Crowdfunding platform LendingCrowd is celebrating its first birthday today after a successful year of operations.
Co-founded by chief executive Stuart Lunn and chairman Bill Dobbie, the venture has facilitated 34 loans totally £1.75 million to SMEs, with 1,100 investors signing up since it launched on 1 October 2014.
Over the past 12 months, the Edinburgh-headquartered platform has grown from a team of nine to 16 members of staff. This includes a credit assessment team with more than 100 years’ banking experience between them and a team of in-house developers.
Lunn said: “We’ve achieved a lot in a year, but this is just the start. We have ambitions to become one of the UK’s foremost peer-to-business platforms, and to do this we are constantly fine-tuning our operations to suit the needs of both investors and borrowers.
“There are lots of investors keen to back companies looking for alternative finance and we believe that flexible and well-regulated crowdlending can help support a successful base of SMEs that can go on to make a valuable contribution to the UK economy.”
A UK government consultation on whether to include both equity and debt crowdfunding on the list of investments that qualify for tax-efficient individual savings accounts (Isas) closed yesterday.
Some commentators have warned that allowing equity-based crowdfunding investments within an Isa is a step too far, exposing investors to excessive risk.
However, Ayan Mitra, chief executive of crowdfunding platform CrowdBnk, said: “Like any investment, you have to do the due diligence before you invest.
“We believe the best approach is to provide investors with the flexibility to decide what structure works for them, and by allowing both debt and equity crowdfunding investments within Isas it could help more businesses which need funding.”