Startups 100-ranked Funding Circle preparing to IPO later this year

The government-backed peer-to-peer lending platform is reportedly preparing to go public in Autumn 2018 - with a likely value of £1bn

Funding Circle, the Startups 100-ranked fintech start-up and the UK's largest peer-to-peer lending platform, is preparing to IPO later this year.

According to Sky News, the unicorn (any start-up valued at over $1bn) is preparing to go public in Autumn 2018 and is currently looking for advisors to help complete the flotation – with the IPO likely to carry a value of around £1.4bn.

Co-founded way back in August 2010 by Samir Desai, James Meekings and Andrew Mullinger, Funding Circle initially launched to provide cash-strapped entrepreneurs, routinely turned down by financial institutions, access to finance to grow and scale their business – at a time when more alternative forms of finance were just beginning to become more mainstream.

Connecting individual investors, and institutions such as the government, with small businesses in search of loans ranging from £5,000 to £1m, it now operates across the UK, Germany, America, Spain, and the Netherlands – and has now facilitated loans totalling more than £3bn globally to over 32,000 businesses since its launch seven years ago.

The news comes almost exactly one year after the fintech start-up had announced it had secured an additional £40m from the UK government to ensure that the Brexit vote doesn’t impact upon small business credit. The UK government first backed Funding Circle back in February 2014, pumping in £40m via the British business bank.

Impressively, just one week on from its January 2017 government raise, it bagged a further £80m in a funding round led by Accel.

Other share holders in Funding Circle include funds such as Baillie Gifford, DST Global, Index Ventures, Rocket Internet, and Temasek Holdings, the Singaporean state-owned vehicle.

Back in October 2015, the London-based business also acquired German competitor Zencap to aid its European expansion.

In more recent times, co-founder and CEO Desai stepped down as a director of the UK arm of the business in December 2017 – with Sean Glithero joining the firm as CFO in July 2017.