How do small business owners feel about Brexit?

During the summer, we spoke to more than 1,325 small business owners to canvass their views on the impact of the recent election and ongoing Brexit negotiations. What we found was that more than two-thirds of small businesses that import goods and services expect costs to increase when Britain leaves the European Union.

When we asked owners specifically about the expected cost increase, importing small businesses told us that they expect their average costs to increase by £5,300 per month resulting in £60,000 per year of extra spending. With 214,300 small businesses currently importing goods or services in the UK, the potential impact is vast at a local and national level.

Of course, Brexit negotiations have only really just begun, so it’s still tricky to know exactly what the impact our our exit from the EU will be. What is clear is that investors lending directly to small businesses is incredibly important to our nation’s prosperity. In the UK, small businesses account for 50% of GDP and 60% of private sector employment, so your support for them is crucial!

The results weren’t all doom and gloom, however, as the majority of businesses we spoke to expect to hire at least one new member of staff over the next year. Business owners were also pleased to state that they think the general election result will soften our EU exit strategy – which the majority think will be good for their business operations.

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

To date investors have lent £2.5 billion to more than 25,000 UK small businesses. Businesses funded through the platform typically access the capital they need in days, and independent research found that 94% of businesses would come back to Funding Circle first in future.

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

Your August Review – Insight and Analysis

August review
Each month we bring you a column by Simon Read, a personal finance expert with extensive experience in helping people make the most of their money. Last time, Simon looked at the effect rising inflation can have on your funds.

This month, fresh from filming the BBC’s Right on the Money Simon discusses how to look after the pennies with savvy financial planning. Also included in this month’s post, find out about our historic partnership with JustEat. Dive in below.

July 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!

July lending

July industry news

Included in last month’s industry news, The Times interview Funding Circle borrower Yilmaz Guney, who runs a Turkish Restaurant in North London, to understand how he’s benefited from Funding Circle & JustEat’s recent tie-up.

These graphs show the most recent activity on our platform.

You’ve helped more than 8,700 small businesses access finance in the last 6 months…

 No of loans July final

Totalling over £617 million lent

 Amount of loans July

July 2017 sector breakdown

Amount lent to each sector

July sector

July 2017 regional breakdown

Amount lent to each UK region

July region

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 3rd August 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.

Read between the lines: look after the pennies…

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 effect rising inflation can have on your funds.

I filmed up and down the country for the latest series of Right On The Money for BBC1 and it proved a sharp reminder that there are lots of us that are a little careless with our cash.

By that I don’t mean to suggest that we drop notes all over the place (although my research in the streets of central London shows that many DO drop coins). But I have learned that many people spend without thinking. And by doing that, they waste money by overspending or paying too much for stuff.

I know that thinking about what you spend can be a bit tedious, but look at it this way; spend more wisely and you’ll end up better off by hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.

Then the only problem you’ll have is how to spend the money. Invest it? Take a good trip? It’ll be up to you. And that’s the point I’m trying clumsily to make. If you can be a savvy spender, it will give you choices. The more money you have, the more choices you have.

The key to all this is planning. Plan your spending. If you do that, you won’t overspend and you won’t waste money. I’ve been surprised when we’ve filmed with different families how many people don’t make a shopping list. Without it, as I know from experience, you wander around a supermarket snapping up what you think may be bargains. But that simply means you overbuy and overspend.

Here’s a truth: if you find what you think is a bargain at a supermarket, the happiest person is likely to be the supermarket manager. That’s because they know you’ve fallen for one of their marketing tricks, such as buy-one-get-one-free. All retailers are in the business of flogging you stuff you didn’t want to buy. If you leave a shop with a bargain, the shop is likely to have got the best part of the deal. If you plan your shopping then you should only buy what you know you need. If something on your list is on special offer, then give a little cheer as you actually have found a bargain. But buying a special offer because it’s a “bargain” means spending money you didn’t need to. In other words, wasting money.

If you think this sounds like saving a few pennies here and there, think again. Some of the people we filmed shopping without a meal plan and a shopping list wasted huge amounts. We helped them halve their monthly grocery bill and in one instance that cut a profligate family’s food bill from around £300 a week to just £150. That freed up an extra £7,200 a year – enough for a luxury holiday, a big step towards a deposit on a home, or a decent nest egg to invest for the future.

Look, I don’t want to teach you to suck eggs, just be a bit more sensible about how you buy eggs. Plan all your spending and you’ll end up planning a decent load of extra money for yourself as well as avoiding throwing away huge quantities of food. Think again about all your daily expenses and you could discover a fistful of extra cash you could keep for yourself.

A couple of coffees every day at £2.50 a pop, for instance, may seem like a small and justifiable expense. But if you can cut them out you could save around £1,200 a year. I love coffee, but just buy a £2.50 bag of ground coffee and make it last a week by using the hot water in the office. That costs me around £120 a year, saving me more than a grand on café-bought coffees.

Food for thought? I hope so!

To recap, Simon’s top tips to save you money are:

  • Plan in advance to avoid overspending (there are plenty of apps out there that can help, for example Money Dashboard which helps keep track of all your accounts in one place)
  • Beware of special offers – only get them if they’re already on your list
  • Cutting even the small purchases can make a difference – look at your regular outgoings and see where you can make savings   

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

Welcome to our fresh new look

Today we’re really pleased to announce that Funding Circle has a new look.

In just seven years, 32,000 small businesses have financed their growth and 69,000 investors have supported their future through our platform – which is something we’re very proud of. However, the opportunity to keep progressing is huge, and there is so much more that we can do to help thousands more customers turn their dreams into reality.

The heart of our new brand

There’s a common thread that connects small business owners, investors and the people who work at Funding Circle. We share a uniquely driven yet positive attitude to work and life, a restless determination to succeed and the tenacity to get there. We call this Made to do More.

Made to do More is an articulation of the approach we’ve always had at Funding Circle. We want to celebrate the people who’ve turned their passions into livelihoods, supporting their families and local communities. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, pushing the economy forward.

Our aim is to become the first choice for small businesses and investors globally – helping you to create more jobs and earn more for your future. We’ve come a long way together, but our journey has only just begun and we’re really excited to see what the future will bring.

News

UK small businesses continue going for growth. July industry news

Just Eat puts loans on takeaway menu – The Times

We’re incredibly pleased to announce that we’ve joined forces with another leading UK tech firm, Just Eat, to help fuel the growth of their 30,000 takeaway restaurants. Petra, a trendy Turkish restaurant in North London, was one of the first businesses to benefit from the unique partnership. In need of financial support to progress with an expansion opportunity, owner Yilmaz Guney, was able to move forward in just a matter of days thanks to you and other investors. “Our business is booming.” said Yilmaz. Read more in City AM.

Funding Circle CEO Says Business Boomed After Brexit – Bloomberg

Small businesses like Petra are the driving force behind much needed job creation in the UK, which in turn fuels productivity and the economy. With small businesses accounting for 60% of private sector employment, it’s heartening to see their confidence hasn’t waned since the EU referendum last year with thousands of businesses still looking to invest and grow. Check out our CEO and co-founder Samir on Bloomberg where he talks about how business is thriving.

Fintech lingo explained – Reuters

Ever have trouble deciphering all of that FinTech lingo? As the sector continues to grow and develop, we’re seeing the use of new buzzwords increase at the same speed. This helpful article in Reuters decodes and explains the lingo and terminology that FinTech companies and the wider ecosystem are increasingly using. From cryptocurrency and bitcoin, to insurtech and open banking, this piece is sure to make you an expert on all things FinTech.

Revisiting the first business to borrow through Funding Circle – Blog

And lastly, in 2010 John Henry, founder of Sustainable Direction, an environmental consultancy, was the first business to come to Funding Circle for finance. Six years later, he came back to us and borrowed a further £54,000 to hire two new members of staff and develop the business’s resources. John Henry said, “We found it even easier this time…and it happened so fast, within a day or two the funds were in our account.” Read his full success story on our blog.

News

Your July Impact – Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

In this month’s post find out how your lending has helped businesses across the UK achieve their goals. First up, meet our very first Funding Circle borrower, Sustainable Direction, to hear about their latest project on the Isle of Alderney. Then, whizz to beautiful Brighton to learn how your lending helped Christine Johnston take her business, Kite, Surf & Sup Co, to the next level.

In case you missed it, here’s last month’s post, when South East Timber & Damp told us how accessing finance in just 10 days revolutionised their business back in 2015, and we met Amy Cunnington, owner of The Strings Club, who borrowed to keep up with demand for her award-winning music courses.

Dr. John Henry Looney is passionate about helping the world do more with less

Last month, Funding Circle co-founder and UK Managing Director James Meekings visited John Henry to see how his business, Sustainable Direction Ltd, had developed since taking out their first Funding Circle loan back in August 2010.

Dr. John Henry Looney from Sustainable Direction

With a Ph.D. in Physiological, Community and Statistical Ecology, John Henry has over 30 years’ experience in delivering environmental and sustainability projects for businesses and organisations. Sustainable Direction Ltd helps businesses work with the natural world in order to increase their sustainability, efficiency and ultimately their prosperity. Watch what happened when John met James in this short video.

Did you help Christine take her business to the next level?

Meet Christine Johnston, founder of Kite, Surf & Sup Co, a successful British kitesurf school and online shop in Brighton. Former windsurfing World Champion, Christine has kite surfed for nine years and holds eight national titles.

Christine Johnston, founder of Kite, Surf & Sup Co

After years of working long hours in an office, Christine knew this way of life wasn’t for her, so in 2014 she followed her dream and founded Kite, Surf & Sup Co. Two years later, the company was awarded British Kitesports Recognised School status – the highest level a kite school can reach – giving testament to the high-quality lessons that Christine and her team offer.

To upgrade the website, launch an online marketing campaign and purchase additional stock, Christine took out a loan in March 2017. Asked about her Funding Circle experience, Christine said, “The customer service I received was excellent and within a week the funds were in my account.”

Watch this space for a video about Christine and her amazing business coming soon!

Up next

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

Revisiting the first business to borrow through Funding Circle

Dr John Henry Looney is passionate about helping the world do more with less

With a PhD in Physiological, Community and Statistical Ecology, John Henry has over 30 years’ experience in delivering environmental and sustainability projects for businesses and organisations. In 2007, he decided to take the plunge and founded Sustainable Direction Ltd. John Henry and his team help businesses work with the natural world in order to increase their sustainability, efficiency and ultimately their prosperity.

Sustainable Direction Ltd is helping Alderney improve the efficiency of its energy infrastructure

The first Funding Circle borrower

John Henry also opened the way for small businesses back in August 2010 when Sustainable Direction Ltd became the first business to access finance through Funding Circle. They borrowed £12,000 from 53 investors to help demonstrate the viability of an outdoor air source heat pump.

Progression over 7 years

Sustainable Direction Ltd is now improving the energy efficiency of places like the Isle of Alderney, while investors lending through Funding Circle have helped a further 25,000 UK businesses to access finance.

Since 2010, we’ve worked tirelessly to improve our customer experience, as John Henry found when he borrowed a further £54,000 in October 2016 to hire two new members of staff and develop the business’s resources. John Henry said “We found it even easier this time…and it happened so fast, within a day or two the funds were in our account”.

Funding Circle co-founder and UK Managing Director James Meekings visited John Henry to see the development of Sustainable Direction Ltd— watch the video to find out more.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Sustainable Direction Ltd?

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.

Your July Review – Insight and Analysis

Your July Review
If, like us, you’ve been inspired by Wimbledon, get new ideas to get active this summer with our list of 7 specialist Funding Circle borrowers who’ve flourished thanks to your lending.

Also included in this month’s post, The Telegraph looks at how our economy is dependent on the stability of small businesses. Dive in below.

June 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!

July investor stats

June industry News

Included in last month’s industry news, The Telegraph focuses on a recent Nesta report which shows that it’s small and medium-sized enterprises, not larger firms, that are supporting greater job creation in Britain, making up 50% of GDP and 60% of private sector employment. These businesses, like the ones you’re lending to through Funding Circle, really are the backbone of our economy.

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

You’ve helped more than 8,700 small businesses access finance in the last 6 months…

 June no of loans

 

Totalling over £625 million lent

June amount of loans

June 2017 sector breakdown

Amount lent to each sector
June sector

June 2017 regional breakdown

Amount lent to each UK region
June region

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 6th July 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 July, 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.

Smile, direct lending comes of age. June industry news

Peer-to-peer comes of age as alternative asset class for investors – Financial Times

It’s been more than a decade since the first peer-to-peer lending company launched in the UK, opening up a new and innovative asset class to investors for the first time. Since then, we’ve seen the adoption of the industry increase at an encouraging rate. Not only are businesses benefitting from the financial support they need, but ordinary people are investing directly into the UK economy, fueling prosperous growth and job creation across the country.

Beat inflation and boost your savings – The Times

As the 100th month of low interest rates begins, investors are continually looking for better places to put their money. Getting your cash to work harder for you can be a challenge, so you might find this article in The Times useful as it lists a number of options to consider, such as investing in stocks & shares and lending to small businesses. A separate piece in the Telegraph looks at a selection of popular easy-access savings account available for your shorter-term investments. But remember, when you lend to businesses your capital is at risk.

Smile, banking is being forced out into the great wide open – The Times

Thousands of businesses have benefitted from the adoption of FinTech across the country, such as Funding Circle borrower, South East Timber & Damp, run by husband-and-wife team Annabelle and Dean Webster. In need of fast financial support, the couple approached their bank first but soon realised the process could take months. After doing some research online, they discovered direct lending and just 10 days later, they secured a cash injection for their business – all thanks to your lending.

On what kind of business growth should we focus our energies? – Daily Telegraph

In the UK, the resilience of the economy is dependent on the stability of our small businesses – who make up 50% of GDP and 60% of private sector employment. Nesta research shows that it is small and medium-sized enterprises, not larger firms, that are supporting greater job creation in Britain. This piece highlights the importance of balancing the financial support given to high-growth startups that are boosting innovation, with the support small firms and sole traders need as they continue to be the backbone of our economy.

One Year Later: Voices from Brexit’s Front Lines – Bloomberg

And finally, it’s been one year since the UK voted to leave the European Union so Bloomberg is following four CEOs over a two-year period to canvass their ongoing opinions on Brexit. An interesting comment from James Meekings, our co-founder, focuses on the need for the British Business Bank to increase the availability of funding in post-Brexit Britain. The EU has injected billions of pounds into British small businesses over the years, so it’s important that the UK Government introduces the necessary measures to prevent any potential shortfall. More on the topic in the Express.

Seven ideas to help you stay active this summer

Hello summer! Longer days means more time to get outside and try new activities. With Wimbledon kicking off next week, we wanted to share some of our favourite ways to get fit this summer, featuring businesses who specialise in keeping people active. So come along and join us on our journey across the UK as we visit some of these extraordinary companies who have flourished thanks to your support.

1. Canoeing in Scotland

Our journey begins in idyllic Scotland at an events and bespoke travel company that will help you kick-start your active summer. Sporting Scotland is run by a team of adventurous individuals who run a number of different activities including canoeing and sea kayaking down two of Scotland’s most exciting rivers, the River Spey and the River Findhorn. Both routes offer a spectacular chance to explore stunning beaches, coves, islands and cliffs. In order to refurbish their premises, Sporting Scotland borrowed over £30,000 through the Funding Circle platform in April 2017.

2. Cycling in Rugeley

If you’re an avid cyclist then our next stop is for you! Based in Rugeley, More Adventure provides high quality cycling challenges and holidays in various locations across the world. We suggest the 10 day ride from Lands End to John O’Groats – from one end of the UK to another. Nearly 1,000 miles in total, you’ll be travelling through some of the most glorious scenery England and Scotland has to offer. To help expand and explore new products, More Adventure have borrowed finance across two loans since November 2014.

3. Horseback riding in Shropshire

From Rugeley we’re heading West to stunning Shropshire to visit Live the Adventure and test our skills at horseback riding. From instructional treks for the beginners, to four day trail rides for those with a real sense of adventure, the Live the Adventure team can offer packages to suit any rider. To  develop more professional training programs the team turned to Funding Circle in 2014 and were able to secure a cash injection for their business.  

4. Golfing in Gloucestershire

Love golf? Then you’ll love the next stop on our trip across the UK. Sherdons Golf Centre, a family-run business in the Gloucestershire countryside welcomes golfers of all abilities. The centre boasts a 9 hole course as well as a clubhouse with banqueting and bar facilities – a great way to finish a long day on the course. The team at Sherdon’s were able to exercise their long-term marketing plan after borrowing finance from 474 investors in 2013.

5. Hot yoga in Bristol

The next business to visit on our journey is Yogafurie in beautiful Bristol, a hot yoga and pilates studio. Hot yoga is said to improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in the body which in turn fuels the mind – it’s a true full body workout. The team of superb teachers offer a range of different classes for all abilities. You could even join a teacher training or workshop if you’re a truly passionate yogi. Yogafurie was able to open a new space after borrowing £20,000 through Funding Circle.

6. Cricket in Hampshire

Next stop: Hampshire countryside. At Funding Circle, we love team sports, which is why we’re challenging you to set up your own cricket match! Don’t have the supplies? Take a trip to Chase Cricket for all of your equipment needs. Since 1996, the enthusiastic Chase Cricket team have been designing and handcrafting the very finest cricket bats for young and old in all levels of the game. To add a sales and marketing specialist to their team, Chase Cricket accessed finance from Funding Circle investors in April 2016.

7. Kitesurfing in Brighton

Our journey across the country ends in delightful Brighton where watersport lovers congregate in the summer. The Kite, Surf & Sup Company is a British Kitesports school and online shop set up in 2014. Founder Christine Johnston is a former windsurfing World Champion so her skills and expertise shines through in all of the lessons she teaches. To help increase stock and upgrade their website to help with online marketing, the kitesurfing company has borrowed finance across two loans from 127 investors.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 62,000 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.

Your June Impact – Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

june investor impact
This month we’re looking at some of the success stories from recent borrowers and how your lending has helped them achieve their goals, from South East Timber & Damp to The Strings Club. Dive in below to find out more.

In case you missed last month’s post, we interviewed The Naked Marshmallow Company, and got ready for festival season with 5 camping essentials from Funding Circle borrowers.

know
You and other investors have now helped more than 25,000 UK businesses access finance to grow and create much needed jobs.

When it comes to driving the UK economy forward these small businesses pack a pretty impressive punch. According to FSB statistics SMEs make up 60% of all private sector employment and 47% of all private sector turnover in the UK.

lifesaver

Annabel and deanTo help cover their staff’s wages for two months, husband and wife team Annabelle and Dean Webster borrowed £30,000 in August 2015. They’d approached a bank first but found the application process slow and cumbersome as they needed finance fast, so they did some research and came across Funding Circle. Ten days later, the couple had secured a cash injection for their business. “It’s been a lifesaver,” said Annabelle. The couple run Kent based damp specialists South East Timber & Damp. Read the full success story in The Times.

Strings Club
Award-winning musical education company, The Strings Club, offers children aged 4-11 a range of high-quality musical experiences. Founder Amy Cunnington launched the business in 2012 with the aim to give primary school children an opportunity to discover and engage with music. Their ethos is simple: for all children to be inspired by music.

kids music

The very first Strings Club took place in London with just 6 budding students. After, a parent asked, “When’s the next one?” Since then, The Strings Club has gone from strength-to-strength and Amy has remained devoted to creating musical experiences for children.

Due to the rising popularity of courses and lessons, Amy needed help keeping up with demand. Choosing Funding Circle for support, Amy said, “The loans allowed me to expand my business, hire new staff, buy more equipment and launch a marketing campaign. Overall, the experience was very efficient and very helpful.”

We’ll be visiting Amy and the team soon to film a case study video – stay tuned.

Dream wedding
We’re well into wedding season and whether you’re organising your own or supporting family or friends with theirs we’ve put together a list of 7 unique businesses to help you get ready for the big day, from finding the perfect dress to finding the right venue.

Up next

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

7 steps to planning your dream wedding

We’re well into wedding season and according to a recent study, the popularity of marriage in the UK is back on the rise after nearly 40 years of decline. So if you’ve got your special day in the diary, our 7-step checklist will help you plan the wedding of your dreams.

From finding the perfect dress to booking your ideal honeymoon, the unique businesses below will support you along your journey – just like your investments have supported their growth!

1. Choose the perfect dress

According to a recent survey, 74% of women are now choosing an ivory dress instead of the traditional white. This could be something to think about at your dress fitting at Froufrou Bridal, an award-winning boutique in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Founded with the aim to escape the boundaries of tradition, the bridal company will ensure that you leave with a dress that compliments your unique and original style. In order to furnish a new space, Froufrou Bridal borrowed finance from 255 investors in 2015.

Froufrou’s top wedding tip – get your guest list right
“It is very easy to get over excited and invite too many guests, or feel obliged to ask extended family who you may never otherwise see or speak to. It’s important to be realistic about who you invite. Weddings are a huge financial commitment and catering for your guests is what takes up at least 50% of your overall budget for the day. Be selective and keep it intimate.”

2. Find the right venue

On average, couples spend around 12 months planning their wedding. Finding the perfect location is pivotal for everything that follows, so it’s important to get it sorted early. Venues can book up quickly, so if you’re picturing an outdoor wedding, why not rent a marquee from Oakleaf Marquees and create your own celebration space? Get creative with fairy lights, flowers and decorations to create something truly special. After growing year-on-year, the family-run company in Dorset needed funds to keep building on their success, so have borrowed finance across three loans since 2014.

3. Decorate with flawless flowers

Brighten up any space with beautiful flowers from The Orange Pip, based in charming Somerset. Studies show that a popular wedding theme nowadays is rustic woodland, which includes soft yellow colours, pastel orange tones and earthy shades of green. We suggest displaying an arrangement on every table to create an exquisite atmosphere for your gathering. To help expand and take on more staff, the passionate team accessed finance through Funding Circle in November 2016.

4. Hire the right caterers

Our next step on the checklist is catering – arguably one of the most important staples at any celebration. A trend at the moment is gourmet grazing stations, so try filling tables with moreish canapes and nibbles. Figs Catering, a team of hugely talented chefs, offer a selection of tasty bowl food that would be perfect to include. You could even go for their delicious BBQ menu that is sure to be a winner with your guests. In order to refit their premises, the catering company borrowed £53,000 in March 2017.

5. Get bespoke sweet treats  

Findings from a recent poll show that more than one in five couples have started to think outside the box and choose cupcakes as their wedding cake. If that sounds like something for you, take a trip to The Chelsea Cake Shop, in Central London. With over 30 years of experience, the bakers produce cupcakes that taste just as good as they look – they’ll even design bespoke treats for your special occasion. To help renovate their shop, the cake shop used Funding Circle to access finance in January 2017.

6. Capture the moment

Make sure you hire a photographer to capture the moment with stunning photos. Eliza Claire is a leading vintage and alternative photographer in the UK, specialising in weddings. Her candid and fun photography comes straight from the heart and will allow you to cherish your special day with photographs that last forever. To help do a national wedding show, Eliza Claire borrowed through Funding Circle in September 2016. 

7. Embark on your dream honeymoon

Finally, after all of the excitement from your wedding, you’ll be ready to unwind and relax on your honeymoon. To help plan the perfect getaway, check out Oliver’s Travel for stunning holiday villa packages. Whether you want some time on the beach in Spain, or prefer the countryside in Ireland, Oliver’s Travel will make sure you don’t settle for anything less than exceptional. In order to branch out into Croatian villas, the company borrowed £200,000 in July 2016.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 62,000 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.

Your June Review – Insight and Analysis

Your June Review
Summer has arrived, and it’s been another exciting month. We’ve been given full authorisation from the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority – another step forward to offering industry-leading, tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA, which we plan to launch later this year. You can read the full story in this article.

Also included in this month’s post, personal finance expert Simon Read looks at what the record level of inflation in the UK could mean for you and what you can do about it. Dive in below.

May 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!

June review
Remember, your actual return may be higher or lower as your capital is at risk.

Monthly trends
These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace.

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

June number of loans

Totalling over £610 million lent

June amount of loans

May 2017 sector breakdown

Amount lent to each sector

Business sectors

May 2017 regional breakdown

Amount lent to each UK region

June business regions

Making the most of your investment

May Industry News

The Times looks at a variety of different apps to help make your money work harder, from keeping track of your spending to monitoring investments. Read about this and more in our round-up of last month’s industry news.

What does rising inflation mean for your money?

With inflation in the UK at a four-year high, personal finance expert Simon Read looks at what this could mean for you and what you can do about it in his latest blog.

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 1st June 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 June, 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.

We’re fully authorised! May industry news

Funding Circle wins approval from regulator in peer-to-peer boost – Financial Times

This month we’re very pleased to announce that Funding Circle has received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. Now that we’ve received authorisation, we look forward to being able to offer you industry-leading, tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA which we plan to launch later this tax year. Read the full story on our blog and press release. More coverage in Business Insider and City AM. Also, congratulations  to Zopa who recently received authorisation as well!

Financial technology is proving less of a battleground than feared – Economist

Ten years ago, financial technology began to positively disrupt the way customers use and access financial services. Ever since, we’ve seen an influx of tech companies blossom across the country, offering consumers better service, innovative products and more investment choices –  straight from their smartphones. Business owners also benefit from the ability to obtain fast, transparent finance to help grow their business from an array of investors willing to lend and support them.    

Change your finances with the best money apps – The Times

Speaking of financial control at your fingertips, this article looks at a variety of different apps to help make your money work harder. Advances in the FinTech sector have resulted in new products that can assist you in a number of ways, such as keeping track of your spending or monitoring your stocks and shares investments. To learn more about how to manage your finances, check out a recent blog post by Simon Read, a personal finance journalist, that looks at rising inflation and what it means for your money.

Fears grow for business funding after EU turns off tap – The Times

In other news, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Funding Circle have been sharing ideas as to how the UK can ensure small businesses retain access to capital after we leave the EU. With over five million small businesses in the UK, it’s economically vital that the necessary support is in place to fuel their ability to thrive. The EU has provided billions in funding to businesses in the UK over the years, so this piece suggests that the British Business Bank could step in and fill the gap in post-Brexit Britain based on recommendations made by us and the FSB.

Entrepreneurs three times more likely to vote Tory than Labour – The Times

And finally, we wanted to make the voices of British businesses heard, so we asked thousands of business owners for their thoughts on the year ahead. In the space of four days, more than 2,300 small business owners told us about their investment intentions, turnover expectations and also their views on the upcoming general election. What we discovered is that small businesses are resilient and are continuing to go for growth, unfazed by the uncertainty caused by last year’s referendum result and the snap election. Read the full results on our blog.

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

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

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

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

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

Ping pong fight club

A great month for

Marshmalllow infographic

Magnificent marshmallow manufacturer set to expand

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

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

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

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

Up next

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

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

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

Did your lending help this business create 100 new jobs?

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

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

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

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

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Firstnet?

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

Looking to expand your business?

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

Funding Circle receives full FCA authorisation

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

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

Managing supply and demand on the platform

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

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

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

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

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Get festival ready with our five camping essentials

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

Essential 1. A water bottle

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

Glogg manufactures stainless steel water bottles for Glastonbury festival

Helen from Glogg, manufacturers of stainless steel water bottles

Essential 2. Waterproofs

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

Essential 3. A comfy sleeping bag

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

Essential 4. Picnic set

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

Essential 5. Find your perfect location

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

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

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

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

Looking to expand your business?

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

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Fintech can power a prosperous future. April industry news.

Our FinTech industry can power a prosperous future

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

Funding Circle’s Desai: use P2P for monetary stimulus

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

How FinTech is revolutionising personal banking

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

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

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

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

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