P2P lender LendingCrowd targets growth in Scotland

A peer-to-peer (P2P) SME lender that says it is the only one of its kind to be based in Scotland has reported a record August and has made a senior hire as it looks to grow north of the Border.
LendingCrowd CEO Stuart Lunn, right, with head of origination Adrian Innes. Picture: Stewart AttwoodLendingCrowd CEO Stuart Lunn, right, with head of origination Adrian Innes. Picture: Stewart Attwood
LendingCrowd CEO Stuart Lunn, right, with head of origination Adrian Innes. Picture: Stewart Attwood

LendingCrowd, based in Edinburgh’s West End, said that in the month it saw about £2.5 million of funds inflow, with 200 cumulative loan deals. Four Scottish deals completed to the tune of more than £400,000 and all in all, the firm has now broken through the £18m mark for lending across the UK, including £2.1m last month, since launching in late 2014.

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The fintech firm has also revealed the appointment of former Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank director Adrian Innes as “head of origination”, leading business development activity. He will report to chief executive and co-founder Stuart Lunn, who told The Scotsman that having someone with Innes’ level of expertise “fits very well” with the aims of the business, amid ambitions for lending to reach £40m next year.

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He added: “We’re on track for a record quarter and it’s great to have Adrian leading our business development push, particularly in Scotland where he brings a strong network of business owners and advisers and where we see real potential for further growth.

“Having somebody of that level coming in and adding to the management team… [came at] the right time for the business.”

LendingCrowd described Innes as a “career banker who established and subsequently led Clydesdale’s Business Direct, Glasgow function for the last six years. This function was predominately responsible for providing funding support and sustainable financial solutions to SME customers across the UK customer base.”

Innes in turn described LendingCrowd as having “built a reputation as one of the best and most trusted P2P lenders in the UK market and I’m excited to join Stuart and the team at this pivotal time in the company’s growth as we look to significantly increase the loan book over the next year look to win even more business in Scotland and across the UK”.

The lender was set up by Lunn and serial entrepreneur Bill Dobbie, who holds the role of chairman and brings experience from businesses including Glasgow-based web hosting and cloud computing group Iomart, online dating site Cupid and IT and managed services firm CoreTx.

LendingCrowd also has more than 3,000 investors and said that in the last 12 months it has made “significant strides” in its growth. Milestones include gaining full FCA authorisation in November, launching its LendingCrowd Growth ISA earlier this year and partnering with Scottish Enterprise to lend to Scottish SMEs. The latter agreed investment of £2.75m through the Scottish Investment Bank on LendingCrowd’s platform in a bid to stimulate loans of up to £35m for SMEs based in Scotland.

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LendingCrowd also completed its first external equity raise totalling £1.5m coordinated by angel syndicate Equity Gap. It has also worked with Edinburgh-based craft gin firm Pickering’s, and in 2015 helped food delivery specialist Diet Chef complete “one of the biggest ever” peer-to-business deals seen in the UK in a £1.5m debt finance transaction.