28. Funding Circle

The fast-growing peer-to-peer lender, enabling entrepreneurs to bypass the banks

Founders: Samir Desai, James Meekings and Andrew Mullinger 
Founded: August 2010
Website: www.fundingcircle.com

In a market “crying out” for disruption, Funding Circle offers cash-strapped entrepreneurs an alternative to the banks. The marketplace enables viable small companies to raise loans from private individuals, through a faster, more efficient service. Meanwhile, with interest rates at an all-time-low, it offers investors better returns than a savings account. The 29-year-old co-founders are clearly onto something. Funding Circle has now facilitated more than £30m worth of loans to over 700 small firms. Expect that figure to double by the end of 2012. The business takes 2-5% for its trouble, with investors paying a 1% annual fee, and a bidding model means the business gets the lowest interest rate possible.

Having raised £13.2m from top venture capital firms Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures, as well as prolific investor Jon Moulton, Betfair founder Ed Wray and Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone, this growth shows no signs of abating.