Preparing for bonfire night: our top five essentials

Remember remember the fifth of November. With bonfire night fast approaching, it’s time to make sure you’re kitted out and ready to go. Here are our top five essentials for a warm and enjoyable bonfire night with friends and family, whilst also supporting some of our businesses across the country.

1) Indulge with hot chocolate

Enjoy a sweet treat under the fireworks with Choc Affair. With a range of six delicious hot chocolate flavours, there’s something for everyone. Why not try Salted Caramel? Or luxuriate in something a little different with Raspberry and Rose? To keep up with company growth and relocate to a larger premises, Choc Affair borrowed £60,000 in 2013.

HotChocolate

2) Sip on mulled cider

Looking for something a little stronger? Ashridge Cider has the perfect winter warmer for you. With bursts of flavour that will match the colours in the sky, their mulled and spicy artisan cider will warm you up on a cold bonfire night. To keep up with anticipated growth and invest in a cider mill, Ashridge Cider have borrowed over £76,000 across two loans since 2014.

CiderApples

3) Keep your drinks piping hot with a flask

Worried about your drinks getting cold? Chilly’s Bottles keep your drinks hot for 12 hours! These reusable bottles are not only practical, but also stylish. From the Dots & Dashes to the Galaxy edition, the bottles come in a variety of different colours and patterns to accommodate all tastes. To raise funds and buy more stock, Chilly’s Bottles borrowed £20,000 in 2016.

Flask

4) Cosy up with cashmere

With the hot drinks sorted, make sure you’re dressed for the occasion with Turtle Doves cashmere accessories. With everything from cashmere hats to leg warmers, you’ll be cosy and warm from head to toe. To increase stock in preparation for their peak winter season and to grow their online presence, Turtle Doves borrowed £90,970 in 2017.

Scarves

5) Ignite the sky with fireworks

Finally, make it a night to remember with Jubilee Fireworks, the UK’s most awarded fireworks company and double winners of the Montreal International Fireworks competition. With an outstanding range of products, you’ll be able to host your very own dazzling fireworks display. To boost working capital and import more goods, Jubilee Fireworks have borrowed just over £328,000 over multiple loans with Funding Circle since 2013.

Fireworks

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 72,000 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 29,000 UK businesses have accessed finance through 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.

Meet the booming bicycle company on the road to success

Tom and Sian met in Amsterdam and immediately became obsessed with the beautiful bicycles cruising around the streets. Back in London, they soon realised that no shops were selling the bikes they grew to love in the Netherlands, which sparked their inspiration to start Bobbin Bikes.

Founded in 2007, Bobbin Bikes have a range of trendy leisure bicycles for everyday cyclists across the world. The unique brand is known for it’s brightly-coloured and stylish bikes with long handlebars and handy baskets – even David Beckham’s daughter is a huge fan of her Bobbin!

In 2016 the team looked at their business plan and decided to add a new online sales channel to go with their shop. They needed fast financial support to buy more stock and fulfill all their new orders. After contacting Funding Circle, the team had £250,000 in their account 2 weeks later – “For us, it felt a breath of fresh air” said Tom. The future of Bobbin Bikes has never looked so bright.

In this short video, meet Tom and Sian and learn more about their exciting journey:

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Bobbin Bikes?
Lend alongside 72,000 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 28,000 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.

New business growth in Exeter, thanks to our ActionCOACH partner

At Funding Circle, we want to do all we can to help businesses get the finance they need to grow. While most businesses apply to us directly, we also work with a number of partners, who recommend us to their clients if they’re in need of funding.

One such partner is business coaching firm ActionCOACH, who referred their client Accountancy Learning to Funding Circle in May this year.

Accountancy Learning are a specialist training provider for accountancy qualifications. The team work with over 1,000 students and 80 apprentices and recently won the AAT Champion award.

Founders Prue and Simon Deane  have been working with ActionCOACH for 18 months, with business coach Steve providing executive coaching to boost their business. Due to a change in apprenticeship funding, Accountancy Learning were in need of finance to expand their business and continue to offer their specialised training. After struggling to get a bank loan, Steve recommended Funding Circle, and they were able to borrow £25,000 in just a few days. “It had taken 3 months for the bank to say no, and it took Funding Circle 3 days to say yes”, Simon told us.

ActionCOACH has helped thousands of business owners across the globe achieve their goals, leading them to become the number one business coaching firm in the world. Since partnering last year, ActionCOACH and Funding Circle have helped UK businesses access over £3 million to grow and prosper. We believe this partnership will enhance the future lending opportunities for Funding Circle investors and give more businesses the opportunity to flourish.

In this video meet Prue and Simon and hear about their experience working with ActionCOACH. You’ll also find out more about the partnership between Funding Circle and ActionCOACH, and how we will continue to work together to help future businesses develop.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Accountancy Learning Ltd?

Lend alongside 72,000 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.

Partner with Funding Circle

We work with a wide range of corporate and bank partners to help UK businesses access much needed finance. Email our Partnerships team at ukpartners@fundingcircle.com to find out how we can work together.

Your October Review – Insight and Analysis

Your October Review
Last month Funding Circle investors, like you, lent over £100 million to UK businesses to help them grow and develop. Dive in below for your monthly analysis.

We’re excited to be shortlisted for the Moneyfacts Consumer Awards. If you’ve received great service from Tom, Sophie, Fran or any of the Funding Circle team, please vote for us.

September lending figures
Last month, you and other investors helped businesses to take new opportunities, create new jobs and drive energy into the UK economy — thank you for your continued support!

October stats

September industry news

Thanks to investors, last year over £1 billion was lent to 10,000 businesses through Funding Circle, helping to create 25,000 new jobs. CEO and co-founder Samir Desai discusses our growth and future plans. Read about this and much more in last month’s Industry news.

Monthly trends
These graphs show the most recent activity on our platform.

You’ve helped more than 8,300 small businesses access finance in the last 6 months…
October volume of loans

Totalling over £589 million lent

October value of loans

September 2017 sector breakdown

Amount lent to each sector

October sector

September 2017 regional breakdown

Amount lent to each UK region
October region

As part of lending to businesses, a small percentage will not be able to fully repay their loan. This is known as bad debt and is a normal part of business lending. We believe diversification, where you lend no more than 1% of your total to each business, is the best way to reduce the impact this has on your return. Our automatic lending tool will help you diversify by splitting your investment across lots of businesses. We recommend lending £2,000 or more, so you can lend to 100+ businesses, with no more than 1% going to each one.  

Each week, we publish a list of the loans being defaulted on the Customer support section of our website under ‘Announcements.’ To see a breakdown of the loans defaulted last week simply click on loans defaulted 28th September 2017.  For further information on why Funding Circle defaults loans you can read our FAQ here.

Collections and recoveries

How it works

You can also read more about how our collections and recoveries process works (part one and part two) on our blog.

Up next in October, we’ll be looking at the impact your lending is having on the UK economy and bringing to life some of the businesses you’ve helped access finance.

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

*Data from CEBR report

This blog is a general summary, and should not replace financial advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice. If you have any questions, please speak to your professional advisor or seek independent specialist advice.

FinTech is reaching new heights. September industry news

Business voice has to get better at getting its views across – Financial Times

As the discussions around Brexit continue, an underlying question that remains is how the outcome will affect the growth of British businesses. Whether that’s access to capital or access to talent, we want to ensure that businesses are able to reach their full potential after we leave the European Union. In this piece, our co-founder Samir Desai gives his views, alongside other industry leaders, on how we can achieve the best result for the sector and the importance of making the voice of business heard.

Britain’s leading FinTech firms are banding together to work out a Brexit strategy – Business Insider

With the aim of producing an ambitious post-Brexit vision for the UK’s financial technology (FinTech) sector, leading companies have formed an industry body (the FinTech Delivery Panel) to work with the government. Today, countless firms haven shaken up our financial world, making it possible for individuals to have control of their finances straight from their fingertips. We want to ensure that this continues once we leave the EU and that London remains an attractive place to grow a FinTech business.

Adopting FinTech is saving UK businesses £4.6bn – CityAM

A recent survey conducted by invoice finance platform, MarketInvoice, revealed that nearly two-thirds of UK businesses are adopting FinTech and making savings as a result. Not only is FinTech helping many of these companies drive their user experience and service forward, but they’re also benefiting from the choice available when looking for finance. Christine, founder of KiTE, SURF & SUP CO and windsurfing world-champion, is a great example of a flourishing business who is reaching new heights thanks to online lending.

There are two new types of Isa – should you switch to them? – the Telegraph

Investors are also seeing more choice when it comes to investment options. Over the past year, the number of Isas available has grown to include various different types that can help make your money work harder. From the Help-to-Buy Isa to the Innovative Finance Isa, you can now choose one to suit your unique preferences. At Funding Circle, we’re looking forward to being able to offer you tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA which we plan to launch this tax year. But remember, when you lend to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions – Business Insider

And finally, last year you and other investors lent over £1 billion to 10,000 small businesses across the world, creating an estimated 25,000 new jobs. From helping Jim’s outdoor education company go for growth, to supporting David’s IT business’ expansion plans, your continued investments are allowing booming businesses like these go even further. In this article, Samir discusses the positive growth of Funding Circle over the years and our plans to help thousands more investors and businesses across the world. Read more in the Times.

News

Picture story: Are you helping people enjoy the great outdoors?

Ready for an adventure? The Channel Group offers a range of exhilarating outdoor activities and personal development programmes. Based in Minehead, the Adventure Centre neighbours Exmoor National Park. Whilst admiring the beautiful landscape, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as kayaking, outdoor swimming, coastal rafting, canoeing and much more. “It’s the California of West Somerset” according to business owner Jim.

The Adventure Centre has activities for all ages and abilities, including The Grom Squad aimed at children aged 8 to 16. A great present or action packed day out for all the family!

The Channel Group has borrowed over £130,000 across multiple loans through Funding Circle since 2015. This allowed them to hire more staff and buy the highest quality equipment to grow their business. In this picture story, see the Channel Group in action and meet Jim:

Thriving outdoors activities company

One simple mission

The Adventure Cente

Exmoor National Park

To name a few activities

Bonding with family, friends or work colleagues

Grom Squad

Smiles on faces

Borrowed £130,000

Funding Circle is about that

Funding Circle could help your business grow

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Channel Group?

Lend alongside 63,000 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 26,000 UK businesses have accessed finance through 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.

September’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

SeptemberInvestorImpact
In this month’s post, find out how your lending has helped businesses across the UK achieve their goals. See borrower Jim in a BBC documentary next week, watch investor Jan meet up with a kitesurfing business she lent to, and read our ideas for an amazing Oktoberfest.

A great month for
Jim, Managing Director at Channel Group, who’ll feature on Saving Lives at Sea on Tuesday next week. The BBC documentary series follows the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the ordinary men and women who race to the rescue within minutes of a cry for help. We caught up with Jim last month to find out how Funding Circle investors, like you, have helped grow his outdoor activity business.

SeptemberSuccessStory
Watch our new video as Jan, a Funding Circle investor, heads to Worthing to meet Christine and have her first kite surfing lesson! Find out how your lending helped Christine pursue her dreams and set up The Kite, Surf & Sup Co.

Kitesurf Jan

Oktoberfest: raise a glass to these 4 glorious breweries!

Need some inspiration this Oktoberfest? Read about some great breweries which, thanks to the help of Funding Circle investors, were able to grow their business and continue offering a fantastic service for all of us to enjoy.

August’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

In case you missed it, here’s last month’s post, when we met husband and wife team Peter Robinson and Tracy Pound, and enjoyed the last of summer at Britain’s best beaches.

Up next

At the beginning of October, we’ll publish ‘Your October Review – Insight and Analysis’ including statistics from across the platform and helpful tips to 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

Windsurfing world-champion is riding towards success

Growing up by the stunning south coast of England, Christine Johnston’s love for windsurfing started at an early age. “My dad got me into windsurfing and I got quite hooked quite quickly.” she explains. Since then, Christine has won eight national titles and most impressively, won the World Windsurfing Championships in 2003.  

After finishing her competitive windsurfing career in 2008, Christine worked at an office job for five years, but found the work tiresome and dull. As an individual with an ambitious personality and a huge passion for watersports, she decided to quit her job and pursue her dream of becoming a kitesurfing instructor. One year later, after Christine completed her kitesurfing instructor course, she took her learnings into practice and founded KiTE SURF & SUP Co, a kitesurfing school and online shop based in beautiful Brighton and Worthing in 2014.

After two years of steady and successful growth, Christine wanted to grow her online shop and update the website to help develop her company even further. In order progress with these plans, she received fast financial support from 126 Funding Circle investors in March 2016 who wanted to see her business thrive.

In this short video, learn more about Christine’s passion for teaching kitesurfing:

Are you interested in lending to businesses like KiTE SURF & SUP Co?

Lend alongside 65,000 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 27,000 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.

Read between the lines: pensions and retirement

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 impact of making small savings each month.

Do you know when you’re going to retire? It may seem a long way off, but if you don’t get your finances in order, it’ll be even further away. Why? Because if you don’t have a decent nest-egg to draw on, you won’t be heading for a happy retirement – just a struggling one.

And if you think you can rely on the state to support you when you give up working, think again. At present the state pension payout is just £159.55 a week. That works out at £8,296.60 a year.

Do you think you could survive on that when you retire? Some people have to, but you won’t if you save some extra cash to see you into a reasonably wealthy retirement.

Before I suggest some ways to do that, it’s also worth pointing out that the state retirement payout age is rising. What age do you think you will qualify, bearing in mind that the age is now the same for men and women?

Yes, it did use to be 65 for men and 60 for women but that’s changed. If you’re not due to retire before November next year the qualifying age will be 65 for both genders.

By October 2020 the age climbs to 66 and it rises again to 67 by 2028, that will hit anyone who is 56 or older already.

For younger folk the age is likely to climb again to 68 from 2037 – which means anyone born after 1969 will have to wait an extra year for the state pension. And there will be continual rises in the future which could mean your kids will have to wait until age 70 or older to qualify.

What that process underlines is that it’s up to you to ensure you have enough money in retirement to ensure a decent quality of living. How you do that is up to you. But don’t be put off by the word ‘pension’ – it’s simply a savings scheme with a specific purpose, to give you some cash when you get older and stop working.

You don’t have to save for retirement into a traditional pension scheme. Indeed if you want some flexibility about when you retire there’s an argument for saving elsewhere. In fact many people fed up with the returns from traditional pension managers prefer to invest their retirement cash themselves, whether that’s in stocks and shares, property, peer-to-peer or other type of opportunity.

Saying that, if you work for a company, it has to offer you a workplace pension and that is almost certainly worth using. That’s because many companies match your own contributions as well as there being tax relief on every pound you put in. So if you’re a 40% taxpayer, your pound is matched by your company and taking account of the tax benefit, every pound is immediately worth £2.40 to your pot.

But even though that sounds great, you should be planning other ways to build up your retirement pot. Think about it this way: how much do you want to live on when you give up work? Would £30,000 do?

Earlier this year, consultants at Hymans Robertson worked out how much you’d need to save a month to achieve that target. Because of the earnings you make from compound interest, the amount climbs dramatically the older you are when you start saving.

The actuaries reckoned a 25-year-old would need to save £342 a month, while a 35-year-old would need to stash away more than £500. If you’re 45 and haven’t started saving for retirement, your figure would be more than £1,000 a month.

Sobering, isn’t it? The simple truth is that the sooner you start planning for your retirement, the better life you’ll be able to have when you give up work.

Your pensions planning checklist:

1 – Pick the age you’d like to retire

2 – Plan how much you’d like to live on when you retire

3 – Work out how much you need to save per month

  • Check your state pension age, but remember this may change if you are still young
  • If you have a company pension, find out what their contribution is and how it is managed
  • Use a pensions calculator to see what savings you need to make
  • If you need a boost, look at your investment options, and how much interest you could earn

Other resources:

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 adviser or seek independent specialist advice.

We’ve launched your new lending experience

Last month we announced plans to launch an improved and upgraded version of our existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools, and the decision to withdraw the option to manually choose which businesses to lend to and sell.

Today these changes have come into effect, and we’re pleased to launch our new lending experience to make lending through Funding Circle simpler, better and fairer for all investors.

Your new lending options

You can now lend using one of two new lending options:

The rates shown are the projected returns, after fees and bad debts (but before tax), that a diversified investor could earn with either lending option. These rates may change over time, and your actual return may be higher or lower. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Over the past four weeks, you will have received an email from us letting you know:

  • If you used Autobid – which lending option you have been transitioned to. You are now lending to businesses through your preferred option and do not need to do anything.
  • If you didn’t use Autobidhow to login to your account and select your preferred lending option. You will need to select a lending option if you would like to continue lending to businesses, although you will continue to receive repayments from your existing loan parts if you don’t select an option.

If you haven’t yet picked a lending option or would like to change which option you chose, you can do so easily by logging in now and navigating to your new Lending settings page. You can also pause your lending at anytime:

Changing your lending option will only affect any new lending on your account, and won’t affect any existing loan parts you own.

Updates to your investor account

When you next login you will also notice that we’ve made a few improvements to your investor account:

  • You can now manage your portfolio from your new Lending settings page – change your lending option, pause or resume your lending from here.
  • You can sell loan parts quickly and easilywe launched our new sell page on 21st August (including removing our sale fee), and from today the option to sell individual loans has been withdrawn. We expect liquidity to remain strong on the platform so you can access your money quickly, although this can’t be guaranteed.
  • The loan request and loan parts page have been withdrawn
  • We’ve updated some of the terms we useto reflect your new lending experience, bids are now called orders, and your Funding Circle total is now your Portfolio total.

Your new lending experience will make lending through Funding Circle simpler, better and fairer for everyone, and we hope you continue to enjoy lending through Funding Circle. If you have any questions about today’s changes, or you need any help with your account, please see our Q&A blog or get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Your September Review – Insight and Analysis

Your September Review

On 18th September we’re launching an exciting new lending experience to make lending to businesses through Funding Circle simpler, better and fairer for all investors. Read about the two new lending options on our blog or dive in to your monthly analysis below.

Last month, you and other investors helped businesses to take new opportunities, create new jobs and drive energy into the UK economy — thank you for your continued support!

August industry news

Written up in Bloomberg, Funding Circle co-founder and CEO Samir Desai met borrower By the Horns brewery to find out how the EU referendum has affected their business. Read this and more in last month’s industry news.

Monthly trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on our platform.

You’ve helped more than 8,500 small businesses access finance in the last 6 months…

Number of loans September

Totalling over £605 million lent

Value of loans

August 2017 sector breakdown

Amount lent to each sector

August sector

August 2017 regional breakdown

Amount lent to each UK region

Region August

Loans defaulted last week

As part of lending to businesses, a small percentage will not be able to fully repay their loan. This is known as bad debt and is a normal part of business lending. We believe diversification, where you lend no more than 1% of your total to each business, is the best way to reduce the impact this has on your return. You can diversify automatically using our Autobid tool.

Each week, we publish a list of the loans being defaulted on the Customer support section of our website under ‘Announcements.’ To see a breakdown of the loans defaulted last week simply click on loans defaulted 31st September 2017.  For further information on why Funding Circle defaults loans you can read our FAQ here.

Collections and recoveries

How it works

You can also read more about how our collections and recoveries process works (part one and part two) on our blog.

Up next in September, we’ll be looking at the impact your lending is having on the UK economy and bringing to life some of the businesses you’ve helped access finance.

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

*The current estimated return is a weighted estimate of the annual return after fees and bad debts that investors could earn from lending money to businesses seeking loans today. It is calculated by taking the gross interest rate less fees and estimated bad debts that will occur in the future for each of the last 3000 loans accepted on the marketplace. The average return is weighted by loan amount, compounded and before tax. The return is updated daily. See the full calculation here.

This blog is a general summary, and should not replace financial advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice. If you have any questions, please speak to your professional advisor or seek independent specialist advice.

 

A not so quiet summer. August industry news

Aegon eyes £160m deal for small businesses – the Times

Last month we were pleased to announce a strategic long-term partnership with Aegon to support the growth of UK small businesses. In the first 12 months of a four years program, the initial £160 million investment will help around 2,600 businesses, creating up to 6,400 new jobs. Stephen Barclay, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said, “This partnership with one of the UK’s largest FinTech firms is further proof that the UK remains the global leader in FinTech.” Read more in CityAm. Also, tune in on Bloomberg (skip to 34:00) to hear our CEO and co-founder Samir discuss the news and his vision for the future of small business lending.

London Craft Brewer Rides Out Brexit With Hoppy Ales and Hope – Bloomberg

By the Horns Brewery is an excellent example of a thriving business that has gone for growth thanks to accessing finance through online lending. The trendy brewery’s loan was funded by the European Investment Fund through our platform, which allowed the team to invest in a new bottling line. Samir recently met with the business owner, Alex Bull, who took him on a tour of his site and discussed how Brexit is affecting his business. With the pound at record lows, British goods are cheaper to export overseas. Read the full story in Bloomberg and learn about the importance of retaining access to capital post Brexit.

Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths – CityAM

As online lending continues to develop, a range of recurring questions have arisen such as: ‘will platforms suffer in an economic downturn?’ and ‘what will happen when interest rates rise?’. Various platforms have conducted stress tests to reveal what could happen to investor returns in times of economic stress, including us. Our results predict that in a deeper and longer-lasting recession than 2008, investor returns are likely to remain attractive. Although as always, capital is at risk. Read more about the potential future growth of the industry in Forbes.

Funding Circle is kicking off a marketing bonanza with a Great British Bake Off TV ad – Business Insider

Shortly after the exciting introduction of our fresh new look, we launched a TV advertising campaign that celebrates those who are Made to do More. Premiered during the Great British Bake Off last week, our TV ads will allow us to reach a wider audience and help bring more amazing businesses to the platform that need your continued support. You can see both adverts on our blog. Feel free to like, share and help us spread the word, so we can continue to help businesses and investors across the UK go further.

Funding Circle simplifies its investment protocol – Business Insider

And finally, as we announced on 21 August, we will launch a significantly improved and upgraded version of our existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools on 18 September, and the option to manually choose which businesses to lend to will be withdrawn. This change comes with the aim of creating a level playing field for all investors and making lending simpler, better and fairer for all. We appreciate that this is a significant change so if you have any questions or concerns, please provide us with your thoughts here. For more information, check out our blog or read more in AltFi.

News

New lending experience – your questions answered

Last week we announced some improvements to how lending and selling through Funding Circle will work, with the aim of making lending simpler, better and fairer for all investors. 

Since then, we’ve been listening to your feedback and have put together answers to the most frequent questions you’ve been asking.

Your account from 18th September

If I don’t choose a lending option, can I still use my Funding Circle account from 18th September?

If you are an Autobid user, you will automatically continue to lend to businesses from 18th September and you do not need to select a lending option.

If you do not use Autobid you will need to select a lending option in order to continue lending to businesses from 18th September. If you do not select a lending option you can continue to login to your account, view your existing portfolio and withdraw your available funds, however you will no longer lend to any more businesses.

From 18th September, you will need to accept the new Terms and Conditions in order to continue using your Funding Circle account.

Will I be able to pause lending, or will it always be turned on?

You will be able to pause your lending at anytime. Your repayments will not be lent to more businesses until you turn lending back on.

What happens to my existing loan parts?

The changes we are making will only affect lending to businesses from 18th September, and will not affect any existing loan parts you own. You will continue to receive repayments from existing loan parts from 18th September, even if you do not choose a lending option.

How can I change my lending option?

  • Before 18th September: If you are not being transferred to a lending option (for example if you don’t currently use Autobid) you will be able to select an option the next time you log into your Funding Circle account. You can change your lending option by navigating to the Autobid page and following the link.
  • On and after 18th September: you will be able to change your lending option at anytime. Your choice of lending option will only affect any new lending, and will not change existing loan parts you own.

Selling loan parts

How will the secondary market work?

  • Before 18th September: On 21st August we launched a sell page that simplifies how investors buy and sell loan parts. You can sell your loan parts by going to the sell page and telling us how much you’d like to withdraw. We’ll list a selection of your loan parts for you approximate to that value. Once they’ve sold, the loan parts will appear as available funds which you can transfer to a nominated bank account. We have also removed the 0.25% fee to sell your loan parts. You will be able to sell individual loan parts and set a premium or discount up until 18th September.
  • On and after 18th September: Any remaining loan parts listed for sale at a premium or discount will be delisted and the option to sell loan parts individually will be withdrawn. All loan parts listed from 18th September will be sold at par value. All investors will buy existing loan parts sold by other investors, based on their lending preference.

Can I still buy or sell individual loan parts?

From 18th September you will no longer be able to buy individual loan parts from other investors, or sell individual loan parts to other investors.

Will I be able to sell loan parts that are larger than £100?

Yes. The new tool will only split your lending to a single business into smaller parts of £100 when lending to new businesses. You may still sell loan parts larger than £100 to other investors, providing they are no larger than 0.5% of the buyer’s portfolio.

Your new lending options

Will I be well-diversified by lending 0.5% of my portfolio to each business?

Since 2010, every investor who has lent no more than 1% of their portfolio to a single business for at least a year has made a positive return, with 92% earning at least 5% a year after fees and bad debt. This increases to 93% when an investor lends no more than 0.5% of their portfolio each time.

There are no guarantees with any form of investment, but lending 0.5% to each business will provide you with a very well-diversified portfolio. You can see this from the graph below, which shows the annualised return earned by 95% of investors lending for at least one year, by the number of businesses lent to.

Data is correct as of 1st July, and past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Will I be able to choose the loan term of the business I lend to?

Our aim is for you to build a well-diversified portfolio and have the best chance of earning a stable return by lending to a wide range of businesses. Over the past seven years we have built up a large database of historical loan performance and have found there to be no significant difference in how businesses perform by loan term. In addition, if you do want to access your money early you can sell your loan parts to other investors and there is no cost to do so.

Will I now be investing in a fund?

No. By lending through Funding Circle you always lend directly to your own individual portfolio of businesses and no investor account is the same. This will not change as you will continue to enter into loan contracts directly with each borrower you lend to, so you are only exposed to the performance of those borrowers. This is very different to a fund where your money would be pooled together with all other investors and the return investors receive depends on the overall performance of the fund.

Funding Circle ISA

When are you launching a Funding Circle ISA?

We will be launching the Funding Circle ISA this tax year. Given we expect the Funding Circle ISA to be popular, we plan to launch it at a time 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.

Can I transfer my existing loan parts into the Funding Circle ISA?

No. For regulatory reasons, you will not be able to transfer any existing loan parts you own into a Funding Circle ISA. You will need to withdraw funds to your nominated bank account, before transferring them into your Funding Circle ISA.

If you can’t see your question here, you can find more information about your new lending experience in our FAQ.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Watch our new TV adverts

To bring the Funding Circle mission to a wider audience, we have launched a new TV advertising campaign that celebrates those who are made to do more.

Premiered during the Great British Bake Off yesterday on Channel 4, our first TV ad features Victoria, our made to do more drummer. She’ll be joined on the airways in a few days time by Sebastian, who’s showing how you can go even further in skipping.

You can see both adverts below. Please like, share, and help us spread the word, so we can keep helping businesses and investors across the UK achieve even more.


News

August’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

August Investor Impact
In this month’s post, find out how your lending has helped businesses across the UK achieve their goals. First up, meet husband and wife team Peter Robinson and Tracy Pound who borrowed this month. Then we’re headed to the beautiful Exmoor National Park to meet adventure activities specialist the Channel Group and finally we’re enjoying the last of summer at Britain’s best beaches. Dive in below.

A great month for rebrand
Peter RobinsonThis month we had the pleasure of meeting Peter Robinson, who runs award-winning insurance broker business Prizm Solutions in Staffordshire. The business was formed in 2006 when Peter saw an opportunity to radically change the way insurance was transacted.

Today, they have countless recommendations of how they’ve helped clients with their insurance needs; from motor insurance, to liability insurance and employee benefits to name a few. Prizm has also been recognised by their peers, being shortlisted for Community Broker of the Year at the UK Broker Awards 2017.

During our conversation, Peter told us that his wife, Tracy Pound who runs IT training and consultancy specialist Maximity, has been shortlisted for Business Role Model of the Year in the Women in IT awards 2017. On behalf of the Funding Circle community we’d like to wish Peter and Tracy the best of luck in their upcoming awards!

You and other investors helped Prizm Solutions borrow over £150,000 this month to acquire another business and they’ll be increasing their team to 16 people.

August's success story
Jim Channel Training

Outdoor enthusiast goes for growth

The Channel Group was started in 2012, when Managing Director Jim Whittaker and his friend Darren quit their day jobs to found a business with a simple mission: to get more people out and about in the beautiful outdoors.

Five years on, Jim and his team now offer a diverse range of adventurous activities, outdoor education and personal development programmes on the edge of the beautiful Exmoor National Park. You and other investors helped the Channel Group keep up with high demand for their courses and progress with their growth plans.  In this short video meet Jim and hear his story.

Support local this August
Make the most of the final few weeks of summer and head to one of our Britain’s beautiful beaches. From stunning north-east Scotland to the Cornish coast, join our tour of six local businesses where you can go for a bite to eat, have a refreshing drink or stay the night in these top spots.

July’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

In case you missed it, here’s last month’s post, when we caught with our first ever borrower on the Isle of Alderney and met business owner Christine Johnson in Brighton to find out how investors, like you, have helped take her business to the next level.

Up next

At the beginning of September, we’ll be publishing ‘Your September 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

Outdoor enthusiast goes for growth

Meet Jim Whittaker, Managing Director at Channel Group and full-time outdoor enthusiast. While teaching science and outdoor education in schools, Jim began to realise that there were things he wanted to do, such as training apprentice instructors and delivering exciting new activities, were best achieved outside of formal education. So he set out to do something about it.

In 2012, Jim and his friend Darren quit their day jobs and started Channel Group, founded with a simple mission: to get more people out and about in the beautiful outdoors. In Jim’s words, “It’s smiles on faces, it’s being in a totally natural environment, where people can just relax, express themselves and be themselves without the clutter of modern life.”  From teaching personal development programmes in Taunton to providing high-quality lessons in Minehead, the adventurous team cover all bases.

Five years on, Channel Group has grown to become a hugely successful outdoor activity business. In order to keep up with the high demand for their courses, Jim needed more passionate people to join the team. Turning to Funding Circle for support, Jim was able to progress with his growth plans thanks to you and other investors. “I can’t ever see any bank loan offer being inline with an aspiration to do some really cool stuff in the outdoors – Funding Circle is about that.”

In this short video, learn more about Jim’s passion for outdoor education:

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Channel Group?
Lend alongside 63,000 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 25,000 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.

We’re launching an exciting new lending experience

Since we launched Funding Circle in 2010, our aim has been to enable investors to earn attractive, stable returns by lending directly to small businesses.

Recently, we have been reviewing how lending through Funding Circle works, with the aim of making lending simpler, better and fairer for all investors. After careful consideration, we have taken the decision to make some improvements to your lending experience.

On 18th September, we will launch a significantly improved and upgraded version of our existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools, and the option to manually choose which businesses to lend to and which loan parts to sell will be withdrawn.

How will the new lending experience work?

Investors will be able to choose one of two new lending options based on their personal preference. Both options will be available as a Funding Circle ISA, which we intend to launch later this tax year.

  • Balanced: you will automatically lend to the full range of creditworthy businesses (A+ to E), aiming to achieve an attractive, stable return. This will allow you to build a balanced portfolio similar to the makeup of small businesses in the UK today. The projected return is estimated to be 7.5% per year after fees and bad debt.
  • Conservative: you will focus on lending to businesses that have been assessed as lower risk (initially A+/A) but with a lower projected return. The projected return is estimated to be 4.8% per year after fees and bad debt.

Your actual return may be higher or lower, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk. You can read more about the improvements we are making, and what they mean for you, on our announcement page.

As part of the improvements we are making we are also updating the interest rates at which you lend to businesses. The projected return of both lending options have taken these changes into account. We’ll be introducing these new rates on 30th August, and you can read more about them here.

As part of this change we will also be updating our Terms and Conditions. You can view a summary of the main changes here.

We always want to hear your thoughts, so please fill out the feedback form on our announcement page if you would like to give us your feedback.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Update to Funding Circle rates

At Funding Circle, our aim is to allow you to earn an attractive, stable return by lending directly to a diversified portfolio of creditworthy businesses. To help you achieve this, we regularly update and improve our assessment processes. This also includes regularly reviewing the interest rates at which you lend to businesses.

Following our recent review, we wanted to let you know about some upcoming changes to the interest rates on our platform and our assessment process.

What are the new rates?

From Wednesday 30th August, we will begin to list small business loans in the UK at the gross interest rates below. These rates are shown before fees and bad debt. The projected annual return for the overall Funding Circle loanbook, after fees and bad debt, will be 6.7%*.

We made an important announcement today about some improvements we are making to how lending through Funding Circle will work from the 18th September, including introducing two new lending options. Taking into account these changes, the projected annual return for these lending options, after fees and bad debt, is estimated to be:

  • Balanced – 7.5%
  • Conservative – 4.8%

Your actual return may be higher or lower, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.


As some borrowers will have begun their application before the new rates are introduced, you may see loans listed at different rates for the same risk band and term length up until 5th October.

How have the rates changed?

You can see how the new rates compare to our current rates in the table below:

Why are the rates changing?

When reviewing rates we take a number of factors into account, including macroeconomic trends, the expected mix of risk bands of borrowers, expected bad debt rates and wider competition in the market, which continues to be increasingly competitive for lower risk businesses. The new rates will allow you to continue to lend to established, creditworthy small businesses while earning an attractive, stable return.

Will this affect the businesses you lend to?

Over the past seven years, 64,000 investors have lent £2.5 billion to more than 25,000 UK businesses. This has provided us with significant amounts of performance data to help improve our statistical credit models and means we can provide even more accurate pricing decisions to borrowers. With these improvements to our credit models, you can expect to see an adjustment in the mix of risk bands of borrowers in the coming months. This adjustment means the new expected bad debt rate for the overall Funding Circle loanbook will be 2.3% annually.

The improvements also mean we can make updates to our policy criteria. Our policy criteria give direction to business owners and help filter out businesses that have a low likelihood of being approved, so our credit assessment team only spend time on the right type of applications. Our latest policy criteria are:

  • A minimum of two years trading history
  • At least 1 year of filed or formally prepared accounts
  • No County Court Judgments (CCJs) registered in the last 12 months, with no outstanding CCJs larger than £1000

Do you need to do anything?

The new rates will not affect any loan parts you currently hold, and will not apply to property development loans, which are priced individually.  

If you use Autobid to lend to businesses, there is nothing you need to do as Autobid will continue to place bids on new loans at the new rates until 18th September, when the new lending options will be introduced.

As a reminder, these new rates will go live on Wednesday 30th August. If you have any questions about today’s news, please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*The projected return is an estimate of the annual return, after fees and bad debts, that a diversified investor could earn. It is calculated by taking the distribution of loans, across both risk band and loan term, that we expect to be funded on the marketplace.

The return is then calculated by taking the gross interest rate of these loans, then deducting the fees and estimated bad debts that will occur in the future. The average return is weighted by loan amount, compounded and before tax. See the full calculation here.

Update to our Terms and Conditions

At Funding Circle, we want all investors to have a simpler, better and fairer lending experience. To help achieve this, on 18th September we will be making a number of important improvements to how lending through Funding Circle will work. You can read more about these improvements here.

We will also be updating both our Investor and Borrower Terms and Conditions (collectively “Terms”) on 18th September, along with our Privacy Policy. We will also be making some small, related changes to the Loan Conditions. In addition, we’ve created a new Website Terms of Use.

What you need to do

The changes will go into effect for all existing investors and borrowers on 18th September 2017, and will apply to all new lending from that date.

If you are an existing investor, the next time you login to your Funding Circle account you will be prompted to read more about the changes we are making, and we’ll ask you to agree to the new Terms. Also, if you are an investor that currently chooses the individual businesses that you lend to, you will be asked to choose your new preferred lending option.

If you’re an existing borrower, it’s important that you read the new Terms because they will apply to you; however you won’t need to do anything else.

What is changing?

We’re making the following changes to our Investor and Borrower Terms:

We’re making them simpler and easier to understand

  • We’re restructuring the order, layout and sections of the Terms to make them easier to read.
  • We’re simplifying the language used to describe:
    • The process of becoming an investor or borrower.
    • How lending will work through the platform.
    • How you engage with the platform and with us.
    • The services we provide to you.
    • The security provisions for secured loans and our collections and recoveries processes.
  • To make the Terms shorter and clearer:
    • We are moving the definitions to a separate glossary to make them easier to find.
    • We’re removing some of the descriptions of how the platform works, for example how to transfer money into your account. You’ll still be able to find these in the Investor Guide and FAQs from 18th September.

We’re reflecting the new investor lending experience

  • The description of how your funds will be matched to businesses is being updated.
  • The section on how to sell your loan parts will be changing to reflect the improvements we have made, and that it will be a fully automated process.
  • From today we have become the first major lending platform to charge no fees for selling your loans, so we have removed references to sale fees from the Terms.

Your rights and our obligations

  • We are clarifying the process you can follow to cancel your Funding Circle account.
  • We’re simplifying the termination rights that apply in relation to your Funding Circle account.
  • We’re clarifying why we may make future changes to the Terms, and the way in which we’ll communicate them to you.

Changes to our Loan Conditions

  • We’re updating the terminology in the Loan Conditions to reflect the new lending experience and mirror the language of the new Terms (for example, we are removing words like “bids” and “listing”).
  • We’ve simplified the language by adding new definitions (for example, “Event of Default”, “Loan Completion Date” and “Total Amount Payable”)
  • We’re amending the section that describes the legal mechanism through which a loan part is transferred from one investor to another when loan parts are sold and bought.
  • We’ve included new circumstances where a borrower may be defaulted, for example where they are abusive to Funding Circle employees.
  • We’re rewording the fees section so it’s easier to understand.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

  • We’re simplifying the policy to make it easier to read and navigate.
  • We’re making some minor changes to our Privacy Policy so that it aligns with our Cookies Policy.
  • We’re making it easier for you to contact us to discuss your privacy rights.

New Website Terms of Use

  • We’ve created Website Terms of Use, which apply to everyone who uses our website even if you are not an investor or borrower.
  • The Website Terms of Use are designed as a set of rules and guidelines that govern your use of the website.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team