An Edinburgh-based peer-to-peer lending platform has secured a seven-figure cash injection under a Scottish Enterprise initiative to boost funding to smaller businesses.
LendingCrowd will receive £2.75m from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the economic development agency's investment arm.
It marks the first initiative to be delivered by SIB under an expanded remit and is expected to stimulate loans of up to £35m to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) north of the Border, while leveraging significant private sector investment. The move also represents SIB’s initial foray into the alternative funding market.
The agreement will allow businesses to access loans of between £5,000 and £250,000 over terms ranging from six months to five years.
Stuart Lunn, chief executive and co-founder of LendingCrowd, said: "Our groundbreaking agreement with Scottish Enterprise, one of the first initiatives of its kind in Europe, will help to fund the next stage of growth for some of Scotland's most exciting SMEs.
"This recognises the increasing importance of peer-to-peer access to finance and, in practical terms, will allow a significant number of small to medium-sized businesses the chance to pursue their ambitions to expand and compete in the UK and internationally."
Kerry Sharp, head of SIB, added: "We recognise that many Scottish companies continue to struggle to raise the funding they need to grow, and evidence points to substantial gaps in the supply and demand for finance within the Scottish market.
"Under our expanded remit, we are increasing the diversity of finance provision in Scotland, and this new initiative with LendingCrowd is the first example of how we are opening up innovative sources of alternative funding to Scottish SMEs."