A 21st century alternative to banks. August industry news

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Bank lending to businesses continues to fall, but P2P is flying

According to the Bank of England, net lending to large companies by Government’s Funding for Lending scheme fell by £3.5 billion in the second quarter of this year, widening from a £2.7 billion drop in the first quarter. Lending to small businesses fell by £400 million. By contrast, one scheme that has proven to be successful so far is the British Business Bank, as highlighted by Funding Circle co-founder, James Meekings in the Guardian, Reuters and The Times.

Man at the Bank of Vince would like to say ‘yes’ with his £4bn pot

Continuing the theme of Government support for small businesses, Keith Morgan, CEO of the British Business Bank, was interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph. As part of the piece, Mr Morgan talked about the work the British Business Bank is doing to support new, innovative providers and how they are lending money directly to businesses through marketplaces, like Funding Circle, Zopa and RateSetter. 30,000 British businesses have already benefited as part of the wider programme of helping businesses access finance, including 2,300 businesses as a direct result of its investment through Funding Circle.

A 21st Century alternative to banks

Funding Circle CEO, Samir Desai was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to talk about the trends in alternative lending. In a CityAM feature about London’s growing fintech sector, Funding Circle was also named out as a UK success story that has recently spearheaded into the US market.

Lending Club files for IPO

As August drew to a close, Lending Club, the largest consumer peer-to-peer lending marketplace in the world, announced plans to file for IPO. The business is expected to raise approximately $500 million. One US commentator described it as “Wall Street royalty meets Internet royalty“. As one of the most anticipated IPOs of the year, it will be exciting to see how things progress over the next few months.

Funding Circle Buys LeapPay

Also during August, we announced that we had purchased LeapPay – a small US technology company. This acquisition will to help provide even faster decisions for American businesses looking to access finance.

Next generation finance: How London can cement its leadership in fintech

Writing in City Am, Rhydian Lewis, CEO of RateSetter, championed London as the home of the fintech industry – combining the best of the financial world of New York and the technology of Silicon Valley. Mr. Lewis cautioned against the UK resting on its laurels and called for more to be done to strengthen our position in this important growth industry. Also in City Am, Alex Letts, chief executive of digital current account provider Ffrees, discussed how fintech is forcing UK banks to redefine their strategies. He emphasised the need for traditional providers to partner with new, innovative companies like Funding Circle and Transfer Wise, or avoid being left behind.

5 Small Changes That Will Make A Big Difference To Your Social Media

When used strategically, social media is a way to connect directly with your customers and generate leads. However, just being on LinkedIn or Twitter isn’t enough to deliver commercial results.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the time you invest in your social media that matters. Yes, a time commitment is required. But ultimately, it’s having a smart strategy that makes the real difference.

How do you improve your presence social media without spending lots more time online?

social media

Here are 5 simple changes that will make your social media strategy more effective:

1. Transform your tweets into testimonials

Do you have happy customers who’ve tweeted about their experience? Search for references to your company’s @username to find positive tweets, and then use these testimonials in your marketing.

2. Share more third party content

Social media should be a two-way conversation. It should ideally follow the 50/50 rule in which you spend 50% of your time talking about yourself and the other half, sharing other people’s content. This way, you start to create constructive relationships that result in more ‘shares’ and ‘retweets’ of your content, generating wider exposure.

3. Always drive traffic to your website

Ensure your social media activity increases the volume of traffic that your website receives. If you aren’t already doing so, make sure you regularly include links to point people back to your website.

4. Cater for common search terms

Before you embark on drafting a blog or Google+ post, make sure you know the phrases and words people are actually using to search for your services. Once you’ve identified these keywords incorporate them into your posts. Don’t forget that hashtags, tags and labels are also excellent ways to find and attract a wider audience – it’s good practice to use them where you can.

5. Add photos

As simple as it sounds, use pictures. Tweets using Pic.Twitter,com are 94% more likely to be retweeted, according to inbound marketing specialists, HubSpot. Plus, people like images (a staggering 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook each day), so use them when you can to break up your content and make your messages more eye-catching.

 

By Lindsey Witcherley, Cognition Agency

You can get more tips on digital marketing by downloading Cognition’s free eguide,  Making The Most Of Online Channels To Generate Leads

Cognition is a full-service marketing agency and a Funding Circle borrower. It’s known for its commercial approach, linking marketing activity to revenue and growth.

If you’re interested in taking out a Funding Circle business loan, you can apply online at anytime.

 

 

Business tips from an experienced entrepreneur

Earlier this summer we visited David Potter in County Durham, and asked him to share his top tips for other business owners. Having set up Ambic, a manufacturing business, over 30 years ago, David has a wealth of experience.

In this short video, David talks us through the 3 most valuable lessons he’s learnt over the past 30 years.

In summary, his top 3 business tips are:

  • Keep your staff happy.They are your biggest asset. You’ll need to find out how to motivate them, but if you look after them, they’ll look after you.
  • Be patient. Things may not always happen when you want them to but you should try to be patient, and adjust your plan if needed.
  • Be resilient. And rely on your own ability which you have within you.

Ambic manufacture furniture for schools and universities, and the majority of their customers are located in the North East. They took out a £100,000 business loan from 1,277 people through Funding Circle last July.

Over £7m in new loans and our latest success story. Weekly Lending Review

Week 34: 18 – 24 August 2014

Last week we saw over £7 million of new lending opportunities come to the marketplace; including over £1.1 million in property development loans. They are located in Oxfordshire, North London, and West London.

The majority of new loans were allocated to the A risk band, with manufacturing and property & construction the 2 most common industries.

New loans

There were 92 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 52 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £7,163,280; that’s an average of £77,862 per loan. The largest loan value was £550,000 and the smallest loan value was £8,340.

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 of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn. Number of loans and value of loans are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 18-Aug represents the week of 18th – 24th August.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

News you should know

Did you lend to this business?

This month we went to Birmingham to visit Street Advertising Services, a Funding Circle borrower. They are the innovative advertising team behind the world’s biggest shave campaign; featuring Roger Federer. In this short video, you’ll meet Kristian, the founder, and see clips of some of the artwork they have created.

Would you like to meet businesses?

We’re really keen to open our business visits up to investors, so you too have the chance to see how your money makes a difference. We’ll be sending out emails to investors of upcoming case studies, so if you’re interested in attending, make sure you check your emails!

Last few days to share £100 with a friend!

If you recommend a friend to Funding Circle before 1st September and they lend at least £1,000 to businesses by the end of the offer period, you could each have £50 cashback* paid into your Funding Circle accounts. There’s only a few days to go to recommend a friend, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Loans defaulted last week

Printing business. Loan ID 3607

This Wakefield business has been trading since 1996 and is in liquidation. The original loan amount was £105,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of these loans.

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

 

*Terms and conditions apply

 

Shaving Roger Federer and other eye-catching artwork from a Funding Circle business

gillete

This month we travelled to Birmingham to meet Kristian Jeffrey, founder of Street Advertising Services, who shared his business story with us.

Street Advertising Services creates innovative advertising campaigns for brands and agencies, by using vibrant art and technology. Their work is designed to grab people’s attention, and judging by some of the artwork in this video, it’s not hard to see why.

One of the most memorable campaigns they’ve been responsible for was for the ‘World’s Biggest Shave’ for Gillette in 2011; part of which is shown in this short video. Kristian also explains how he set up his business and the sacrifices that were made when doing so.

In June 2014, Kristian took out a £40,00 business loan so they could employ more people and move to new offices. More than 500 people lent to Street Advertising Services through peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle.

If you’re interested in taking out a business loan in the future, you can find out more details here.

 

Record £6.4m lent to coincide with our 4th birthday. Weekly Lending Review

Week 33: 11 – 17 August 2014

Last week, we welcomed over 100 new businesses to the marketplace; the majority of which were allocated an A risk band.

Investors had bids of up to 15% accepted on loans in the C risk band, and bids of up to 14.1% in loans in the A+ risk band*. We also saw a record £6.4 million lent to businesses across the UK, thanks to all of your lending.

New loans

There were 102 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 61 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £6,836,040; that’s an average of £67,020 per loan. The largest loan value was £460,000 and the smallest loan value was £6,260.

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 of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn. Number of loans and value of loans are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 11-Aug represents the week of 11th – 17th August.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

News you should know

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. A number of factors are considered when reviewing the rates, including general economic conditions and costs of alternative borrowing products. This month, we have decided to increase rates by 0.2% on the C- risk band. These changes will take effect on Monday 1st September. The new minimum bid rates for loan requests listed after 9am on 1st September are as follows:

A+: 6% (no change)

A: 8% (no change)

B: 9% (no change)

C: 10.2% (no change)

C-: 12.2% (+ 0.2%)

Happy Birthday Funding Circle!

It was our 4th birthday last week and to celebrate, we published an infographic which tracks the rise of peer-to-peer business lending up to this year, when the industry became formally regulated.

2 weeks left to share £100 with a friend!

If you recommend a friend to Funding Circle and they lend at least £1,000 to businesses by the end of the offer period, you could each have £50 cashback** paid into your Funding Circle accounts. There’s only 2 weeks to go to recommend a friend to Funding Circle, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Loans defaulted last week

Radiator retailer. Loan ID 2125

This Northill business has been trading since 1997 and is in liquidation. The original loan amount was £100,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Heating maintenance business. Loan ID 2721

This Widnes business has been trading since 1995 and is in arrears with repayments. The original loan amount was £30,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of these loans.

 

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

 

* Based on all successful bids in loans accepted on the marketplace from 11th August – 17th August.

**Terms and conditions apply

 

Funding Circle celebrates its 4th birthday!

Today, we are celebrating our fourth birthday, and what an incredible journey the last few years have been. We want to say thank you to all of the investors and borrowers who have made the last four years possible.

To date, you have lent over £330 million to over 5,500 small businesses across the country, creating an estimated 16,500 jobs. To celebrate, we’re publishing an infographic which tracks the rise of peer-to-peer business lending right up to this year, when the industry became formally regulated.

If you’re a small business owner looking for finance, then why not put an application in now? Apply here.

Infographic FINAL resized for blog

News

Meet David, who 1,277 of you helped last year. Weekly Lending Review

Week 32: 4 – 10 August 2014

It was another good week for listings as nearly 100 new businesses came to the marketplace, with the A+, A and B risk bands sharing a similar volume of loans.

A £400,000 loan for a property developer is closing in the next few days. It will be used to convert flats in a central London location into one family-sized home, and is A+ rated at a fixed rate of 8%. It is first bid, first served, so place your bids before it’s too late!

New loans

There were 96 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 61 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £6,135,460; that’s an average of £63,911 per loan. The largest loan value was £581,000 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 of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn. Number of loans and value of loans are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 4-Aug represents the week of 4th – 10th August.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

News you should know

Digging into the data: Collections and recoveries

We’re starting a series which will look at the data behind Funding Circle and the first post examines the decline in late payments by businesses and the increase in the amount of money recovered for investors when they experience a bad debt.

Meet David, a business owner you’ve helped

We visited David Potter, director of Ambic, who borrowed £100,000 from 1,277 investors last year. He set up his furniture business over 30 years ago and it is still going strong. You can find out what they did with their loan in this short video.

Share £100 with a friend!

If you recommend a friend to Funding Circle and they lend at least £1,000 to businesses by the end of the offer period, you could each have £50 cashback* paid into your Funding Circle accounts. There’s only 3 weeks to go to recommend a friend to Funding Circle, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Loans defaulted last week

Electrical contractor. Loan ID 5864

This Southampton business has been trading since 2007 and has experienced a change in circumstances. The original loan amount was £75,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Furniture retailer. Loan ID 4705

This Chesterfield business has been trading since 2008 and is in arrears with repayments. The original loan amount was £20,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Poultry business. Loan ID 1963

This equipment supplier has been trading since 2009 and is in liquidation. The original loan amount was £26,500 and all affected investors have been notified.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of these loans.

 

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

* Terms and conditions apply

One year on: did you lend to this manufacturer?

Last month we visited David Potter, Director of Ambic, who is based in County Durham and borrowed £100,000 in July 2013.

Ambic is a long-established UK manufacturer and their primary focus is making and fitting educational furniture. They supply schools, universities and offices in the North East of England and pride themselves on the quality of their furniture; and the experience their staff bring to the field.

In this short video you’ll meet David, who set the business up 30 years ago. You can find out more about his manufacturing business and how his Funding Circle loan helped him with working capital over the busy summer months.

Ambic borrowed £100,000 from 1,277 investors through Funding Circle in July 2013.

If, like David, you’re interested in taking out a working capital loan for your business, you can get started on the application here.

Peer-to-peer lending set to hit £1 billion mark. July industry news

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Peer-to-peer lending set to hit £1bn mark

Data released by industry body, the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, shows that UK peer-to-peer lending platforms handled new loans of over £500 million in the first half of the year. In the first six months of 2014, new peer-to-peer lending to businesses surpassed £275 million, with new consumer lending at £243 million. Lending is forecast by the Association to exceed £1 billion by the end of the year.

How does peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding work?

Following the latest round of figures from the Bank of England which show bank lending is still down, despite a better economic outlook, the BBC 6 o’clock news took at look at all the various forms of alternative finance, including crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. One of our borrowers, Moo Free who manufacture dairy free chocolate, featured in the piece.

Robert Steel joins Funding Circle board

We announced our series D funding round for $65 million, which means we have now raised $123 million in total to grow the business. This latest round will help us to continue to improve our offer for both borrowers and investors; helping more businesses borrow in the US and UK, and improving the investment experience for all of our investors. Coverage was also seen in the Times, Daily Telegraph and Reuters, and you can read more on our blog.

Would you invest in your favourite restaurant? Investors plough more than £1m into Burrito Bond that pays 8%

Mexican restaurant chain Chilango has been inundated by investors clamouring for a slice of its business after founders released a Burrito Bond via crowdfunding site Crowdcube. The 8 per cent four-year mini-bond has proved so popular that the two-man team has already beaten their original target of £1 million by £361,600.

Alternative finance to aid commuters

A new UK start-up, CommuterClub and consumer peer-to-peer lender, Ratesetter, have come together to bring the benefits of an annual season ticket to everyone travelling within the area covered by Transport for London’s Oyster smart card. In time, the company aims to operate in other UK cities with travel smart cards too.

The pros and cons of P2P lending

BBC Moneybox focused on peer-to-peer lending in a recent episode. Our co-founder Andrew Mullinger discussed the risks involved from an investor perspective and the importance of diversification. All Funding Circle investors who have lent to at least 100 investors with a maximum exposure to any one business of 1% are earning a positive return and 60% are earning 6% and more. Read up on the importance of diversification here.

Santander gets behind FinTech with $100m fund

Santander launched a $100 million (£58.3 million) fund to back financial technology (FinTech) start-ups, as the bank’s chief executive hailed the UK as the world’s leader in financial innovation. The money will be invested across the world, but Santander chief executive Ana Botin hinted that much of the money could end up in the UK, saying: “There is no doubt the UK is leading the way in financial innovation, not just in Europe, but globally.”

News

Digging into the data – Collections & Recoveries

At Funding Circle we are committed to being a transparent business and we want to share more of our information with you around lending and borrowing activity.

As part of this commitment we are launching a series of monthly blog posts looking at the data behind Funding Circle. The series launches today and this first post examines the decline in late payments by businesses and the increase in the amount of money recovered for investors when they experience a bad debt.

Understanding why bad debts occur

Lending to businesses can deliver attractive returns to investors while helping established British businesses to access the finance they need to grow.

However from time-to-time some businesses will be unable to fully repay their loans. This is often due to an unexpected change in their circumstances; sometimes businesses are themselves the recipient of a late payment from one of their customers, causing cash flow problems. At other times another financial provider, like a bank, may withdraw their support suddenly. Often these are only temporary setbacks for a business, but in some cases it can have a more significant impact, leading to a business failing to repay their loan on time.

When businesses are late repaying their loan at Funding Circle our in-house collections and recoveries team work closely with the business affected to deliver the best possible results for everyone. One of our core principles of collections and recovery is ‘survival for revival’. A business that ceases to trade or is declared bankrupt without any recovery for investors is never a positive outcome.

Since we brought all of our collections and recoveries processes in-house in February 2014, we have seen significant improvements in the recovery rate for investors and a reduction in the number of businesses being late with a monthly payment. What this means to investors is that more businesses are paying back on time and when an instance does occur where a business ceases to trade, we are recovering more money for investors.

Let’s take a look at some of the key numbers:

Bringing down late payments

Firstly the number of businesses that are late with their monthly repayments has dropped since February from ~1.5% to less than 1%. The lowest this has reached is 0.80% was on 31 July 2014.

Decline in % of late payments since launch of FC in-house collections and recoveries teamDecrease in late rate - August 2014

Bringing down the rate of late payments was not achieved by simply defaulting more loans. This short term gain may look good initially, but the overall recovery rate would go down with each new default.

Instead, the decline in late payments is a result of building industry leading policies for managing businesses in distress. These policies involve working closely with borrowers as soon as they experience trouble – which helps to reduce the frequency of late payments, and puts us in a better position should the business ultimately cease to trade.

Raising recoveries for investors

As a result of this work, we expect recoveries across all loans defaulted up to 30 June 2014, to recover a minimum of 34p in the pound. Based on more recent loans (between 1 January 2014 – 30 June 2014) we anticipate the recovery rate to be 40p in the pound.

To give some context to these numbers, independent research indicates that traditional lenders would expect to receive between 28p-42p recovery on a secured business loan once a business enters administration, and 1p-3p. on unsecured business loans (without a personal guarantee).

Increase in recovery rate - August 2014

What is particularly encouraging about these figures is that we believe these estimates could potentially be higher. For example we have not included estimated recoveries on bankruptcies, and any loans currently in dispute before the courts or otherwise in negotiation for a payment plan.

What this means for investors

We are committed at Funding Circle to having the best collections and recoveries process in the industry – ensuring investors feel confident in lending to businesses. We know there is still lots more to do and we are constantly looking to recover as much money as possible, and further improve our communications.

We hope you found this post useful. We’ll be talking about this in more detail on our forum – please join us there. Our next data post will appear in September.

The Funding Circle team

A record-breaking month for lending. Weekly Lending Review

Week 31: 28 July – 3 August 2014

Last month, Funding Circle investors lent a massive £21.9 million to 362 businesses across the UK, outdoing the previous record by over £1.5 million. Thank you to all who helped these businesses, we’ll have more case studies on the way soon!

Currently there are 3 property development loans on the marketplace, including one in central London, one in Ealing, and one in Barrowby.

New loans

There were 98 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 61 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £6,884,340; that’s an average of £70,248 per loan. The largest loan value was £450,000 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 of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn. Number of loans and value of loans are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 28-Jul represents the week of 28th July – 3rd August.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value1

News you should know

Loan book

The loan book is now available to download from our statistics page. Included are details such as the risk band and sector of the business, and whether the loan was initially offered as a whole loan (WL) or went to auction on the marketplace as a partial loan. We’re committed to providing you with as much data as possible which is why we’ll be adding financial information, accurate to the nearest £10, to the loan book in the next version.

Summer special: share £100 with a friend!

If you recommend a friend to Funding Circle and they lend at least £1,000 to businesses by the end of the offer period, you could each have £50 cashback* paid into your Funding Circle accounts. There’s only 4 weeks to go to recommend a friend to Funding Circle, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Loans defaulted last week

Coach operator. Loan ID 5309

This coach business has been trading since 1928 and is now in administration. The original loan amount was £100,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Ready meals producer. Loan ID 1348

This Birmingham business has been trading since 1998 and is in arrears with repayments. The original loan amount was £50,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of these loans.

 

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

*Terms and conditions apply.

 

Over £1m of loans with 2% cashback. Weekly Lending Review

Week 29: 14 – 27 July 2014

Last week we saw over 90 new lending opportunities come to the marketplace, including an A+ property loan for a development in Plymouth. It is nearly 90% funded with 3 days to go and has a fixed rate of 7.5%. A £400,000 fixed rate loan for a central London property development is also nearly funded. Both loans have 2% cashback* available for every successful bid, so get bidding before it’s too late!

New loans

There were 94 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 61 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £5,036,120; that’s an average of £53,576 per loan. The largest loan value was £400,000 and the smallest loan value was £6,000.

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 of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn. Number of loans and value of loans are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 21-Jul represents the week of 21st – 27th July.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

Summer special: share £100 with a friend!

If you recommend a friend to Funding Circle and they lend at least £1,000 to businesses, you could each have £50 cashback* paid into your Funding Circle accounts.

Marketing tips from a Funding Circle borrower

We’re starting a new Marketing Tips series in partnership with Cognition Agency, which we hope will help businesses grow and provide investors with interesting material they can read and share. The first in the series is 5 trade secrets to improve email marketing.

Loans defaulted last week

Electrical business. Loan ID 1945

This Hertfordshire business has been trading since 1987 and is now in administration. The original loan amount was £100,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Scaffolding business. Loan ID 3964

This Walsall business has been trading since 2008 and is in arrears with their repayments. The original loan amount was £50,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of these loans.

 

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

 

*Terms and conditions apply.

 

5 Trade Secrets That Will Improve Your Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most powerful ways small businesses can build relationships and grow. 76% of marketers use email more today than they did three years ago (HubSpot). This is hardly surprising, given the fact that email provides the most direct line of communication for conversion to sales. What’s more, it’s incredibly cost effective, with an ROI of around 4,300%, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

So, what’s the secret to getting your messages opened, read and shared with others?

Here are 5 trade tips to help you out:

1. Segment your database

The last thing people want is to have their time wasted by information they’re not interested in. It’s worth taking the time to segment your database and send relevant, targeted information to groups of people.

2. Carefully consider your subject line

The most common mistake people make is to spend lots of time on the email itself and then throw together a last-minute subject line. However, if no one opens your email it doesn’t matter what it says inside. Entice your recipient in the same way you would with an advertising headline.

3. Reward your readers

Once people have opened your email give them a reason to engage with you. How do you do this? By giving them something in return, such as a useful tip or link to a relevant guide or ebook.

4. Communicate the benefits

Don’t fall into the trap of headlining your product features. Instead, focus on the benefits that can be gained by working with you – always tell the recipient what’s in it for them.

5. Time your messages

Getting the timing right is crucial to your success. Saturday has the highest click-through rate at over 9%; 6am attracts the highest click-through rate of any hour, and most unsubscriptions take place on Tuesdays. The trends may be different for your industry, so experiment to find out what gives you the best results.

Effective email marketing is just one aspect of digital marketing. Once your prospects have clicked through to your website you need to provide them with the right information, in the rightway in order to convert them.

 

By Tim Witcherley, Cognition Agency

You can get more tips on digital marketing by downloading Cognition’s free eguide, Making The Most Of Online Channels To Generate Leads

Cognition is a full-service marketing agency and a Funding Circle borrower. It’s known for its commercial approach, linking marketing activity to revenue and growth.

If you’re interested in taking out a Funding Circle business loan to improve your email marketing, you can apply online at anytime.

Time to take a peer-to-peer loan?

The news today that small businesses are still struggling to access finance via traditional means, despite the more positive economic outlook, should comes as no real surprise for anyone who has been following business lending figures over the last few years. There has only really been one trend when it comes to high bank lending figures, and that has unfortunately been downwards.

The figures released by the British Bankers Association today show that borrowing by non-financial companies from high street banks declined in the year to June by £12.7 billion. Whilst it’s heartening to see that there was a small percentage increase in lending to small businesses in the wholesale and retail, accommodation and food, and real estate sectors, the percentage change remained below zero. Where we had previously seen some improvement in the manufacturing industry, with this being the only sector benefiting from positive increases in lending since October last year, this fell in June from ~10% to ~4%.

BBA lending stats June 2014

In comparison, business can typically access finance directly from investors via marketplaces like Funding Circle within two weeks. The application process is entirely online and can take as little as twenty minutes, and the credit assessment team will typically have a decision for you within 48 hours. On average it can take up to 15 – 20 weeks to hear from a bank – by which time the season may have passed, or the stock you needed to buy is no longer necessary as you weren’t able to take an important contract.

Today we’re publishing an infographic which shows just how fast a peer-to-peer loan can be for small businesses looking to grow and expand. If you have any questions, then just get in touch. Otherwise please feel free to share to help raise awareness of the choice that business owners now have when they are looking for finance.

If you’re a small business owner looking for finance, then why not put an application in now? Apply here.

Infographic final

Loans of £600k and your latest business video. Weekly Lending Review

Week 29: 7 – 13 July 2014

Last week was one of the best weeks for listings, as over £6.7 million of loans were available for you to lend to. We also announced that we have raised further funding to help improve your Funding Circle experience.

There are 2 loans on the marketplace with a value of £600,000 and above: both have a fixed rate of 7.5%, both are A+ risk bands and both have 2% cashback* on them. Place your bids quickly to take advantage of these loans!

New loans

There were 109 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 66 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £6,770,600; that’s an average of £62,116 per loan. The largest loan value was £620,000 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 of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn. Number of loans and value of loans are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 14-Jul represents the week of 14th – 20th July.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield2

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

We’ve raised $65m to help improve your Funding Circle experience

We’re delighted to announce that we have raised $65 million in equity funding, to improve our offering for both borrowers and investors. We’re also pleased to announce that Bob Steel, who is currently CEO of Perella Weinberg Partners, will join our board as a non-executive director.

Did you lend to fashionable polo retailer, Pampeano?

Earlier this year, Pampeano, a retailer of own-label polo equipment and handmade leather belts, took out a business loan from 415 people to help fund their growth. You can watch their story on our blog.

Summer special: share £100 with a friend!

If you recommend a friend to Funding Circle and they lend at least £1,000 to businesses, you could each have £50 cashback* paid into your Funding Circle accounts.

Loans defaulted last week

Taxi company. Loan ID 1287

This Loughborough business has been trading since 2002 and has fallen into arrears. The original loan amount was £30,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Animation business. Loan ID 3781

This Caernafon business has been trading since 1992 and has ceased trading. The original loan amount was £15,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Welding business. Loan ID 2889

This Worcester business has been trading since 2010 and is in arrears with their repayments. The original loan amount was £20,500 and all affected investors have been notified.

 

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of these loans.

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

 

*Terms and conditions apply.

 

Did you help this polo business access funding?

From Argentina to John Lewis: Pampeano’s Argentine leather belts hit the high street

Earlier this year we met Jenny Brown, founder of polo retailer Pampeano, who borrowed £30,000 from 415 people through Funding Circle.

Pampeano, located in Dorton, near Aylesbury, supplies the majority of UK polo retailers with own label polo equipment. They also design fashionable handmade polo belts, made from Argentine leather.

Having set up Pampeano in 2008, Jenny has successfully grown her business over the years and has recently secured a contract with major UK department store, John Lewis. Pampeano belts are now on sale at some of their stores and online.

Their business loan has helped them buy the stock needed to fulfil this contract, and will fuel their growth even further.

In this short video, Jenny shares her business story and what she liked about her Funding Circle experience. She is determined to grow the brand over the coming years so watch out, you may hear more about Pampeano soon!

 

If you want to lend to businesses like Jenny’s, or you run a business and need funding, you can sign up here.

There are many more businesses who have accessed finance through Funding Circle, and you can view their stories here.

 

Funding Circle raises $65m in equity funding and announces Bob Steel as new board director

Today we’re delighted to announce that we have completed a $65 million series D investment, led by Index Ventures, along with existing investors, Accel Partners, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital. This latest round of funding will help us to continue to improve our offer for both borrowers and investors; helping more businesses borrow in the US and UK, and improving the investment experience for all of our investors.

We’re also pleased to announce that Bob Steel will join our board as a non-executive director. Bob is currently CEO of Perella Weinberg Partners and his expertise and experience is unparalleled. As former Under Secretary for Domestic Finance of the United States Treasury, former CEO of Wachovia, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs and Deputy Mayor of New York, we are very excited to be welcoming Bob to the team.

You can read the full press release for today’s news in our media centre. This news follows the last round we raised in October last year, which allowed us to expand into the US and helped us to tailor our loans for small businesses who develop or invest in property. Since launching in the US at the end of 2013, the Funding Circle US team has increased its lending to American businesses by 500 percent and is expected to lend $100 million by the end of 2014.

Globally, investors have now lent more than half a billion dollars of lending to over 5,000 businesses and we believe this is just the beginning. Thank you to all investors for your support over the last few years – you are helping to build a better financial world.

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

The Funding Circle team

 

Helping more businesses and £6m of new loans. Weekly Lending Review

Week 28: 7 – 13 July 2014

It was a great week for listings as 109 new lending opportunities became available to you, with the total value of over £6 million. Of the loans that were listed last week, manufacturing was the most common sector and working capital was the most popular reason for funding.

New loans

There were 109 new business loans listed last week and there are currently 84 auctions on the marketplace.

The total value of the new listed loans was £6,171,580; that’s an average of £56,620 per loan. The largest loan value was £370,000 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 of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn. Number of loans and value of loans are reported weekly. The dates on the graph should be read as ‘week beginning’, for example: 7-Jul represents the week of 7th – 13th July.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

yield

Number of listed loans per week

number

Listed loan value per week

value

Summer special: share £100 with a friend!

If you recommend a friend to Funding Circle and they lend at least £1,000 to businesses, you could each have £50 cashback* paid into your Funding Circle accounts.

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. A number of factors are considered when reviewing the rates, including general economic conditions and costs of alternative borrowing products. This month, we have decided to increase rates by 0.1% on both the C and C- risk bands. The new rates will take effect on Friday 1st August. The new minimum bid rates for loan requests listed after 9am on 1st August are as follows:

  • A+: 6% (no change)
  • A: 8% (no change)
  • B: 9% (no change)
  • C: 10.2% (+ 0.1%)
  • C-: 12% (+ 0.1%)

Planned business advisory service for our borrowers

We’re planning to launch a free advisory service for Funding Circle borrowers, to help them make the most out of their Funding Circle loan. This will include a 60-90 minute session from a Funding Circle account manager and an independent business advisor of their choice, to look deeper into any business need they’d like to focus on.

Assessing more businesses on a case by case basis

As part of our ongoing work to improve and innovate the service we provide to both borrowers and investors, we are starting to review loan applications where the business has a turnover between £50k and £100k.

Loans defaulted last week

Film equipment provider. Loan ID 2009

This Guildford business has been trading since 2005 and entered administration last month. The original loan amount was £100,000 and all affected investors have been notified.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of these loans.

Enjoy lending, The Funding Circle Team

*Terms and conditions apply.

 

Make the most out of your loan and use our free advisory service

At Funding Circle our passion is to help small businesses succeed and prosper, and help investors earn attractive returns. Over 5,000 businesses have now accessed finance via the marketplace, but often this access to capital is just the beginning.

Biz advisory

After speaking with many of you over the last four years, we know that most businesses regularly review their management information. However time pressure can make other things such as the business strategy, competitive edge, value creation, revenue streams, marketing, financial health, staff morale and management competency, easy to overlook.  

The good news is these things can be easily reviewed and improved if you know which questions to ask and some easy steps to take.

That’s why we are trialling a new and free business advisory service, for small businesses who feel they would benefit from independent professional business advice. These 60-90 minute sessions will take place with a Funding Circle account manager and an independent business advisor from a professional transformation organisation. In a recent Funding Circle survey, 92% of business owners said they would be interested in this service.

Who are the advisors?

We have a panel of four advisors to choose from including Baker Tilly, BDO, FRP Advisory, and ReSolve Partners. If you feel your business could benefit from this service, then the first step would be to get in contact with us, so we can discuss your position and agree which advisor would best suit you.

What information would you need to provide?

The more information you are able to provide in advance of the consultation, the better.

The minimum information is the completion of a SWOT analysis, which is a structured planning framework that identifies the business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This should take about 15 minutes to fill out.

Ideally you could share the most up to date cash-flow forecast and management accounts. We can send you a generic 13 week short-term cash flow model that will help you prepare one for your business. Other information that would be useful, is a business plan, debtor ledger and a creditor ledger as these can be helpful in identifying and prioritising payment and debtor collections to improve cash flow.

Is there any obligation on me to have a meeting?

No obligation whatsoever.  However, this opportunity will enable us to develop a closer relationship with you and gain a better understanding of your funding needs, which may be useful in the future.

Why are we offering this service?

We want to see borrowers become successful and make the most out of their loan. We believe that this free service can help borrowers be better at business; and help you avoid, or plan for, any difficulties that may lie ahead. Meeting you in person and seeing your business will also help us gain a better understanding of your business needs.

Things to note

It’s worth mentioning that any information provided to us is treated with the strictest confidence and shall not be disclosed to any third parties without your express consent. The service will initially be trialled with businesses who have £50k outstanding on their loan and are ideally based in London and the South East, but we hope to roll it out more widely in due course.

How to get started

Contact us by emailing Vijay Chadha, who is running this trial service, or by calling 0203 667 2225.