LENDINGCROWD, Scotland’s first specialist peer-to-business crowd lending platform celebrates its first birthday this week after a trail-blazing year.
The Edinburgh-based firm, founded by chief executive Stuart Lunn and chairman Bill Dobbie (pictured), co-founder of Cupid has facilitated £1.65 million of loans to 28 SMEs, with 1,000 investors signed up since launch.
The platform has grown from nine team members to a staff of 16. It aims to become one of the UK’s leading peer-to-business platforms, bringing new lending products to market to support SME growth as well as offering a wider range of investment opportunities.
Lendingcrowd enables investors seeking attractive returns from investments in successful UK businesses and SMEs. The process enables businesses to access finance easily and quickly from investors who have the potential to earn returns of between 5.95 per cent and 12.25 per cent.
The platform works using a bidding process in which the most competitive bids make up the loan. Investors are only presented with businesses that have been trading for at least two years, have a minimum turnover of £100,000 and have passed a robust credit risk assessment carried out by a team of experienced finance industry experts based in the Edinburgh head office.
In Scotland, the financial crisis has had profound implications for many SMEs, many of whom have traditionally relied heavily on bank finance. The 2013 Glasgow Chamber of Commerce survey Crowdfunding: The Scottish Perspective revealed that 56 per cent of Scottish SMEs are struggling to secure finance, predominantly for innovation and new product development.
Lunn was formerly an equity analyst covering the UK technology sector at Collins Stewart and Cenkos. He has been working with high-growth tech companies for more than 10 years, providing investment bank advisory services and supporting their capital funding and has also been involved in numerous fundraisings and flotations as well as several start-ups.
Dobbie, who has wide experience of growing innovative and successful IT companies such as Iomart, Cupid and Maximiser, has an excellent track record of starting and sustaining successful and innovative businesses across Scotland and beyond.
* Separately, the latest subdued lending figures from the British Bankers’ Association has drawn criticism from crowd funding platform CrowdBnk. Chief executive and founder Ayan Mitra said the latest statistics “tell a familiar story of high street banks failing to support businesses which need access to finance. While capital market finance has grown by £11.5 billion so far in 2015, it remains in negative territory on an annual basis, with the BBA noting bank lending to companies continues to be subdued.
“The inescapable fact is that the lending criteria for many businesses remains strict, with terms offered by banks failing to fulfil the needs of companies.”
For further details on Edinburgh-based LendingCrowd, visit www.lendingcrowd.com.