One of the UK’s foremost peer-to-business lenders is poised to kick off operations in Australia.
According to the Liberum AltFi Index, ThinCats is the UK’s fourth largest peer-to-business platform – having facilitated roughly £85 million of lending to the nation’s SMEs. Building on its UK successes, the platform announced back in June that it would be rolling its services out to both Poland and Australia. ThinCats is due to begin funding its first batch of Australian deals this week – thus becoming the first functional peer-to-business lending outfit in the country.
The structure of the original ThinCats platform has been replicated in Oz. That means employing a locally sourced network of “sponsors” to assess every borrower proposition and to design tailored funding packages for each successful loan applicant. These sponsors will also play a role in originating local loan opportunities. ThinCats Australia signed up its first wholesale and sophisticated investors to the site this week – and is now ready get things moving.
“The key focus of our business is the 2.1 million SMEs in Australia who borrow $73 billion from the banks each year.”
“There is $10 billion of opportunity, where SMEs that are growing and established but cannot get more money from the banking system because they don’t have assets to provide.”
ThinCats will not stand alone in Australia’s peer-to-peer lending scene. Consumer lender RateSetter has also ventured down under, joining the Sydney-born SocietyOne – which again is consumer focused. ThinCats began the year as the UK’s second largest peer-to-business lender, but has since been outstripped in scale by rapid risers Wellesley & Co. and LendInvest. However, as Sunil points out, the Australian market represents a potentially huge opportunity.
The platform has proven highly inventive over the past few months in terms of carving out fresh methods of stimulating lending activity. ThinCats is getting a software makeover from White Label Crowdfunding, is allowing its lenders to invest via their SIPPs, and now stands upon the edge of becoming the first P2B platform within the vastly underserved SME market that is Australia.
AltFi is returning to Amsterdam for its second annual Summit in the city. The inaugural event last year was a roaring success, with key figures from across Continental Europe's alternative finance and digital banking sectors highlighted. These included Jeroen Broekema, managing director of Funding Circle Netherlands, and Mieke van Engelen, head of innovative partnerships at ABN AMRO's standalone lending platform, New10.