There was another vote of confidence for London’s financial technology ('fintech') sector today as it emerged peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle has landed a hefty $150m (£100m) from investors, in one of the largest private business funding rounds in Britain’s recent history.
The company, which arranges lending from individuals and institutions to small businesses, is one of the biggest success stories to come out of the capital’s technology sector. While the terms of the deal were not revealed, it reportedly valued Funding Circle around the symbolic $1bn mark. It’s hard to believe the business wasn’t even launched until 2010.
‘Today’s news is the next step on our journey to creating a sustainable, category-defining business in a multi-billion dollar global market, where businesses will come to the marketplace to borrow from all types of investors,’ said the startup’s founder and CEO, Samir Desai. ‘This investment, alongside prudent risk management, will ensure Funding Circle’s long term future.’
The investment was led by include DST Global, the venture capital firm owned by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, which was an investor in Facebook, Twitter and Spotify. Other backers include the Singapore state investment fund Temasek and the asset management giant BlackRock.
In a further sign that it’s entering the big leagues the startup’s also brought on board David Yu, the former CEO and CTO of Betfair, as its 'chief product officer’, and former Salesforce COO Chitra Nayak as its US CEO.
The news coincides with another big, if not quite so big, investment for London's financial tech companies. The digital business lender Ezbob, which recently acquired Wonga's business arm Everline, scooped up £30m from US investors Oaktree Capital Management. Given Funding Circle's round was apparently oversubscribed, it seems investors can't get enough of fintech at the moment.
Funding Circle has now raised a total of $273m in equity funding. ‘We didn’t really need the money,’ Desai admitted to the FT, adding that it was more about getting the right kind of investors on board. Every little helps though, eh?