Funding Circle launches across Europe

Funding Circle, the world’s leading online marketplace for business loans, today announced it has joined forces with Zencap, to create the first truly global marketplace lending platform. The deal sees Funding Circle expand into Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, alongside its existing operations in the UK and US.

The announcement follows Funding Circle’s successful growth over the last five years, helping 12,000 businesses access more than $1.5 billion of finance in the UK and US. The deal will combine Zencap’s established home-grown team with local knowledge and a strong track record across Europe, with Funding Circle’s proven experience and industry leading technology.

The market opportunity across continental Europe is larger than both the UK and US markets combined, with more than €1 trillion of outstanding loans for small businesses. As continental Europe’s leading marketplace for business loans, Zencap has experienced strong growth over the past 18 months with more than €35 million lent to approximately 520 businesses. 

As part of today’s deal Zencap will now operate as Funding Circle across Europe.

Launched by Rocket Internet in March 2014 the business will be led by Matthias Knecht and Christian Grobe, founders of Zencap.

Commenting on today’s news, Samir Desai CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle said: “Our vision is to help millions of businesses across the world sidestep the outdated and inefficient banking system and borrow from investors. Today’s news is the next exciting stage of this journey. We have been hugely impressed with what the Zencap team have achieved so far. By coming together we combine Funding Circle’s leading position in the UK and US with Zencap’s deep understanding of local markets to create the first truly global marketplace lending platform.” 

Co-founder and MD of Zencap, Christian Grobe, who will become Co-founder and COO of Funding Circle in Continental Europe said: “Our companies share one common mission: to create a better financial world. Today’s announcement sees us become a truly global player under the strong Funding Circle brand, allowing us to leverage synergies, professionalize processes and grow even faster. This is exciting news for millions of business owners in Europe and thousands of investors who will substantially benefit from these advantages in the short and medium term.”

Following significant growth over the last 18 months, Zencap recently announced a €230 million agreement with Victory Park Capital, who will lend through its marketplace. As an existing investor across Funding Circle’s UK and US businesses, today’s news will see Victory Park Capital become the first global investment vehicle for marketplace lending. 

The lending revolution

Launched in 2010, Funding Circle is sparking a global revolution in the way small businesses access finance, disrupting the traditional model of banking. By bringing together industry leading risk management policies and cutting edge technology, Funding Circle’s proven model strips out the need for inefficient bank processes, enabling businesses to access finance in a matter of days from investors. 

Since launching Funding Circle has raised $273 million in equity funding from investors such as DST, BlackRock, Temasek and Index Ventures. In April, Funding Circle announced its Series E round for $150 million, one of Europe’s largest fundraising rounds this year, and announced that Jerome Le Luel, previously head of credit analytics at Barclays will join the team as global Chief Risk Officer.