UK Bond Network (UKBN) has raised an extra £500k, taking its valuation to £15m.
UKBN last raised equity money in October of 2014; a £1m investment from GLI Finance in exchange for 13.99% of the business. At the time, the company was worth around £7m. Ergo, this latest injection of funding has more than doubled UKBN’s valuation, in well under a year.
Two of UKBN’s key shareholders – GLI Finance and Scott Fletcher – have increased the size of their positions in the company. Both exercised warrants in order to do so. GLI now holds 15.84% of the company, while Mr. Fletcher holds 7.27%.
The £500k round also saw Michael Baptista, Founder CEO of Assembly Capital Advisors, enter into the UKBN capital structure. Assembly will soon launch as a specialist VC, and Mr. Baptista will roll up the UKBN investment into the new fund upon launch.
Chris Maule, Founder and Chief Executive of UKBN, weighed in on the fundraise:
“Although we were not seeking further funding, the strategic value offered by bringing Michael in to our business was clear. We are delighted to welcome him as a shareholder; he brings a wealth of experience, and a fantastic network of contacts. We have now reached a stage in our development where we are looking to accelerate our growth, and the investment we have received from Michael, as well as Scott and GLI, will not only enable us to expand our lending capabilities, but will allow us to strengthen our in-house legal expertise, further increasing the speed with which we can deliver funds to our borrowers.”
The UK’s only online marketplace for bonds has lent a cumulative total of around £4.4m to date. Valuations in the alternative finance space are routinely gaudy, but they do tend to be at least loosely tied to cumulative lending figures. That doesn’t appear to have held true for UK Bond Network. The logic must surely hinge on the growth potential for a platform that is, to be fair, unique in its offering. Michael Baptista gave his take on the platform:
“I am impressed not only with UK Bond Network’s business model, but also the focus and integrity of the team. UK Bond Network delivers financing to SMEs, who are beginning to turn away from the Banks; UK Bond Network is equally focused on delivering outperformance to investors. The care taken with underwriting suggests sustainability, and this new funding should help deliver a strong H2 in 2015.”
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.