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.

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.

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

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

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.

Sharing the voice of British small businesses

We wanted to make the views of British businesses heard, so we asked thousands of you for your thoughts on the year ahead. In the space of four days, more than 2,300 of you told us about your investment intentions, turnover expectations and also your position on the upcoming general election.

What we discovered is that small businesses are going for growth, unfazed by the uncertainty caused by last year’s referendum result and the snap election. Nearly 70% of UK small businesses expect their turnover to increase within the next 12 months – half of whom expect a steady increase of between 6 and 20%, and only 6% expect turnover to decrease.

Small businesses, who already account for 60% of private sector employment, will continue to drive much needed job creation this year. More than half of the businesses we spoke to are planning to hire at least one new full-time member of staff over the next year. With more than 5 million small businesses across the country – this could mean the creation of millions of new jobs in the next 12 months!

Ahead of the election, small business owners told us that they’re three times more likely to vote for the Conservative Party over the Labour Party. In total, 41% said that they plan on voting Conservative, whilst 13% said Labour and 9% said they intended to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

Support for the Conservatives comes despite 49% saying they voted Remain in last year’s EU referendum, demonstrating a level of confidence in the party to deliver Brexit regardless of how business owners voted in the referendum.

When asked what their one policy priority is in the run up to the election, tax was by far the most important issue. With business rates mentioned specifically nearly 300 times, 40% said that they want the new Government to focus on this area after the election. The second most important policy area, according to a quarter of businesses, was of course Brexit.

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 £2.2 billion to more than 23,000 UK small businesses. Businesses funded through the platform typically access the capital they need in seven 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 April Impact – Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

April's investor impact

You told us that monthly and weekly updates were a little too much, so to better suit your needs we’re improving the way we talk to you on a monthly basis.

In your first Investor Impact, we’re looking at some of the success stories from recent borrowers and how your lending has helped them achieve their goals.

Did you know?

This month we hit more than 60,000 investors, big and small, lending to businesses through Funding Circle. Together your lending is having a real impact on the UK economy. Already in 2017 you’ve helped more than 5,000 businesses access much needed finance to grow and prosper. We’re going to need a pretty big venue to host everyone for our next event!

60000 people

A great month for

Firstnet create 100 new jobs in Leeds

Award winning IT services provider Firstnet Solutions Ltd was founded in 2011 to provide small businesses with the best possible IT infrastructure. Based in Leeds, husband and wife team David and Angie Cusworth are passionate about helping small businesses benefit from the same IT solutions as larger companies, but for a price that suits their needs.

Firstnet solutions

Last month, Firstnet Solutions Ltd opened a new purpose-built data centre in Yorkshire. David told us ‘we envisage that this data centre will create more than 100 new jobs, providing an important source of local employment.’

To facilitate the launch of their new data centre, Firstnet Solutions Ltd borrowed £74,480 in October 2016. David added: ‘Accessing finance through Funding Circle has helped our business achieve this success and we will look to work together more as we grow.’ Congratulations to David and the team!

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

April's success story

Paralympian goes for gold with a Funding Circle loan

Husband-and-wife team Peter and Linda Norfolk are well-experienced in achieving excellence. Nicknamed ‘The Quadfather’, Peter Norfolk OBE is a double paralympic gold medal and multiple Grand Slam winning wheelchair-tennis player, while Linda was Head of Physio for the Paralympic GB team at the Athens Games.

Not content with just winning medals, together they also own and run Equipment for the Physically Challenged (EPC), specialising in providing high-performance wheelchairs and powerchairs.

To hire two new members of staff, Equipment for the Physically Challenged (EPC) borrowed £30,000 in 2016. Meet this inspiring couple and hear more about their story in this short video.

5 fun ideas

The glorious summer weather is fast approaching and with more bank holidays coming up in May, it’s the perfect time to start planning. We’ve put together a list of five great ideas, from picnics to watersports and weekend getaways, to help you get outdoors and support businesses that have flourished thanks to your lending.

Up next

At the beginning of May, we’ll be publishing ‘Your May Review – Insight and Analysis’ which will focus on what’s been happening on the marketplace to help you get the most from 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

A quiet crash in bank lending? March industry news

A quiet crash in big bank lending?

Bank of England statistics reveal that since the EU referendum, net lending (that’s total lending minus repayments) to British small businesses by 22 of the largest banks dropped from £1 billion in the second quarter of 2016, down to just £220 million in the last three months of the year. Meanwhile, Funding Circle investors lent £167 million on a net basis in Q4 alone! This is a great demonstration of the huge value your lending is having on the UK economy.

Bank said no, but I didn’t lose my sense of hummus

Helen Smith, founder of Glogg and one of Funding Circle’s many great borrowers, shares her company’s success story and experience of using direct lending for growth finance in The Times. When Glastonbury needed a business to produce 200,000 stainless steel pint cups for last year’s festival, Glogg stepped up to the challenge. Turning to Funding Circle for support, Helen was able to secure funding from hundreds of investors and the project was a huge success. Read the full story on our blog.

They came, they saw, they disrupted

It was also great to see Samir Desai, Funding Circle CEO, featured in the The Sunday Times Maserati 100 list, which recognises influential entrepreneurs who are disrupting the business world. In it’s third year, the award took a new approach and focused on celebrating the beneficial impact that these individuals are having on the economy. This type of recognition is only possible because of the continued support we receive from our customers on both sides of the platform so thank you!

The best places to put your cash if you want to beat inflation

With inflation on the rise, an article in This is Money explores a few tricks to help make your spare cash work harder. By considering these options, such as direct lending or investing in stocks and shares, you don’t have to leave your money in a cash Isa that loses value over time. Read more about direct lending and how you could earn stable, attractive returns by lending to small businesses – but remember, when you lend, your capital it at risk.

Read between the lines: New tax year, new tax planning

Speaking of financial planning, personal finance expert and former editor at The Independent Simon Read, gives his advice on how to approach financial decisions in our new blog series ‘Read between the lines’. When planning for the new tax year, Simon encourages investors to be proactive and start the process as early in the year as possible so that there’s plenty of time to take any potential changes into account. To learn about what the recent Spring Budget means for you, check out this video on our blog.

Funding Circle secures $100M investment from CIM

And finally, our US business announced that Community Investment Management, an impact investment firm focused on direct lending, is now lending an additional $100 million to American small businesses. This exciting agreement gives even more businesses the opportunity to access the finance they need, which in turn encourages job creation and economic growth in local communities across the United States.

Property development lending – important update

Funding Circle’s long term goal is to become the first choice for small businesses here in the UK and across the world. By attracting thousands more businesses to the platform, we can offer you many more lending opportunities, allowing you to continue to earn an attractive, stable return. To meet this goal, we have taken the decision to focus on our core small business lending product in the UK and our other markets and will scale down new property development lending, expecting to stop all lending by mid-2018.

We are proud of the lending we have facilitated to small developers since 2014. The borrowers you have lent to have built thousands of homes and credit performance has been strong; loans have generated a 7% annual return* (as of 10th April 2017) and you have earned more than £22m in interest.

By focusing on our core product you will be able to help thousands more small businesses to access finance and grow. Over the last year you have lent record-breaking amounts, with approximately £280m lent to small business borrowers in the first three months of 2017. We expect this trend to continue.

It’s important to note that this decision is not related to credit performance of property development loans, which have outperformed expectations over the last three years and we expect this to remain the case.

We will continue to work on your behalf to service all existing property development loans. There will still be opportunities for you to lend to experienced property professionals over the next 12 months.

If you have any questions on today’s news, please get in touch at contactus@fundingcircle.com.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Returns shown may change over time as some businesses may not be able to fully repay their loans.

Spring-clean your Funding Circle account

Last week marked the start of Spring—the clocks went forward, the days get longer and with a bit of luck, the weather gets warmer!

For many people, spring represents the time to have a good clean out in their homes, but it is a good opportunity to get your financial house in order as well. Your Funding Circle account is no exception, so here are four tips to help you get the most out of your investment.

1. Give yourself the best chance of earning a stable return

Our data shows that investors who diversify by lending small amounts to many businesses are more likely to earn a stable return. From time-to-time some of the businesses you lend to won’t be able to repay their loans, so lending small amounts minimises the effect this could have on your return. We suggest you lend to at least 100 businesses, with no more than 1% of your portfolio lent to each one.

 More information on the benefits of diversification can be found on our statistics page. You can see the maximum percentage you have lent to any one business in the My Loan Parts section of your Summary page.

2. Make sure your funds are working hard

You can earn great returns by directly lending to businesses through Funding Circle, but your money earns nothing if it is sat idle. Each month you will receive either a principal and interest payment (the amount you lent plus the interest earned), or an interest-only payment from the businesses you lend to. Ensuring these repayments are lent out to new borrowers can maximise your earning potential.

Doing this regularly can be time consuming, however our Autobid tool will automatically lend your repayments out to new borrowers, leaving you to get on with your day!

3. Check your Autobid settings

It’s good practice to review your Autobid settings regularly to ensure they still meet your lending criteria. While logged in, the Autobid page will allow you to turn the tool on or off and manage your diversification options. The Advanced Settings will also allow you to choose which risk bands to lend to and set the gross interest rates for buying loan parts from other investors. Remember, diversification across both risk bands and businesses can help you earn a stable return.

4. Grow your portfolio for the long-term

Setting up a standing order can be done quickly and allows you to set aside a little each month towards your financial future. Making even a modest regular contribution can have a considerable long-term effect on your Funding Circle account. For example, if an investor with £10,000 in their Funding Circle account was to set up a standing for £100 a month, after 30 years they could have an account worth nearly £200,000.*

Remember, past performance is not a guarantee of future performance, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

We hope you have found this useful, and if you have any questions about your account please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*Returns are at our estimated annualised return of 6.9%** (as of 6th March 2017), are compounded monthly, and are after fees and bad debt but before tax. Based on this, an account worth £10,000 with a standing order of £100 a month would be worth £199,084.63. Returns are calculated using a compound interest calculator.  

**This 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 as of 6th March 2017. 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.

Improving the way we talk to you

You told us that monthly and weekly updates were a little too much, so to better suit your needs we’ll now be updating you fortnightly with more in-depth information.

In-depth updates, every two weeks

Up first, we’re replacing your current Weekly Lending Review with two monthly blogs, which will still contain all the information you like to read, from the amount lent to businesses each month, how to make the most of your investment, and any recent defaults. However, we’re giving it all a spring clean and adding some new features.

Each month your new round-up will be split into two:

  • Your investment update will focus on the Funding Circle marketplace, from businesses you could lend to, to how much was lent last month, some new statistics and information from our experts.
  • Your lending impact will showcase success stories from recent borrowers, how your lending has helped them achieve their goals, insight into how things work at Funding Circle, and an opportunity to hear from other investors.

These refreshed blogs will be launching later this month.

Coming soon

Quick on the heels of the blog update, you’ll soon notice a refreshed look for your newsletters. Mirroring your new marketplace round-up blogs, the newsletters will be split into two:

  • An update on your investment and a round-up of what’s going on at Funding Circle at the beginning of each month.
  • What impact your lending is having on the UK economy mid-month, and showcase some of the extraordinary business owners you’re helping.

There’s lots of other improvements still to come, but for now we hope you like the new look and feel of our communications.

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.

British business booming after Brexit. February industry news.

Brexit Terrified This CEO. Then Business Jumped 50%

Last month, Bloomberg featured Funding Circle in a deep dive analysis of investor and borrower reaction to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Over the course of the last six months we’ve seen small businesses adapt and continue to invest. This has been made possible by your lending, with more than £500 million lent in the second half of 2016 alone. Supporting these businesses, who make up 50% of GDP and 60% of private sector employment, is crucial to the success of the UK economy.

Leading marketplace lender Funding Circle tops £2bn mark

Another exciting milestone as investors hit £2 billion lent to UK small businesses through Funding Circle since 2010. That means you have supported more than 22,000 small businesses with the funding they need to grow, helping to create more than 50,000 new jobs! We are seeing huge demand for fast, fair, flexible finance from businesses, which means many more lending opportunities on the platform. Watch this video to find out about the importance of diversification, where you lend small amounts to hundreds of businesses in order to manage risk.

Alternative finance in the UK ticks over £10bn mark

The wider crowdfunding sector also celebrated a major milestone this month having facilitated investment worth £10 billion, which is more than double the cumulative total during the same period in 2015. The rapid increase in consumers and businesses turning to alternatives for funding is testament to the customer experience that platforms have on offer. Hundreds of thousands of investors and borrowers alike have now benefited from a new and innovative way of taking out a loan or earning a return.

MarketInvoice and Funding Circle represent P2P on fintech delivery panel

February also saw the launch of one of the Government’s initiatives to help maintain the UK’s position as a global Financial Technology hub during Brexit negotiations. The FinTech Delivery Panel, which was set up by the Treasury and TechCityUK, is made up of senior figures from some of Britain’s most innovative companies and will help steer policy in such a way that ensures the UK’s thriving FinTech sector continues to be the best in the world.

European fintech deals hit 5-year high in 2016

European FinTech companies defied the global trend of a reduction in investment in 2016, with the number of deals increasing by 11 percent in Europe compared to a 1 percent drop globally. In total, innovative FinTech businesses attracted more than $1.2 billion of investment. 2017 is already looking like a good year for the industry with Funding Circle kicking off the fundraising with our £82 million raise in January – enabling further investment into our technology platform to create an ever better experience for our customers!

How your savings will be affected by the Bank of England’s interest rate freeze

And finally, as the high street banks continue to offer poor returns amidst the Bank of England’s decision to freeze rates at 0.25%, this Daily Mirror articles explores the many other options available as a means of making your spare cash work harder for you. By turning to investments such as peer-to-peer lending, you could earn attractive returns by lending to small businesses – but remember, this is an investment not a savings product so your capital is at risk.

Are you interested in lending to businesses through Funding Circle?

Lend alongside 58,000 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 20,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with seasonal cash flow, refurbishment, asset finance and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

 

Not your average small business

We think small businesses are pretty special. From butchers to bakers, IT consultants to accountants, small business owners and their employees across the UK are doing extraordinary things on a daily basis.

Finch House
To open a new cafe and bakery, Finch House borrowed £125,000 back in 2015.

Small companies make big business

Small businesses aren’t actually that small. When it comes to driving the UK economy forward they pack a pretty impressive punch. Small businesses in the UK, usually defined as any business with less than 250 employees, make up half of our GDP and 60% of private sector employment. You can find more small business facts in our Small business, Big impact infographic.

Tri dosha
To create a new product range of skincare products, Tri-Dosha borrowed £21,060 from 152 investors.

Under the umbrella term small business is an incredible array of exceptional people and industries. You can meet borrowers from a range of sectors in our industry insights series, including retail, hospitality and manufacturing. As you’ll see, the average Funding Circle borrower is usually someone quite remarkable.

While we love telling individual stories, in this post we’re taking a step back and looking at the numbers behind the businesses. Not including property specialists, here’s what the average of all our Funding Circle borrowers looks like….

The significance of the number 8

Our average borrower employs 8 people — enough to make a netball team and have a super sub. To apply for a loan, businesses need to have a minimum of 2 years trading history. However, the average Funding Circle borrower has been around for much longer — 8 years. This means our average business was established in 2009, the year Matt Smith was named as the new Doctor Who, Michael Jackson died, and Barbara Windsor retired from Eastenders. It also means many started life during the worst financial crisis for a generation, so our small business owners are clearly made of stern stuff!

Mill View Plant Centre
To expand and open a coffee shop, Mill View Plant Centre borrowed £100,000 in 2015.

 Helping businesses unlock their potential

There’s a variety of reasons businesses need finance. Whether it’s simply to get a cash boost or unlock their potential we’re on hand to help. Our simple application form can be filled out in just 10 minutes.

Over half of businesses take out a loan through Funding Circle to expand, including hiring staff or opening new premises, like Andy Walker from Teasdale Motorcycles. Being able to expand his business when the time was right helped Andy triple his turnover and grow the team by 10!

Teasdale
To expand and move premises, Teasdale Motorcycles borrowed £167,000

The second most popular reason for borrowing at 34% is working capital. This might be businesses buying stock for a busy season ahead or keeping up with increasing demand like Beech’s Fine Chocolates in Preston, who’ve been manufacturing high quality gourmet chocolates in Lancashire since 1920.

Beeches chocolates
To keep up with demand, Beech’s Fine Chocolates borrowed £250,000 in 2016.

As well as covering a wide range of industries, our borrowers are also based all over the country. 24% are in the South East, 14% in Midlands and 12% in North West.

So will 2018 be the best year for small businesses?

We’ve been championing small businesses since 2010, helping more than 20,000 UK businesses access over £2 billion in finance. Now we’re planning how we can help even more in the years to come. We’ve seen businesses are seizing new growth opportunities in 2017, however, with their affinity to the number 8, 2018 could be an even better year for our Funding Circle business community. Watch this space!

Grow your business with a Funding Circle loan today

We offer unsecured loans up to £350,000, with a personal guarantee, for a range of business purposes including expansion, refurbishment, cash flow and stock purchases.

Key loan features include:

  • Rates from 4.9%
  • Loans from 6 months to 5 years
  • ​Funds in as little as 1 week​
  • No early repayment fees​ — if you pay back early you pay back less

If you’re looking for business finance, check your eligibility online in just 30 seconds.

The data in this blog is correct as of February 2017