Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform that matches businesses with investors, has expanded beyond the U.S. and U.K. into mainland Europe with the acquisition of Zencap, a move that will bring the Funding Circle brand to three more countries.
Funding Circle was first launched in the U.K. in 2010 as a means for small firms to procure finances without going to banks. It launched in the U.S. some two years later. The company raised a whopping $150 million this year, catapulting it into coveted “unicorn” status with a $1 billion valuation.
The P2P lending space has recently proved fruitful for a number of companies, including Prosper Marketplace and Lending Club. By combining forces with Germany-based Zencap, Funding Circle has found an easier route into the potentially lucrative small loans market in Europe. Today’s news will see Zencap’s existing domestic European team merge with Funding Circle to tackle the markets in Spain, the Netherlands, and Zencap’s native Germany.
“Our vision is to help millions of businesses across the world sidestep the outdated and inefficient banking system and borrow from investors,” said Samir Desai, cofounder and CEO of Funding Circle. “Today’s news is the next exciting stage of this journey. We have been hugely impressed with what the Zencap team have achieved so far. By coming together we combine Funding Circle’s leading position in the UK and US with Zencap’s deep understanding of local markets to create the first truly global marketplace lending platform.”
Since 2010, Funding Circle investors — which include individuals, governments, and financial institutions — have plowed $1.5 billion into 12,000 businesses. Zencap has issued around $40 million in loans since its inception in early 2014.