed closely by working capital.
  • The average loan size for businesses this year was just under £60,000.
  • The region with the most number of businesses taking out loans was the South East, followed by the Midlands. Were any near you?

It’s fantastic looking back at what the Funding Circle community has achieved over the past 12 months, but it’s important to recognise that it’s not all about the numbers. Your money has really made a difference to the thousands of businesses we’ve seen this year, and we look forward to welcoming many more to the community in the years to come.

 

Video: How your lending helped feed the masses with tasty homemade burgers

Lakeland Picnic manufactures and sells homemade burgers and sausages from their base in the Lake District. The business has been going since 2007, when owner Michelle Partington, saw an opening to provide better quality street food.

In September, Lakeland Picnic took out a business loan through Funding Circle for £17,500 which was funded by 221 people across the UK, alongside the UK Government. They needed a loan to revamp their stall and Michelle received the money in less than 7 days.

In this video, you’ll see Michelle and her team in action, running their stall in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens. She also has some special words to say to all of the people who lent her business the money.

If you’d like to find out more about applying for a business loan through Funding Circle, visit our business page which will give you all of the information you need.

You can view our other case studies here.

The iPhone app has launched. Weekly Lending Review: week 51

Week 51: 16 – 22 December 2013

We’ve got 68 new lending opportunities, the launch of our mobile app and a record lending week in the final Weekly Lending Review of 2013. Your next Weekly Lending Review will be on Monday, 6th January.

Last week was the largest week for the amount of funds lent, with £5.3 million making its way to businesses across the UK. There were more businesses listed from the Midlands than any other region, and expansion was the most popular reason for needing funding.

New loans

There were 68 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 55 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £4,150,000; that’s an average of £61,029 per loan. The largest loan value was £150,000 and the smallest loan value was £7,500.

Business loans still available for bidding on for the next 3 days or more:

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace. The average gross yield graph is reported weekly and shows a rolling two week average. Number of loans, value of loans and secondary market are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 16-Dec represents the week of 16th – 22nd December.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

Get the Funding Circle iPhone app

We’re excited to announce the launch of our first iPhone app, which is available to download for free on the App Store.

Community Discussions

This week we’re talking about the Autobid tool. You can join the discussion on our community forum.

Loans defaulted last week

Training provider. Loan ID 1387

This Newport business has fallen behind with repayments. The original loan amount was £40,000 and all 470 investors have been notified. Our insolvency team are working to recover the outstanding amount.

Enjoy lending and the festive season. The Funding Circle Team

 

The Complete Guide to Growing Your Business Internationally. Part 5: Marketing

Well done! You’ve made it to Part 5 of our Complete Guide to Growing Your Business Internationally. In this section we’ll finally get to the bit many people are most interested in – Marketing.

How to cover the 100s of different marketing tactics available? We decide to answer one of the most common concerns “How do I get a good result for what I spend on marketing?” Follow these steps to success…

marketing budget

Determine your Objectives

The number one reason most marketing efforts fail is because they approach marketing from the wrong direction – selecting a marketing channel first. There are lots of different types of marketing you could do; a TV advertising campaign, Social Media, some sort of high-profile ‘stunt’ but ultimately you have to get clear about what result you want to achieve.

Consider, for example, that it’s possible to put a lot of time and effort into growing a Facebook community of 40K ‘Likes’ to then discover they never buy a thing from you. So how do you decide what is important?

The classic stages of marketing, and marketing objectives, relate to the sales funnel:

1)      Awareness/Acquisition: Where potential customers become aware of the brand/product/services. This could be via word-of-mouth, seeing an advertisement, reading an article, or any numbers of ways.

2)      Consideration: Where potential customers, having become aware of the brand/product/services, consider a purchase. This could be visiting your corporate website or ecommerce store to find out more information, setting up a sales meeting, or reading online reviews.

3)      Purchase: They buy from you (marketing’s role is minimal here)

4)      Post-Sale: Even after the sale, marketing needs to help keep the customer happy; maintaining customer subscription or getting them to purchase again and again (Customer Loyalty) and/or try and get the customer to recommend your products and services and refer other customers (Customer Advocacy)

When it comes to growth, and launching in new markets, most organisations are interested in one or both of the following Objectives

–          Creating Brand Awareness (Awareness/Acquisition stage)

–          Driving Sales or Leads (Acquisition/Consideration stages)

You must:

–          Think about what is the end result that you want to achieve

–          Consider what would need to happen for the customer to get to that end result – what is the buying journey? What will they need to take the action/s you wish them to take?

–          Be clear on what success looks like and how you would measure that

Define Ownership & Responsibilities

For the purposes of this article we are assuming that, regardless of whether you are using agents or intermediaries, you have taken on the responsibility for marketing within the region you want to expand in to.

But should the marketing strategy be led globally or locally? Some responsibilities naturally fall into areas of ownership:

–          Global: The responsibilities best held at the global level are branding and brand guidelines, marketing strategy and budgeting (although local marketing will want to manage their own budgets). Global will also lead on large-scale marketing campaigns, and digital strategy; working in partnership with local marketing resources for input and execution.

–          Local: At the local level is campaign execution, in particular more tactical work – such as PR or managing Social Media profiles – and establishing local partnerships and events.

A note on Localisation

Remember the cultural blunders we mentioned in our original article? The Pepsi campaign that translated “Come Alive With The Pepsi Generation” into Chinese as “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From The Grave” and the GM Nova launching to the Spanish speaking marketing where “no va” means “It Doesn’t Go”.

skinwhitening

Cultural differences go beyond translation. For example imagery that is deemed ‘a bit sexy’ in one market can be deeply inappropriate in another market with different cultural, social, and religious beliefs. In addition what customers believe and want to buy can be very different – for example many Facebook users around the world were upset by a skin whitening app – in some markets these types of products are acceptable and popular, but in other markets where skin whitening products are not the norm, the campaign was seen as offensive and customers threatened to boycott other products made by the brand.

You need to rely on local knowledge to guide you through the small, subtle changes required to make a campaign look/sound/feel like its local. Also, understand that in today’s digital world marketing campaigns are often seen outside of the local market they were intended for.

Know your customer – and how they buy

We keep saying it and we’ll say it again – Research, Research, Research! How your customers buy here, what media they consume, what influences their buying decisions, and even who is the decision maker – will probably change from market to market.

You’ll need to create a customer profile/s that is truly representative of your customer in your new local market.

It’s so important this is part of your planning and you don’t adopt a channel led strategy e.g. selecting online display advertisements – simply because they seem easy to execute – without understanding how these perform in your chosen market. For example in emerging markets mobile marketing has really good reach – often through simple SMS. And also ‘trust’ in various channels varies, even just between the US & EU social media is perceived quite differently – there is a 22% difference in trust for professionally written online reviews and email marketing varies by 7 percentage points.[1]

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If you start-off with the above considerations you’ll be well on your way to being able to develop an effective strategic marketing plan to support growing your business internationally. Time spent on these three areas: Marketing Objectives, Knowing your Customer, and Global vs. Local responsibilities will inform how you move forward:

–          Planning your marketing

–          Determining and hiring marketing resource

–          Which media/tactics should you select

–          How to create the marketing most likely to deliver the results that you want

–          How to measure success and show ROI

We can also recommend these great books if you want to learn more about marketing overall:

–          The 22 immutable laws of marketing

–          The new rules of marketing and PR

–          Influence: The psychology of persuasion

Read part 4 of Growing Your Business Internationally.

Introducing the Funding Circle iPhone app

We’re excited to announce that from today, you’ll be able to download the Funding Circle App to use on your iPhone.

The app, free to download from the App store, will allow you to bid when you’re on the move, help you keep track of all of your bids and notify you when loan requests you’re interested in are coming to an end.

As well as this, there are some useful features like the auto login, which means you don’t have to login to your account every time you open the app on your phone. Safety is important to us which is why you can’t deposit or withdraw funds using the app, so if your phone was to get into the wrong hands, you can rest assured that your money is safe.

You may ask, why have we chosen Apple’s iOS over Android for our first app? The reason is simple: our usage data shows that visits from iOS devices, including iPhone and iPad, outweigh Android users significantly, specifically by 7 to 1 for the whole of October. That said, we do have a desire to launch an Android app, and the iPad App will be released shortly.

As this is the first version of the app, you may notice some features missing that you would expect to be in here. We will continue to add functionality with every release and we’d appreciate your input on what you think would be important to include in future releases.

The app is also intended for existing Funding Circle investors only, so if you haven’t yet created an account to lend to businesses, you can so do here.

The guide below shows you the key sections of the Funding Circle App. Don’t worry, it is really easy to use and and you’ll soon be making and tracking bids whenever and wherever you like.

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 Download the Funding Circle App.

Update to minimum bid rates. Weekly Lending Review: week 50

Week 50: 9 – 15 December 2013

We’ve got 86 new lending opportunities and an update to minimum bid rates all in this week’s Weekly lending Review.

Last week was the second largest week for the number of businesses looking for funding and the also the second largest week for the amount lent, with £3.7 million making its way to business across the UK.

New loans

There were 86 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 70 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £4,819,220; that’s an average of £56,037 per loan. The largest loan value was £150,000 and the smallest loan value was £5,000.

Business loans still available for bidding on for the next 3 days or more:

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace. The average gross yield graph is reported weekly and shows a rolling two week average. Number of loans, value of loans and secondary market are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 9-Dec represents the week of 9th – 15th December.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

Update to minimum bid rates

We review the minimum bid rates in the middle of every month to decide whether they should be changed or kept the same. This month, the decision has been made to increase rates by 0.2% on the A, B and C risk bands. The new rates will come into effect for loan requests listed after 9am on Thursday 2nd January 2014. The new rates are as follows:

A+: 6% (no change)

A: 7.8% (+0.2%)

B: 8.8% (+ 0.2%)

C: 9.8% (+ 0.2%)

C-: 11.5% (no change)

Community Discussions

This week we’re talking about tax statements. You can join the discussion on our community forum.

Loans defaulted last week

Birmingham Engineers. Loan ID 1544

This business has been trading since 1974 and has fallen behind with repayments. The original loan amount was £50,000 and all 541 investors have been notified.

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

 

Bid for your chance to secure 14.7%! Weekly Lending Review: week 49

Week 49: 2 – 8 December 2013

Over the past week and a half, investors have had rates of 14.5%, 14.4%, 14.7% and 13% accepted into loans in the A+, B, C and C- risk bands*.

It was also a busy week at Funding Circle with over 70 new businesses coming onto the marketplace. Of the 73 new borrowers, the majority needed business loans for expansion and the two sectors that provided the most activity on the marketplace were within the professional and property sectors.

New loans

There were 73 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 63 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £4,169,600; that’s an average of £57,118 per loan. The largest loan value was £150,000 and the smallest loan value was £5,000.

Business loans still available for bidding on for the next 3 days or more:

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace. The average gross yield graph is reported weekly and shows a rolling two week average. Number of loans, value of loans and secondary market are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 2-Dec represents the week of 2nd – 8th December.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

News you should know

We’re really pleased to have qualified for the Future Fifty, a scheme developed by Tech City UK, to support high-growth businesses scale and reach their full potential.

Community Discussions

This week we’re talking about how autobid works. You can join the discussion on our community forum.

Loans defaulted last week

No loans were defaulted.

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

*Highest accepted bid rates for loans accepted in December, taken from the loan book available to download on the statistics page.

 

50% fee discount for businesses on Small Business Saturday

To celebrate Small Business Saturday tomorrow (7 December), we’re offering a 50% fee discount for all businesses that register this weekend – including Sunday too!

SBS-UK-HOZ-Box-POS-Logo-Core-Blue

Small Business Saturday is already a $5.5bn-a-year (£3.4bn) phenomenon in the US, and it’s coming to the UK for the first time ever, on typically the busiest shopping day of the year.

The campaign promotes the benefits of buying local, and encourages the public to consider shopping with smaller businesses.  As the leading online marketplace for business loans, we wanted to show our support and back Small Business Saturday UK.  Their work will help to raise the profile of small businesses across the country.

If you know a small business looking for finance, then tell them to get in touch this weekend as they will receive a 50% fee discount.

How it works

The offer is a 50% discount off your overall fee to Funding Circle. For example, if your loan was for £100,000 over 3 years where the fee is 3% (£3,000), you would pay £1,500 and receive £1,500 as cashback.

This offer is open to new Funding Circle members to be eligible, businesses need to register and accept the loan by 01/03/2014. Read the full terms and conditions here.

Funding Circle named a UK Future Fifty company

We’re really pleased to let you know that Funding Circle successfully qualified for the Future Fifty, a fast-track scheme to support high-growth businesses scale and reach their full potential.

Tech City UK, the organisation behind the programme, has today named the second 25 companies that are considered to be among the most promising, high potential growth businesses.The programme delivers tailored public and private sector expertise to enable companies like ours to scale rapidly, and continue to improve the service we provide to our investors and borrowers.

We are honoured to have been selected alongside so many exciting companies. The Future Fifty consists of some amazing technology businesses, each of which is transforming their industries through continual innovation as well as creating fantastic products and services. To celebrate today’s news, our co-founders, James Meekings and Samir Desai attended an event at the London Stock Exchange with other Future Fifty companies and had the pleasure of meeting the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Our CEO and co-founder, Samir Desai said: “Fast growing tech companies are the future of the UK economy and we’re honoured to be included in the Future Fifty by Tech City UK. We really look forward to working with the Government over the next year to maximise future growth opportunities.”

The Future Fifty is a fast-track programme to accelerate selected companies’ progress, in order to create jobs and deliver significant economic impact in this country. It was launched in April by the Chancellor George Osborne and Joanna Shields, CEO of Tech City UK.

We can’t wait to get started.

Top P2P industry news. Weekly Lending Review: week 48

Week 48: 25 November – 1 December 2013

It’s a packed weekly lending review!

  • We’ve got a roundup of industry news for November.
  • We’ve won an award!
  • We’ve got a special offer from Funding Circle business Beverly Hill’s Jewellers.
  • We’ve compiled a list of Christmas present ideas from Funding Circle businesses.

On with the show:

Of the 66 new borrowers, the majority needed business loans for working capital and the two sectors that provided the most activity on the marketplace were the manufacturing and property sectors.

New loans

There were 66 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 60 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £4,229,520; that’s an average of £64,084 per loan. The largest loan value was £260,000 and the smallest loan value was £5,000.

Business loans still available for bidding on for the next 3 days or more:

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace. The average gross yield graph is reported weekly and shows a rolling two week average. Number of loans, value of loans and secondary market are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 18-Nov represents the week of 25th November – 1 December.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

November’s industry news

November’s media round-up for the peer-to-peer lending industry includes a BBC video clip of a business in Wales who took out a loan through Funding Circle last year.

News you should know

We were thrilled to be nominated in two categories at the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) awards last week and we are delighted to have come away as winners of the Specialist Lender of the Year award.

Offer from one of our great borrowers, Beverly Hill’s Jewellers

Beverley Hills Jewellers is offering the up to a 40% discount during December on certain items in store. As part of this offer, you’re also invited to attend their VIP champagne and canapé event between 6:30pm and 9pm on Thursday 12th December at their Hatton Garden store.

To RSVP please contact Carolyn Jackson on 0207 404 3133 before Monday 9th of December.

Community Discussions

This week we’re talking about motives behind adding premium or discounts to loan parts when you sell them. You can join the discussion on our community forum.

Loans defaulted last week

No loans were defaulted.

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

Weekly Lending Review: week 47

An industry going mainstream: November industry news

Peer-to-peer lending continued to make waves in the financial and business pages this month. Following a bumper month in October with the FCA publishing their consultation document for regulation, our launch into the US and various prominent journalists discussing the rates they have earned through peer-to-peer lending platforms, it seems that the industry is really gathering momentum.  As 2013 draws to a close, it’s clear that the industry is becoming mainstream, as we continue to demonstrate that we’re just a better way of accessing finance.

Rules for peer-to-peer lending at risk of being lost in the crowd

Christine Farnish, chair of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), warned the regulator that grouping peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding together for regulation would not be beneficial.  She argues that they are two different industries, each with different approaches and risks, and the regulator needs to take this into account when drawing up the rules, which are due to be introduced in April of next year.

Funding Circle lends almost all of £20m provided by government

Sean Farrell at the Guardian covered the news that we have lent £17.6m of the £20m allocation of Government money.  It’s certainly been hugely beneficial, boosting credibility with investors and borrowers, and we hope the Business Bank will continue to support businesses via Funding Circle in 2014.

P2P lending: be disciplined

As the industry does become more mainstream, so too will speculation about it’s future increase. Here’s a piece from the Financial Times which rightly cautions the industry against allowing demand to drive lending. Credit checking and underwriting processes must be sound for the industry to last, and prove it really is superior.

Peer-to-peer loans: Investors urged to lend to small firms

BBC Wales helped to spread the word to small businesses in Wales this month with radio, TV and online coverage.  In the video clip, Vanguard Cleaning, a business who took a loan through us last year, talks about why they found the process of peer-to-peer lending much easier than going to a bank.

Funding Circle hires Barclays’ Luke Jooste to lead move into property finance

We finish with a bit of our own news, that this month we hired property specialist, Luke Jooste, who will head up our move into the property finance arena.  You can read more about our plans on the blog.

The top 8 peer-to-peer lending Christmas gift ideas

Why not add another dimension to your gift shopping this Christmas and purchase your usual festive shopping fayre from some of the great businesses that you’ve helped grow?

After nearly 3 and a half years we’ve seen close to 3,000 different businesses come onto the marketplace, offering a wide range of products and services: from electric bikes to thrill seeking experiences to alcoholic beverages.

osa

Here’s a list of gift ideas you could consider for your loved ones this year, all from Funding Circle businesses:

1. A Christmas staple: Chocolate

A failsafe for any Christmas prezzie or stocking filler, chocolate. Ditch the Quality Street and Roses in favour of these two more unique choices:

Moo Free is the leading manufacturer of dairy-free milk chocolate in the UK. We’ve tried it and could not taste the difference! It’s also completely free from gluten, suitable for vegans and it’s organic. Feel good chocolate at its best.

Casemir Chocolates offer luxury handmade chocolates for all of the family. Try their sister company too: The grown up Chocolate company.

2. Gifts for the children

It can be hard enough to find gifts for your own children let alone other people’s so here’s something different and useful which will have universal appeal. Tidy Books manufacture award-winning shelving units for children’s books that are colourful, fun and educational.

3. Gifts for the home

Gifts for the home always go down a treat at Christmas time. You can never have enough candles, cushions and throws. Forever England sells a range of beautifully crafted British homeware products, like bedspreads, cushions and kitchen utensils.

4. Embrace healthy living and choose a bike

Everyone is talking about getting fit these days so if you want to splash out on someone special, why not consider buying them a bike. If you’re around the capital, pop into Fitzrovia Bicycles who stock a range of the world’s best bike brands.

If you’re feeling very generous you could even look at buying an electric bike from 50 cycles.They are on the pricey side but would definitely give the rider a boost for long distances!

5. Beauty products to see you through winter

Perfect gifts for the ladies in the family, why not try Gelicity for gift sets of bath and body products. Balm Balm is another skincare business to have benefitted from Funding Circle investment and they offer a range of 100% natural and organic skincare products. They have also created festive Christmas crackers which could work well if you’re looking for something for your ladies’ Christmas dinner!

6. Beer from local breweries

A number of local brewing companies have used Funding Circle over the years including Dunham Massey in Altrincham and Weltons Real Ales from West Sussex, so check their websites for details of their stockists.

7. Other alcoholic beverages

You can stock up on quality Somerset gin and fruit liqueurs from Bramley & Gage, manufacturers of the award-winning 6 O’Clock Gin. You can buy it on their website or at most Waitrose stores.

Old. St Andrews is also a good bet. They bottle Scotch Whisky and other spirits in customised bottles and offer a miniature range, making them great Secret Santa presents.

8. Country breaks

If you’re looking for something extra special you could go for a country break at one of the hotels who have borrowed through the marketplace. Specifically, you could look at Woodlands Manor Farm down in Cornwall, or Hallgarth Manor Country House Hotel up in Durham.

Alternatively, book a luxury camping holiday, or glamping as its now known, with Jollydays for next summer. Glamping has been all the rage this year; even The Rollling Stones ditched the hotel for a yurt at this summer’s Glastonbury festival. If it’s good enough for Mick, it’s good enough for us!

It’s not everyday that you can say you helped a product get onto the shelves and it’s certainly not every day you can then help get the products off the shelf and through the check out!

Hopefully this list will give you some great gift ideas that support local British businesses on their way to bigger things. Share this list with your friends and family (the ones you aren’t buying for from this list of course!) to help support these businesses even more!