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)


Number of listed loans per week


Listed loan value per week


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.


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!


The Complete Guide to Growing Your Business Internationally. Part 4: Tax

Part 4 of our Guide to Growing Your Business Internationally looks at that most joyous of business responsibilities – Paying Tax.

It’s obvious that you must pay international taxes correctly, just as you do in the UK. But did you realise that tax should be something you think about while planning your business expansion.  Why? Because tax issues determine how overseas operations should be set up, product pricing, and how you manage your cash.

Here’s some of the basics you’ll need to explore.


The Three Questions That Determine Your Tax

Paying taxes abroad can be pretty complex. And you can double that complexity if you manufacture goods, or are providing services, from the UK to another country as you’re liable for both the local market taxes and applicable UK taxes.

Even if you don’t manufacture or run a services business locally, if the funds are ending up back in Blighty, the tax man will take his cut.

Tax is loosely determined by how you answer the following three questions:

1)      Where do you manufacture and sell to: UK, EU, or outside the EU?

For trading purposes the European Union (EU) is a single market with no frontiers between the member states. This means that goods can move freely between them, only incurring formal customs costs when goods leave the EU. Goods leaving the UK but remaining in the EU are called ‘dispatches’ while goods going outside of the EU are called ‘exports’.

But the second dimension to location is whether you produce locally in the UK and then export those goods elsewhere – making you an ‘exporter’ – or manufacture within the foreign market you are trading in. Neither are good or bad, and both options will incur taxes, but there can be a dramatic difference in costs when you explore the tax implications of either scenario. (You need to be aware of this before finalising your distribution strategy.)

2)      What are you selling?

Quite simply, do you sell goods or services? There’s a different tax for that. (You can read more about the differences between providing goods and services here.) And then of course within goods and services taxes apply dependent on the type and class of those goods as well as the quantity sold.

3)      To whom are you selling?

Your last tax differentiator is based on who you sell to – Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C)? If selling to Businesses there’ll most likely be some type of Value-Added Tax (VAT) to calculate. And if selling to consumers you’ll apply a Sales Tax at Point of Sale.

How to Learn The Basics of Tax

Luckily, within in the UK at least, the Government, UKTI, and HMRC are keen that you understand tax as much as possible (to ensure you pay what you are supposed to) and have created some really good guides to the process. Have a look at:

How to Approach International Tax

Even when you have educated yourself on some of the tax basics you’ll know by now that you need specialist advice on tax while planning your move into an overseas market. We’d recommend using a combination of some, or all, of the below:

  • UKTI
  • Your local tax advisor/accountant (even if they have no knowledge of the market you are going to be trading in they need to be aware of your plans and can advise on UK tax implications and what tax relief is available)
  • A specialist tax advisor with knowledge of trading in your chosen market
  • The local market tax regulatory body (i.e. their equivalent of HMRC)

At this point in time you may even choose to revisit your Distribution Strategy – and that’s OK! It’s better to know this stuff in advance than to start trading and find out your profits just don’t stack up once taxes are applied.


Video: How your lending helped a British accessories manufacturer sell their goods at Heathrow Airport

Owen Barry designs and manufactures clothing and accessories from the finest ethically sourced sheepskins and leathers from Britain and Europe. The business was started in 1948 in Street, Somerset by Owen Barry the father of the current owner, Cindi Barnstable. She rescued the family business from receivership in 1990 and has been running Owen Barry ever since.

Their goods are all designed and made in their factory in Somerset and are sold across the UK and the rest of the world in countries as far away as Japan and New Zealand.

In May 2012 they took out a peer-to-peer business loan through Funding Circle for £60k so they could move to a larger premises and cope with increasing demand.

Their loan was funded by 389 people in 7 days. In this video you’ll see some of the team at work, making quintessentially British garments and accessories, as well as hearing Cindi’s own experience of Funding Circle.

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.

Update to minimum bid rates and nearly 100 new loans. Weekly Lending Review: week 46

Week 46: 11 – 17 November 2013

It was the best week ever for the number and value of lending opportunities available to you: 98 business loans totalling £5.5 million were listed on the marketplace. The majority of loan applications came from London and the South East, and the most common loan purpose was for expansion and growth capital.

New loans

There were 98 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 60 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £5,492,500; that’s an average of £56,046 per loan. The largest loan value was £160,000 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: 11-Nov represents the week of 11th- 17th November.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)


Number of listed loans per week


Listed loan value per week


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 0.1% on the A, B and C risk bands. The new rates will come into effect for loan requests listed after 9am on Monday 2nd December. The new rates are as follows:

A+: 6% (no change)

A: 7.6% (+0.1%)

B: 8.6% (+ 0.1%)

C: 9.6% (+ 0.1%)

C-: 11.5% (no change)

News you should know

We updated our terms and conditions last week, to give us more flexibility when dealing with loans that are behind with their repayments.

Lakeland Picnic borrowed through the marketplace in September and we visited them in the Lake District where they make their delicious homemade burgers. We put together a picture story of their business story including a special message to the people who lent them money.

Community Discussions

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

Loans defaulted last week

Software development company. Loan 127

This Loughborough business has been trading since 2008 but failed to keep up with repayments and is now in liquidation. The original loan amount was £35,000 and all 319 investors have been notified.

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team


Welcoming Luke Jooste to Funding Circle

As we’ve alluded to recently, it’s going to be a big twelve months at Funding Circle.

You may have read recently that Funding Circle raised $37million in October to invest partly in launching our US operation, but also to invest in expanding our UK offering into key opportunity areas, focussing mainly on expanding the types of loans we offer to our UK investors.

One such area is property finance and to help us define our offering, we are very pleased to welcome Luke Jooste to the team. Luke is a property finance specialist, bringing fifteen years of experience with him, and we’re really excited to have someone of his stature onboard with us.

IMG_1461 (1)

Before joining Funding Circle, Luke oversaw the commercial performance of Barclays Business as their Commercial Director, of which property is a major asset component.

We spent a few minutes with Luke to hear what drew him to Funding Circle.

What’s your background?

I’m always reluctant to say (only because it shows my age), but I’ve been in financial services for 18 years, 15 of which have been in property finance. I began my banking career in 1995 after being recruited from University by one of the large South African retail banks.

I moved over to the UK as an Associate Credit Director (Real Estate) with Barclays Corporate Bank in 2008, just as the credit crunch really took hold. It was an incredible learning experience for me as I got a huge amount of insight into the heart of credit risk in the UK real estate sector. After two years in that role I moved to Barclays Business Bank as UK Head of Real Estate Finance, and for the past 12 months I’ve been the Commercial Director of Barclays Business.

It’s been a difficult time for the UK banking sector but very valuable experience for me to have.  I’m now looking to bring that experience across to Funding Circle, so that we maximise opportunities while avoiding the mistakes of the past, and add real value for our borrowers and investors.

Why did Funding Circle appeal to you?

The emergence of peer-to-peer lending is probably the most exciting development in the UK financial sector at the moment. So being given the opportunity to develop a real estate finance proposition for the company that is pioneering the peer-to-peer lending movement is both an honour and a compliment for me.

It’s also incredibly exciting to move from a global corporate like Barclays to a smaller tech start-up company. I’m still struggling with not wearing a suit everyday and getting used to having table tennis in the office however! But most importantly it’s about the people. The team at Funding Circle are exceptionally talented and that was the most appealing aspect.

Why do you think it’s a good idea for Funding Circle to develop it’s property offer?

If Funding Circle is going to achieve its ambition of being a global peer-to-peer lending company, then it needs a full suite of funding product offerings. Property finance is at the core of any funding market. There is general consensus across the board that the UK real estate market is improving, and we must be able to service borrowers who need finance as well as investors that are looking to get into this popular asset class.

But we won’t be naive about how we do that and are very aware of the risks that this carries, particularly given the learnings from the 2008 property downturn. Just because it will be difficult however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.  In fact it means we should do it a lot better. As a peer-to-peer lender, Funding Circle doesn’t have the legacy in real estate finance that the banks do. I think this gives us a real advantage and look forward to enhancing lending opportunities for all of our investors.

Why now?

The timing is a combination of the natural growth path of Funding Circle, a recovering property market (based on a number of metrics, not just house prices), the continued shortage of credit in the market (especially to small and medium sized property professionals) and ultimately our sheer determination to be able to offer the right suite of products and opportunities to our borrowers and investors.

Thanks Luke.  That’s it for now, but we’ll be in touch with more exciting property news in the next few weeks.


Picture story: tasty homemade burgers brought to you straight from the Lake District

Michelle Partington has been running Lakeland Picnic since 2007, making homemade burgers and sausages from their base in the Lake District. The business was looking to raise finance so they could revamp the look of their street stalls.

In September, Lakeland Picnic took out a business loan through Funding Circle which was funded by 221 people across the UK, alongside the UK Government.

We went up to visit Michelle in the Lake District to see how her and the team create their magical meat and then followed her to their stall in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens, where she had some lovely words to say about everyone who had lent them money.


Picnic - Michelle slide 2








Final Slide

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.

Updates to the Terms & Conditions

Today we will be making some changes to the Terms & Conditions which will affect all of our community.

As you may already know, we will be launching new borrowing products in the near future, such as asset and property finance, as well as opening more channels through which you can lend your money – the iOS mobile app for example. Through the introduction of these new products, there will be many more lending opportunities and specifically more lending opportunities on larger loans, so we have made some changes to the terms and conditions to reflect these new types of loans.

In addition, we want to ensure that we are in a more flexible position to deal with borrowers who are unable to keep up with their monthly repayments. These changes should help us reach a better outcome for both investors and businesses.

Here are the key changes you should know about:

1. Information from borrowers: We have added requirements for borrowers to provide information to us if we request it, during the life of the loan.

2. Restructuring loans: In certain circumstances we’ll be able to agree an extension of the loan term with borrowers (provided there is an increase in the interest rate), which may help borrowers stay in business whilst making regular repayments back to investors, rather than placing the loan into default.

3. Flexibility of default date: If there is one late payment for a loan, we may place the loan into default (after 10 working days) if we believe this will maximise recovery.

4. Restrictions on loan participation: A single investor (either retail or institutional) can fund up to a maximum of 20% of each loan through the API.

5. Our ‘website’ is now our ‘platform’: To better describe our service due to the apps we will release in the future.

These changes will be reflected in the updated Loan Conditions, as well as the Terms & Conditions for investors, borrowers and intermediaries. It’s important to have a look, as by continuing to use the Funding Circle marketplace you agree to be bound by these revised terms. From later today, before making a bid you’ll also be asked to reaccept the Loan Conditions.


Meet the Funding Circle team. Weekly Lending Review: week 45

Week 45: 4 – 10 November 2013

We had our biggest week for fully submitted applications from businesses which will result in many more lending opportunities in the weeks to come. £3.5 million was lent to businesses last week and a further 71 business in the UK were looking for funding. The majority of businesses were located in the South East; 36 were looking for expansion funds and 31 needed working capital.

New loans

There were 71 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 46 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £3,654,020; that’s an average of £51,465 per loan. The largest loan value was £150,000 and the smallest loan value was £10,000.

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: 4-Nov represents the week of 4th- 10th November.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)


Number of listed loans per week


Listed loan value per week


News you should know

Following from our first team interview where we met the customer relations team, we have also spent 5 minutes with the insolvency team, headed up by Andrew. You can read about their backgrounds, what they do outside of Funding Circle and what they consider to be the highs and lows of their job.

Community Discussions

This week we’re talking about how your account statements could be improved. 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 44

Your 5 minutes with… the Insolvency Team

Following our first team interview where we spoke to Jenah and the rest of the Customer Relations team, we thought we’d spend 5 minutes with Andrew and Susie, who work on the insolvencies and recoveries of Funding Circle businesses.

aj and susie

A small proportion of businesses will be unable to maintain repayments on their loans and become insolvent so we thought it was important for you to meet some of the people who are dealing with these cases on your behalf.

Andrew is Head of Insolvency and Susie is our Insolvency Administrator. We are growing this team and expect a further two members to join them by the end of the year. Andrew started in the summer and Susie has been with us since November last year.

Day to day activities include:

Checking in on businesses that have fallen behind with repayments, working with borrowers and guarantors to establish a fair payment plan (if required) that protects the interests of investors, notifying investors of the status of late payments, ensuring that agreements with borrowers are in line with our internal policies (which may change from time to time), developing policies and using technology to optimise our activities.

What is your background?

Andrew: I’ve been a qualified solicitor for 9 years now. Initially I studied biology at Oxford, and then took conversion exams to become a solicitor. In my early legal career I worked for a charity, the Government, and the NHS and then in corporate restructuring. As the recession hit, I moved from solvent reorganisations to insolvent reorganisations, Blockbusters and Halliwells to name two.

Susie: I have a completely different background to Andrew, I actually came from a travel agency in London, where I was in customer relations and also worked as their internal auditor.

So why did Funding Circle appeal to you?

Susie: When I joined, there were half the number of people and probably half the number of businesses, but I could see Funding Circle was expanding rapidly so the opportunity for development was there. The company has also been very accommodating to flexible working, so that’s helped a lot.

Andrew: Funding Circle is an incredibly exciting and innovative business. My role at Funding Circle is also quite different to what I have done in the past. Previously, I was a solicitor with clients and now I am business manager with legal knowledge, which can be very helpful. When I instruct lawyers and insolvency practitioners, I know what they’re doing and I also know what to expect.

Why is what you do important for our customers?

Andrew: It’s important for investors to know that we work very hard to maximise recoveries for them, whilst also trying to be fair to businesses and to give them a chance to get back on their feet. We look at the same factors in every case and have the same requirements from businesses, the main requirements being transparency and regular communication. However, every case is unique. From a borrower’s perspective, it’s important for them to know that they are dealing with fair and reasonable individuals who want to work with them to get the best result for all.

Susie: Yes exactly, and each case is different. You’re working for the benefit of both investors and businesses. Whilst we want to secure the maximum recovery for investors, we also want to show empathy towards the borrowers and make the right decision for all parties involved.

There is risk with lending and inevitably a small proportion of businesses will struggle to keep up with their repayments, but what do you consider to be the best outcome if this happens?

Susie: It’s a good result when we have achieved a recovery that works for both parties; the investors get their money back and it is affordable for the borrower.

Andrew: The best outcome is 100% recovery and a surviving business! But other than that, a good outcome will only come from great communication with the borrower. When there’s two-way communication, you can really understand their position which gives us flexibility to find an affordable solution that meets everyone’s needs. Ideally this will also help the individuals carry on running their business, having come out of the financial difficulty they previously saw themselves in.

And what is your favourite thing about working at Funding Circle?

Susie: The buzz in the office; everybody is busy and it’s a great environment to work in. It gets you out of bed in the morning!

Andrew: The way that everyone is committed to not only making their own teams the leaders in their field, but that everyone shares the vision of where this business is going. It is very impressive and not something I’ve come across before in my working life.

And what is the most difficult part of your job?

Andrew: Leaving in the evening!  Seriously though, sometimes we have to make very difficult decisions and it’s not easy when you think about the impact those decisions might have on people. Leaving those decisions in the office when I go home is the most difficult part of my job, but fortunately my wife is a good listener.

Susie: Speaking to business owners who have tried everything to turn their business around but are still unable to find the money to meet their repayments.

Yes, that definitely must be tough. On a lighter note, can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

Andrew: I was bitten by a seal in the Galapagos Islands. I’d been snorkelling and as I got back into the boat, a seal bit my knee. It didn’t hurt at all, it was a friendly nip!

Susie: As we’re talking about animals, I was stung by a hornet when I was younger and remains as one of my most vivid memories. The hornet was huge!

Ouch! That sounds nasty. And aside from run-ins with various mammals and insects, what other interests do you have?

Susie: I enjoy socialising with my friends, without my kids! I also enjoy running as it gives me time to process my thoughts.

Andrew: Illegal raves in Vauxhall… I wish.  I’m quite boring really – I like cooking, reading and hanging out with my wife and two daughters.

From the Galapagos to Vauxhall, very interesting! We’ll finish on this one, do you have a favourite city?

Susie: London, without a doubt. You’re going to say something abstract aren’t you Andrew?

Andrew: St Petersburg! The Hermitage in St Petersburg is awesome, and they have a mini version of St Basil’s Cathedral down a little alleyway, which is very atmospheric.


£12.5 million lent to businesses in October. Weekly Lending Review: week 44

Week 44: 28 October – 3 November 2013

Over £3 million was lent to businesses across the UK last week, contributing to a total of £12.5 million for the whole of October. New businesses looking for funding included a retailer of prescription glasses and Coventry-based fruit & vegetable retailer. The majority of businesses were in the retail sector and the most common reason for needing finance was to help them expand.

New loans

There were 62 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 44 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £3,184,500; that’s an average of £51,363 per loan. The largest loan value was £150,000 and the smallest loan value was £6,500.

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: 28-Oct represents the week of 28th October – 3rd November.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)


Number of listed loans per week


Listed loan value per week


News you should know

Our roundup of October’s peer-to-peer lending industry news is up on our blog; including details of regulation and the launch of Funding Circle in the USA.

Community Discussions

This week we’re talking about the size of loan parts selling on the secondary market. You can join the discussion on our community forum.

Loans defaulted last week

Decoration specialists from Grimsby. Loan 468

The business has been trading since 1995 and has failed to keep up with repayments. The original loan amount was £50,000 and all 330 investors have been notified.

Diamond jewellers. Loan 2100

This business is based in Gateshead and the director has not been able to make repayments. The original loan amount was £21,000 and all 267 investors have been notified.

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team


A big month for peer-to-peer lending: October industry news

October has been a bumper month for media coverage of the peer-to-peer lending industry. What with the Financial Conduct Authority announcing plans to regulate the industry from April 2014, and our move into the US, peer-to-peer lending has been across the papers, radio and even TV. Martin Lewis has also been blowing the industry’s trumpet after revealing the great returns he has made by investing in three of the UK’s biggest peer-to-peer lenders.

Let’s regulate

Peer-to-peers are good for banking competition

It’s great to see the Daily Telegraph welcoming news of peer-to-peer regulation.  We certainly agree that “it’s unusual to hear senior executives pining for increased regulatory control”, but that really is how we and the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association feel.  Proportionate regulation will ensure the industry is cemented in the wider financial services industry.

Peer-to-peer lending has a role to play but investing matchmakers need tough controls

Jeff Prestridge at the Mail on Sunday highlights how the regulatory emphasis will be on ensuring those prepared to lend via peer-to-peer platforms are not misled in any way, shape or form.  He says all of the risks will have to be spelt out in black and white, and any interest rate calculations will have to be fair and clear.  Quite right too, and you’ll be pleased to know transparency has always been the name of our game.

FCA wrong to lump P2P lending and crowdfunding together

Christine Farnish, chair of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, wrote an interesting piece for Money Marketing encouraging the FCA to better distinguish between peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding.  She argues that businesses taking a peer-to-peer loan go through a full credit check, similar to a traditional bank loan, therefore making it lower risk than crowdfunding, where some investors might see total capital loss.

Funding Circle raises $37M and heads across the pond

Funding Circle US will ‘cut out banks’

On 24 October we announced that we had raised $37 million and were joining forces with San Francisco-based business lender Endurance Lending Network (now known as Funding Circle) to help millions of businesses across America sidestep the broken banking system and access finance.  Our very own Samir Desai kicked the day off in style on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme – take a listen. Other highlights include Reuters, Daily Telegraph, New York Times and Forbes.

Funding Circle Raises $37 Million and Launches in The U.S.

The go-to site for peer-to-peer lending news in the US, Lend Academy, also covered the news.  Peter Renton wrote he first met with Samir back in November 2012 when they discussed the US market generally.  At the time he said the peer-to-business market in the US was wide open with no established player, but in Peter’s own words: “that officially ends today with the launch of Funding Circle USA.” Thanks Peter! We’ll certainly be working very hard to help make sure that’s the case.

Martin Lewis reveals all

What I earned from peer-to-peer savings

Having invested money in three of the biggest peer-to-peer lenders in the UK, Martin revealed the various returns on his money and personal highlights of investing in each platform.  He also reminds potential investors how important it is to diversify something we believe in at Funding Circle as well.

Martin was also on BBC Radio 2 earlier this week explaining to presenter Vanessa Feltz how it all works, and how investors can make a much better return on their money.

Lending to small businesses: banks vs. peer-to-peer

Non-bank lending to small businesses at highest level since 2008

The Financial Times reported that non-bank lending to small businesses has hit a five-year high.  The UK’s commercial finance brokers have arranged £10.5bn of credit for small and medium-sized enterprises in the last year. This marks the highest figure since 2008 and an annual rise of 17 per cent.  Andrew Bounds argues that the data highlights the shift away from traditional bank lending to small business, which has shrunk by a quarter since 2011.

Net lending to businesses continues to contract

Mortgage Introducer picks up on similar news that high street banking figures from the British Bankers’ Association show that net lending to businesses has fallen in 8 of the last 12 months, despite growth of £2.5bn between August and September.  Adam Tyler, CEO of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers commented: “High-street lenders remain very selective in granting finance which is stifling small businesses and slamming the brakes on economic growth, particularly jobs and wages”.


3 ideas to help your business grow

We’re committed to helping British businesses grow so we’ve asked one of our great business owners for her ideas on how to run one successfully. We visited Michelle Partington, of Lakeland Picnic in the Lake District and captured her thoughts in this video.

Michelle setup Lakeland Picnic in 2007 as she wanted to make and sell delicious hot food at events and shows in the North West. The team manufactures burgers and sausages at Holme Mills farm in the Lake District and sells them at street stalls across the country.

Her 3 tips are:

Tip 1: Support your team in their strengths and encourage learning.

Tip 2: Have a network of people who you can rely on for advice.

Tip 3: Don’t just plan it. Go fot it!

Watch the video for more detail on each tip.

Lakeland Picnic borrowed £17,500 in September from 221 people through Funding Circle to update their street stalls. If you’re looking for business finance, find out how your business loan could be funded by people across the UK in a matter of days.

Government participation in loans reducing to 10%

In March, the Government started lending to businesses through Funding Circle and until now, they have funded 20% of every loan that has appeared on the marketplace. From Friday 1st November, this figure will decrease to 10% of every loan.

Since they started lending through Funding Circle, they have lent more than £15 million to 1,100 businesses and played a big role in helping us to raise awareness and understanding of what we do.

We are hopeful that the Government will consider continuing to lend to businesses once they have lent out their £20 million allocation and we will keep you updated with any progress on this.

Our aim is to facilitate hundreds of millions of pounds of loans to British businesses every month in the next few years, and to do this we will require more sources of money from a variety of organisations. In November we are likely to see some of these new sources of finance start lending following the reduction in the percentage of Government funds. We will provide further information on this as timings become clearer.

People lending directly to businesses through Funding Circle have always been the core of what we are about and we will ensure this continues as we keep growing.


8 simple tips to make your restaurant more mobile friendly


The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world and it’s worth over £40 billion in the UK alone. We have restaurants ranging from top-end fine dining to ‘take away’ outlets and with new places to eat opening every week across the country, it’s never been as important to get your restaurant visible on the web and more specifically, the mobile web, to aid potential customers on the move find your establishment.

Being visible on mobile is important for most businesses today but it may be even more true for restaurants and other local businesses. The reason is simple: more searches are being made on mobile than ever before for local businesses. Smart phones are able to correlate key searches such as ‘pizza’ with local data based on the location reported on the users’ smartphone. That means people are in your neighbourhood searching for a restaurant like yours, ready to spend money. All you have to make sure of is that they can find you. Here are some ideas to help you with this:

1. Your location matters! So add your restaurant to Google+ local

A massive 43% of all Google searches are local or location based, which increases to 50% for people searching on their mobiles. Makes sense doesn’t it? If you’re on the move and want a bite to eat, you’ll probably use your phone to search for a restaurant. Google will link a customer’s search to their location, making your local Google+ page priceless. The key thing to remember here is to always keep your information up to date: fill out your hours, contact information and the category that applies to your business (eg restaurant). So when searching for Harrys Bar Pizzeria in the example below, I can see exactly where it is, I can go to the website and I can call them. Easy.

photo (1)

2. Make sure your menu is easy to find

A report by Gourmet Marketing suggests that the menu is the most important factor for people when making their dining decision, so you should ensure you’ve placed your menu in an easy-to-see place on your website. Even though the website in the example below is not mobile optimized, their menu tab is easy to find and easy to click on.


3. Why is your menu on a PDF?

Mobile users are impatient and usually have unreliable connectivity so it is up to you to make your information as easily available to them as possible. So why do you put your menu on a PDF? Mobile users don’t have time to download a PDF, they want to see the menu right now! This also goes for putting your address details in an image. People want to be able to copy / paste your address into Google Maps so they can find you! The cartoonist, The Oatmeal sums this up beautifully.

4. Your menu passes the test so now you need some reviews

Review sites: you either love them or hate them but it’s impossible to hide from them. You’d be missing a trick if you didn’t take the front foot and sign up to at least one. When searching for restaurants in a local area, you’ll more often than not find review sites coming top of the results.

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Take TripAdvisor for example, it has over 2 million restaurants worldwide on their books and has over 2 million visitors per month. They released a report with Strategy One suggesting that 93% of people were influenced by reviews before they make a booking. The Search Engine Journal has some good tips on how to make the most of your TripAdvisor listing.

5. Clickable phone numbers so customers can book easily

You’ve grabbed the attention of your customer, they like the look of your menu and your reviews are pretty good too, so now they need to call you to make a booking. Make it easy for them!

Nothing is more annoying than finding a restaurant on the web and having to grab a pen to scribble down the number. As with everything these days, user experience is very important. Web designers Powederkeg have written a blog post on how to make your phone number clickable. It shouldn’t be too hard to implement and won’t cost you much either.

6. Encourage customers to use photography to share their experience

Food photography is becoming part of modern restaurant culture so why not encourage people to use their mobiles to take photos when they’re in your restaurant and share them on social networks, such as Instagram and Pinterest, to build up your brand. Make sure you create an account on these networks too, so people can follow you and accredit their picture to your establishment. The Huffington Post has compiled a list of their top 10 Instagram restaurant pictures which should give you some inspiration!


7. Streamline your payment process and move to mobile

Accepting all major credit cards is something that customers expect, but there are more ways for customers to pay and from next year they’ll be able to pay for their meal using their mobile phone. Keep your eyes out for the Zapp, who have entered into a partnership with payments firm Worldpay.

8. Service, service, service

It used to be that when people didn’t like your service, they told 5 friends. Now they tell 500 followers on Twitter. In today’s connected world, you cannot afford to provide a bad customer experience at your restaurant so once you’ve got people through the door, delight them so that they will tell people about it online and on review sites which will help bring more people through the door. Good luck!

Funding Circle in the US & a record week for lending opportunities. Weekly Lending Review: week 43

Week 43: 21 – 27 October 2013

Last week was a very busy one for the Funding Circle community: we announced the launch of our operations in the US and we also listed a record 77 businesses for you to lend to. New lending opportunities included a competitive swimwear retailer and a 5 star B&B near Keswick.

New loans

There were 77 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 56 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £4,418,520; that’s an average of £57,383 per loan. The largest loan value was £200,000 and the smallest loan value was £14,000.

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: 21-Oct represents the week of 21st – 27th October.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)



Number of listed loans per week


Listed loan value per week


News you should know

We announced the completion of a $37 million equity round, which will be used to further our UK business and launch operations in the US to help many more millions of businesses with access to finance.

We visited one of our great businesses in the run-up to Halloween to see what goodies they had on offer. You can watch our short video which tells the story of how business owner Oliver grew Sensible Supplies from his garage to a 10,000 square foot warehouse in Nottinghamshire.

Community Discussions

This week we’re talking about Government’s funding proportion dropping from 20% of each business loan to 10%. 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 42

Picture story: peer-to-peer lending helped this traditional British fashion brand to expand

389 people helped a leather accessories manufacturer move premises

Peer-to-peer lending helped a quintessentially British fashion brand move premises to cope with increased demand for their products.

Owen Barry designs and manufactures clothing and accessories from the finest ethically sourced sheepskins and leathers from Britain and Europe. They were looking to raise finance so they could move to a larger premises to cope with increasing demand from overseas retailers.

In May 2012, they took out a business loan through Funding Circle which was entirely funded by 389 people across the UK.

We visited the team down in Street, Somerset and spoke to Cindi Barnstable whose family has been running Owen Barry since it started in 1948. Here’s the story of her business and her experience of Funding Circle in Cindi’s own words:

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You can view our other case studies here.

Funding Circle raises $37m in equity funding to expand UK operations and launch in the US

Today we’re excited to announce that we have completed a $37 million series C investment, led by Facebook backers Accel Partners.

This is one of the largest investment rounds made in Europe this year, showing how far Funding Circle has come in the past 3 years. In the last 12 months alone more than 1,800 businesses have accessed a total of £110 million from over 20,000 investors. The funds will be used to expand in the UK and launch in the US.

In the UK, the funds will be used to improve our service and introduce a range of new borrowing products for businesses, such as commercial property and asset finance. These will significantly increase the number of lending opportunities for investors.

Our vision is to give businesses a better way to borrow and investors a better way to earn a return. Since our launch in the UK, we have developed technology to allow businesses to borrow in a faster and more efficient way whilst allowing investors to make a better return on their money. We’re now excited to be taking this technology to the US.

We are joining forces with Endurance Lending Network to help millions of businesses across the US access finance. Endurance will now operate under the Funding Circle brand and their team will be based in San Francisco. Together as one business we combine their local knowledge and talent with our experience and innovative technology. The US business will operate separately from Funding Circle in the UK, so there will be no change to your lending experiences.

Today’s news is the beginning of an exciting 12 months at Funding Circle. You will soon see improvements and new functions appearing across the site and we’ll also be launching our mobile bidding app very soon.

We are talking about today’s news on our forum, so please do join the conversation.

The Funding Circle team


Costumes, sweets, decorations and more: our sneak peek into a Funding Circle business

Last month, Sensible Supplies borrowed £50k from 542 people across the UK and with the party season about to kick off, we thought we’d take a look around their warehouse to see what they have on offer for Halloween. We weren’t disappointed as they stock over 700 different Halloween costumes for you to choose from, for all of the family!

If you’re thinking of having any type of party this season, it’s more than likely that Sensible Supplies will have everything you need to help you host the perfect evening for your friends and family. The warehouse, based just outside of Nottingham, really is an Aladdin’s cave full of goodies including balloons, sweets, decorations, candles, toys and packaging.

Their Funding Circle loan details

Sensible Supplies was established in 2008 by Oliver Charles-Richards. In September he borrowed £50k from 542 people through Funding Circle to buy stock for a venture with Groupon, a website offering deals and discounts. The business has experienced huge growth over the past 3 years; Oliver started selling products from his garage and now operates out of a 10,000 square foot warehouse in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. The business needed a loan to purchase a large order of sweets to complete a deal with Groupon; so we all know where to go to buy sweets for Trick-or-Treaters this year!

In this video you’ll hear how Oliver started his business and made it into what it is today, as well as sharing his experience of Funding Circle.

You can take a look at our other case study videos on our blog.