Edinburgh fintech LendingCrowd singled out for scaling

Stuart Lunn, founder and chief executive of the Edinburgh-based fintech. Picture: Contributed
Stuart Lunn, founder and chief executive of the Edinburgh-based fintech. Picture: Contributed
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LendingCrowd, the fintech lending platform, is the only Scottish firm to have been selected for a major business scaling up programme.

The Edinburgh-based start-up is one of 30 fast-growing companies that will participate in the Tech Nation Upscale programme, which is now in its fourth year. More than 100 applications – a record number – were made before the final cohort was selected.

The LendingCrowd executive team will be coached over the next six months by some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and company founders.

Since launching in 2014, the capital firm, which employs about 25 people, has completed more than 570 loans and its total lending has exceeded £50 million.

Tech Nation, which aims to accelerate the growth of the digital tech sector across Britain, said the 30 firms that have been selected represent “some of the finest early stage talent from across the UK”. It is expected that many will grow into the next generation of digital household names. Launched in April, Tech Nation builds on the past work of Tech City UK and Tech North.

Stuart Lunn, founder and chief executive of LendingCrowd, said: “Being selected as the only Scottish company to join the latest Upscale programme is further validation of our work in building a sustainable business capable of being scaled in a high-growth sector.

“We founded LendingCrowd to help bridge the funding gap facing so many small businesses, and the experience gained through Upscale and working with Tech Nation will be invaluable as we take the platform to the next level.”

Margot James, the UK minister for creative and digital industries, said: “Scotland and Edinburgh are tech powerhouses, with digital businesses contributing more than £1 billion to the capital’s economy and employing almost 40,000 people.

“Much of this success is down to the ambition of fast-growth companies like LendingCrowd, and I congratulate the team on joining Upscale and the significant potential and innovation they have shown.”

The Upscale companies are drawn from all sectors, with a fifth of them operating in the fintech sector. Half of the firms are business-to-business start-ups, while a fifth are business-to-consumer companies.

A third of all the businesses are based outside London, up from a quarter last year, while eight have a female founder.

Scaling up coaches on past programmes have included Brent Hoberman, the co-founder of Lastminute.com, and Lesley Eccles, co-founder of Scottish technology business FanDuel.

Sinead Daly, mid-stage programme lead at Tech Nation, said: “I’m delighted to welcome this year’s companies onto the Upscale programme.

“As we enter our fourth year, Upscale has built an incredible network of over 100 alumni, who have a wealth of experience to share with the cohort.

“Our off-site launch event will bring our founders together for the first time and enable us to embed those tight-knit connections upfront, think about what scaling really means and explore how leaders can thrive while managing such rapid growth.”

Also among the latest cohort is Previse, a London fintech with offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Its co-founder David Brown is from Glasgow and the business received funding from Scottish Enterprise in 2018. The firm tackles the problem of slow invoice payments for SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) suppliers.