Your May Investor’s Impact – Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

May investor impact
We’re looking at some of the success stories from recent borrowers and how your lending has helped them achieve their goals.

Dive in below to find out how your lending helped The Naked Marshmallow Company access finance to grow, and get ready for festival season with 5 camping essentials from Funding Circle borrowers.

In last month’s post, we interviewed husband and wife team David and Angie Cusworth who run award-winning IT services provider, Firstnet Solutions Ltd. They’re in the process of opening a new data centre in Yorkshire. Meet the couple and hear their story in this short video.

Did you know?
Last week, after battling it out in a gruelling knock out tournament, Funding Circle was crowned Ping Pong Fight Club Champions! Ping Pong Fight Club is a tour de force of inter-company ping pong rivalry, bringing together teams from technology start-ups and global brands to compete for the ultimate prize. Thank you to Pongathon for organising and congratulations to our champion, Luis, and runners up Iwoca pictured below.

Ping pong fight club

A great month for

Marshmalllow infographic

Magnificent marshmallow manufacturer set to expand

Founders Ollie Rendall and Joseph Colson dreamt of starting their own confectionary business while working together on the shop floor of Next. Working out of Ollie’s mum’s kitchen, the friends experimented with all sorts of flavours. Bubblegum and Eton Mess became favourites. The feedback from their families and colleagues was overwhelmingly positive and so The Naked Marshmallow Company was born!
Marshmallow Co

Fast forward 3 years and the business has gone from strength to strength, landing deals with well known high street stores and establishing themselves as pioneers of the gourmet marshmallow market. The pair are tirelessly focused on innovating and bringing unique and sumptuous products to the UK market. They’ve also let Ollie’s mum have her kitchen back!

’The funding will allow us to scale the business further and gear up for what’s likely to be another incredible Christmas. We’re investing in staff and machinery to enable the business to cope with volume and an ever-expanding product range. Our sincere thanks goes to all of the investors who have supported our business.’ To meet demand and buy equipment, The Naked Marshmallow Company in Lincolnshire borrowed £50,000 in May 2017. You can check out their products online here.

Camping essentials
Festival season is fast approaching, so now is the time to ensure you have all your supplies ready to go! Get outdoors with our list of 5 camping essentials, from water bottles to waterproofs, while also supporting amazing local businesses across the country.

Up next

At the beginning of June, we’ll be publishing ‘Your June Review – Insight and Analysis’ which will focus on the numbers and include some helpful tips to help you make the most of your investment.

As always, if you have any questions or comments our dedicated team are here to help. And if you have any further suggestions we’d love to hear them.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

Did your lending help this business create 100 new jobs?

Brought up to be hard working by his parents, David Cusworth has worked his way up from a welder to a successful business owner. After years of experience at some of the world’s largest IT providers, he noticed that small businesses were often being underserved and neglected by the big players.

In 2011, David and his wife Angie set out to address this gap in the market and set up Firstnet Solutions. By applying their learnings from previous jobs, their vision was to provide enterprise-class IT solutions to small businesses. Firstnet has since gone from strength to strength, putting the customer first by supplying a plan that’s tailored to their individual needs.

When the duo came across the site for a new data centre, it was a dream come true. The centre would allow the team to grow to 100 employees and triple their turnover over the next 18 months. To help fund this exciting opportunity, Firstnet have borrowed £122,180 across two Funding Circle loans since 2016.

In this short video, meet this driven and successful team and hear more about their story.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Firstnet?

Lend alongside 61,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 24,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Funding Circle receives full FCA authorisation

We’re pleased to announce that Funding Circle has today received full authorisation from the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). As a founding member of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association we have always actively campaigned for the industry to be regulated.

Today’s news comes as Funding Circle becomes the largest peer-to-peer or direct lending platform in the UK by cumulative amount lent, with investors having lent more than £2.3 billion to over 24,000 businesses, supporting the creation of an estimated 60,000 jobs in the process. With more than 60,000 investors now regularly lending through Funding Circle, we are on track to becoming a mainstream investment choice for investors up and down the country.

Managing supply and demand on the platform

Now that we have received authorisation, we are looking forward to being able to offer you industry-leading, tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA, subject to obtaining ISA manager status from HMRC. Since 2010, investors lending through Funding Circle have earned an average of 6.5% per year and £116 million of interest after fees and bad debt. Please remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

To continue to offer these returns it is important that we are able to continue to match your funds to creditworthy businesses looking for finance. Small business lending can be seasonal, with demand from borrowers changing throughout the year. Given we expect the Funding Circle ISA to be popular, we plan to launch it later this tax year to suit demand from both investors and borrowers. This will allow us to manage liquidity on the platform and help investors to earn attractive, stable returns.

We will provide you with a further update in due course.

If you have any questions on today’s announcement or on the Funding Circle ISA, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Get festival ready with our five camping essentials

Camping and festival season is fast approaching, so now is the time to ensure you have all your supplies ready to go. Our list of 5 camping essentials will help you prepare for some outdoor fun, while also supporting some unique local businesses across the country.

Essential 1. A water bottle

Camping at Glastonbury festival this year? Stay hydrated and take along a stainless steel, BPA-free water bottle from Glogg. These fantastic reusable water bottles are perfect for camping as they’re not plastic or glass and importantly, won’t harm the environment. At last year’s festival, Glastonbury needed a business to produce 200,000 stainless steel pint cups and Glogg was ready for the challenge. To fund the manufacturing process, the company borrowed £40,000 from 533 investors, helping to turn the project into a success.

Glogg manufactures stainless steel water bottles for Glastonbury festival

Helen from Glogg, manufacturers of stainless steel water bottles

Essential 2. Waterproofs

The British summer is gloriously unpredictable, so make sure to stock up on waterproof gear, such as a waterproof jacket and a pair of wellies from All Outdoor. Once you’re all kitted out you’ll be able to enjoy your camping or festival activities, whatever the weather throws at you. The All Outdoor team have over 10 years of experience and know the importance of having the right attire for the right activity. To help increase stock due to high demand, All Outdoor have borrowed finance across three loans.

Essential 3. A comfy sleeping bag

No more tired excuses! Wake up ready to embrace the day after a good night’s sleep in a cosy sleeping bag from Camping World, the one-stop-shop for all your camping needs. The company are experts in the field and stock all staple supplies — you could even add an inflatable mattress for an even better sleep. To help fund expansion, Camping World borrowed £408,340 across two Funding Circle loans.

Essential 4. Picnic set

Be the envy of the camping grounds with a colourful picnic mat from The Stripes Company. Their striped fabrics bring life to any surrounding and are perfect for hosting a tasty picnic with your friends and family. You could even top it off with a stripy deckchair, so you can sit back, relax and listen to the festivals tunes. To help increase their product range and expand internationally, The Stripes Company have borrowed more than £175,000 across three loans since 2011.

Essential 5. Find your perfect location

If you’d prefer to skip the madness of music festivals, why not head up to idyllic North Yorkshire and rent a tent at Jollydays Glamping? Quiet and peaceful, you can escape and appreciate an outdoor break while enjoying the sounds of nature. The family-run business was set up in 2008 and became an immediate success – becoming one of the early leaders in the glamping revolution. To add more accommodation units to keep up with high demand, the family team have borrowed over £145,000 across three Funding Circle loans.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 61,000 investors and you could earn a great return whilst supporting small businesses across the UK. Sign up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. By lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped more than 23,000 businesses in the UK access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Fintech can power a prosperous future. April industry news.

Our FinTech industry can power a prosperous future

Last month, the Government hosted the first ever International Fintech Conference, bringing investors from all over the world to learn about how innovation in the UK is changing the way customers access and use financial services. Ahead of the event, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond discussed how the industry is providing consumers with better services and more choice, and lowering costs for businesses. The UK remains the best place to start and grow a FinTech firm anywhere in the world, and the Chancellor called out Funding Circle and Transferwise as two ‘hugely successful British firms’.  

Funding Circle’s Desai: use P2P for monetary stimulus

Speaking alongside the Chancellor and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, Funding Circle’s CEO Samir Desai talked about the benefits of starting a FinTech company in the UK and went on to suggest that the Bank of England could use platforms as a way of directly stimulating the real economy. Small businesses account for half of the UK’s GDP and have been responsible for a large chunk of post-financial crisis job creation. They are the engine-room of the British economy, which is why your continued support is so vital.

How FinTech is revolutionising personal banking

Innovation has completely transformed the way we manage our money. From tapping your card to buy your morning coffee, to using your smartphone to apply for business finance, we’re seeing the impact of FinTech everywhere. These products have been hugely beneficial allowing people to connect directly, democratising finance and putting control back into the hands of the customer. This article takes a look at current accounts and how we’ve begun to see companies step in to drive this exciting change.

“Your money isn’t really safe in the bank” – so this is where to put it instead

In terms of your personal investment options, there are lots of different ways to help you build a diversified, fruitful portfolio. Here, the Mirror examines various options to help you beat the interest rate slump, such as putting your money in stocks and shares or lending directly to creditworthy businesses. As with any investment, the key to managing risk is diversification. In the case of direct lending this means spreading your money across hundreds of loans. Remember, when you lend, your capital is at risk.

Peer-to-peer lending bosses split on whether to become a bank

And finally, at another industry conference, AltFi Europe, Samir outlined the reasons why Funding Circle has no plans to become a bank. He cites business’ desire to move away from banks to enjoy the fast, flexible finance that platforms are able to provide, and investor satisfaction with the attractive and stable returns they’re able to earn by lending directly. To date, your lending has helped 23,000 business owners across the country to access finance, including multi-Grand Slam and gold medal winning paralympian, Peter Norfolk. Read more about how your investment helped him hire more staff on our latest blog.

Read between the lines: What does rising inflation mean for your money?

Each month we will be bringing you a regular column from Simon Read, a personal finance expert with extensive experience in helping people make the most of their money. In his last piece, Simon looked at the changes introduced last month with the new tax year.

Inflation is rising – and is set to climb even higher by the end of the year. Official figures revealed a surprise jump in the headline rate of inflation to 2.3% in March, its highest rate for four years. And it is estimated to climb to 2.8% by the end of the year.

Why is it rising and why should you be worried about it? Inflation is measured by comparing the price of a basket of goods. They represent typical purchases by British people and the way the basket itself changes is interesting. For instance, this year has seen the introduction of gin and cycle helmets to the basket to reflect changing spending habits. Meanwhile menthol cigarettes and fees for stopped cheques have been dropped. As an aside, VHS video tapes were only scrapped from the inflation basket 10 years ago, although it seems like a lifetime since anyone bought them!

The inflation figure tries to reflect the real-life spending patterns and rising – or falling – costs. And rising inflation means it’s getting more expensive to live. It’s been ever thus. However higher inflation is hopefully offset by higher wages, meaning your money should go as far as ever.

But there’s one area where inflation is hitting hard right now – our savings. If you can’t get a savings return higher than inflation, you’re losing money. The cash in your nest egg will be worth less and less as inflation outstrips the returns you get. And right now, no-one can get an inflation-beating rate from traditional banks and building societies with even the much-heralded new Government-backed savings bond paying less than inflation at 2.2%.

So if you don’t want your savings to shrink, you need to do something about it. That means finding better returns. But you can only get better returns by exposing your hard-earned cash to greater risks/Does rising inflation strengthen the argument for investing in peer-to-peer platforms? Of course it does. But it also strengthens the argument for investing in stock markets, where you may be able to get even better returns. For instance, the FTSE-100 climbed from a level of 6200 a year ago to around 7200 now. That’s a rise of 16%. If you’d invested in the right funds 12 months ago, you’d be sitting on returns that far outstrip inflation.

But the key to stock market investing is timing. Get it wrong, and you could face huge losses. For instance if you’d whacked your savings into the market on 20 March, you would have got in when the FTSE stood at 7430. That was the day that the current Prime Minister sent markets spinning by revealing she would be triggering Article 50 just over a week later. If you’d have hung on until 20 April and then sold in panic you would have got out when the FTSE stood at 7118. That would have meant a loss of more than 4% in just a month – not so attractive, is it!

The point is this: while inflation is a worry to savers, the fear of losing your nest egg is greater. It’s not sensible to switch all your savings out of low-paying bank and building society accounts into high-risk shares. The key is to find a balance. Keep your rainy day savings, your emergency money, to hand in a deposit account. Consider peer to peer platforms for your nest egg, cash you may not need for a while. And if you have money you can afford to risk, that you won’t need for at least five years, look at stock market-linked options, such as equity income funds.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not represent those of Funding Circle. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice.

The information and views contained here are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or investment advice, or as a recommendation or an offer or invitation by Funding Circle.

To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, such information contained here.

If you have any questions, please speak to your professional advisor or seek independent specialist advice

Sharing the voice of British small businesses

We wanted to make the views of British businesses heard, so we asked thousands of you for your thoughts on the year ahead. In the space of four days, more than 2,300 of you told us about your investment intentions, turnover expectations and also your position on the upcoming general election.

What we discovered is that small businesses are going for growth, unfazed by the uncertainty caused by last year’s referendum result and the snap election. Nearly 70% of UK small businesses expect their turnover to increase within the next 12 months – half of whom expect a steady increase of between 6 and 20%, and only 6% expect turnover to decrease.

Small businesses, who already account for 60% of private sector employment, will continue to drive much needed job creation this year. More than half of the businesses we spoke to are planning to hire at least one new full-time member of staff over the next year. With more than 5 million small businesses across the country – this could mean the creation of millions of new jobs in the next 12 months!

Ahead of the election, small business owners told us that they’re three times more likely to vote for the Conservative Party over the Labour Party. In total, 41% said that they plan on voting Conservative, whilst 13% said Labour and 9% said they intended to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

Support for the Conservatives comes despite 49% saying they voted Remain in last year’s EU referendum, demonstrating a level of confidence in the party to deliver Brexit regardless of how business owners voted in the referendum.

When asked what their one policy priority is in the run up to the election, tax was by far the most important issue. With business rates mentioned specifically nearly 300 times, 40% said that they want the new Government to focus on this area after the election. The second most important policy area, according to a quarter of businesses, was of course Brexit.

Investors at Funding Circle include 60,000 individuals, local and national government, the European Investment Bank and financial institutions such as pension funds. By opening up small business lending to a wide range of investors, Funding Circle has improved competition in the market, supported job creation and reduced small business dependency on bank lending.

To date investors have lent £2.2 billion to more than 23,000 UK small businesses. Businesses funded through the platform typically access the capital they need in seven days, and independent research found that 94% of businesses would come back to Funding Circle first in future.

 

If you’re a small business looking for finance, visit our website to check if you qualify in just 30 seconds.