Fintech LendingCrowd raises millions for SME growth

Edinburgh-based fintech LendingCrowd has struck a deal raising almost £19 million to fund small business growth across the UK.

LendingCrowd chief executive Stuart Lunn (left) and chairman Sir Sandy Crombie. Picture: Stewart Attwood
LendingCrowd chief executive Stuart Lunn (left) and chairman Sir Sandy Crombie. Picture: Stewart Attwood

The peer-to-peer lender has brought together the government-backed Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise – and Dutch entrepreneurial bank NIBC to form a "unique" funding deal.

SIB and NIBC are to lend a combined £18.8m across LendingCrowd's platform, which will be made available as business loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Scotland and the rest of Britain.

It marks the second lending deal that the platform has agreed with SIB, following a £2.8m commitment the bank made in October 2016.

The Edinburgh fintech will distribute the finance via its online platform, which can provide SMEs with a decision in the same day and access to the funds within ten days.

It has facilitated more than 660 loans, exceeding a combined £57m, to UK SMEs since it was established in 2014.

Companies to have benefitted from the platform’s loans include Pickering’s Gin producer Summerhall Distillery, Dundee-based mobile game developer Tag Games, and capital rental agency Umega Lettings.

This new investment comes after LendingCrowd was selected earlier this year by government-backed Tech Nation for its Upscale 4.0 programme for high-growth UK tech companies.

Stuart Lunn, founder and chief executive of LendingCrowd, said: “We’ve had a record number of requests for funding from British businesses so far this year, showing that the appetite for alternative sources of finance to fund their ambitions only seems to be getting stronger.

“There are many small businesses crying out for finance and the funding from SIB and NIBC, coupled with our strong retail investor base, will allow LendingCrowd to help even more companies fulfil their ambitions.”

SIB director Kerry Sharp said: “We are delighted to provide the loan funding to LendingCrowd, Scotland’s marketplace lender, in order to support the substantial funding from NIBC, thereby continuing our efforts to stimulate the Scottish market for alternative and innovative forms of finance.

"Having worked with LendingCrowd since 2016, we are delighted they have successfully grown their alternative funding operations to attract significant international funding, increasing and broadening the supply of capital to our SMEs – a great example of SIB’s wide and varied role in enhancing Scotland’s access to finance.”