Funding Circle raises $37m and launches in US

Accel Partners investment and Endurance Lending Network merger major step forward for UK crowdfunding loans platform

Leading peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform Funding Circle has announced it is launching in the USA, backed by a $37m investment from private equity firm Accel Partners.

Founded in 2010 by 2012 Young Guns Samir Desai, James Meekings and Andrew Mullinger, Funding Circle was one of the first peer-to-peer loan sites in the UK, allowing private individuals to lend directly to businesses.

Listed in the 2012 Startups 100, the London-based firm has grown to become the predominant peer-to-peer lender in the UK sector, and expects to process £135m of loans through its site this year – almost triple the amount raised across 2012.

The company facilitated its US launch through a merger with San Francisco-based business lender Endurance Lending Network, which will now trade under the Funding Circle US name.

US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations will require Funding Circle to register its offerings as securities, meaning it will only be able to initially target financial institutions to source loans, rather than private individuals.

Accel Partners’ $37m investment will fund the merger and US move, as well as backing further expansion of Funding Circle’s UK operations, including introducing a range of new borrowing options for business such as commercial property and asset finance.

Funding Circle’s US operation will trade as a separate venture from its UK business, and the company said existing investors’ lending experience would remain unchanged.

Samir Desai, co-founder of Funding Circle, said: “Financial services is going through the most significant disruption for a generation.

“The way businesses borrow is being transformed by eliminating the obstacles of an outdated banking system and putting owners directly in touch with investors looking to earn attractive returns.

“Today is a landmark step to achieving our vision of helping many millions of companies around the world access finance in a faster and easier way than through their bank.”

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