This week, British investors reached a major milestone having lent more than £300 million to UK businesses through Funding Circle in just under four years.
Investors have now helped over 5,000 businesses access the finance they need to expand and grow, creating an estimated 15,000 jobs since Funding Circle launched. Of the £300 million total, £100 million has been lent out in the first six months of 2014 alone.
Fashionizer Couture Uniforms, a specialist designer of uniforms for hotels and spas, borrowed through Funding Circle last year, and also announced this week that they have secured a major global contract to design and supply uniforms for the luxury hotel and spa group Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.
The contract comes as a direct result of the £67,000 investment, which included money from the British Business Bank and hundreds of individuals. The business has been so successful that the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable paid them a visit at the end of last year to see how the money was being used.
Debbie Leon, the Managing Director of Fashionizer, commented on the new contract by saying: “Fashionizer has been trading successfully since 1993 and had focused mainly on UK business with a number of European customers, but I knew that I wanted to move the business up to the next level and compete in the international domain. That requires expertise, hard work commitment and patience – all of which we had – but it also needs financial support.
“That’s where Funding Circle came in. After spending hours with banks trying to convince them that we knew our business and the opportunities available in our niche market, we hit a brick wall. When we approached Funding Circle, the whole process was very simple, efficient, and, importantly, decision-making was quick.”
Thank to your lending, the growth we have seen over the last six months is clear evidence that small businesses place speed, transparency and efficiency at the heart of borrowing. Marketplace lending is increasingly becoming a mainstream part of financial services and there is significant potential for further growth over the next few years. Independent research recently predicted that the global industry could become worth $1 trillion by 2025.
As you know, we recently announced a partnership with Santander which we believe will create thousands more opportunities for small businesses to access finance, and increase awareness of alternative sources of finance, as well as provide more lending opportunities on the marketplace.