2017: what a start! January industry news.
What an exciting start to the year we’ve had! The first piece of news came just days after we’d celebrated the dawn of a new year when Funding Circle announced a £40 million extension to the British Business Bank’s lending through the platform, which has already earned the institution more than £5 million in interest. Since UK Government-owned institutions first started lending in 2013, more than 10,000 UK small businesses have benefited from their funding, which now totals £100 million. The extension of this partnership will help thousands more small businesses access the finance they need to flourish.
Soon after, Funding Circle announced an £82 million capital raise, with participation from existing investors including Accel Partners and Index Ventures. This brought the total amount of equity raised to £300 million and means that Funding Circle is now one of the best capitalised businesses in the industry. The extra funding will enable the business to continue investing in its technology – enabling the continuous evolution of a best in class user experience.
Elsewhere, the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney took to the stage at a G20 conference in Germany to discuss the future of Fintech and the impact it could have on traditional financial services. Carney announced that “…this wave of innovation promises a FinTech revolution that will democratise financial services. Consumers will get more choice, better-targeted services and keener pricing.” The Governor also offered a cautious suggestion that regulators should pay close attention to the sector’s evolution.
In a survey conducted by insurance firm Zurich, small business owners showed their excitement for the new year ahead by raising their growth expectations. Confidence is also up, marking a change in mood among small businesses since the EU referendum last June.
Funding Circle Co-Founder and UK Managing Director James Meekings featured in this year’s Debrett 500 List under the ‘Entrepreneur’ category. James was recognised for his efforts in innovation alongside fellow Fintech founders from Zopa, TransferWise, Crowdcube and WorldRemit. Each individual on the list has founded, or led, a business that has contributed to the bettering of people’s lives in some way through their company.
Moving into the world of personal finance, The Independent put together a ‘survival guide to personal loans’. The article gives readers a whistle-stop tour of everything you need to know when considering taking out loan. It then dives into the options, which includes peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa and challenger bank Ikano.
Finally, Zopa were also mentioned in the news after passing the milestone of investors lending £2 billion to UK consumers, with Funding Circle very close behind! This was made up of 300,000 loans to 246,000 individuals. Within the announcement, Zopa also shared information on the what most of their customers use the loan for, with 34% purchasing a car, 31% consolidating debt and 20% using the funds for home improvements.
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