Canada’s leading marketplace lending platform has just closed on a $10.2m funding round.
Grouplend launched into the then-dormant Canadian alternative finance space about 10 months ago. The platform funnels accredited investor money (sourced from both high net worth individuals and institutions) into high quality Canadian consumer credit. Loans range from $1,000 to $30,000 in size. Rather than requiring lenders to actively select loan opportunities, funds are automatically distributed to borrowers by the platform. Retail investors cannot play in the marketplace, owing to Canadian regulation.
The Grouplend platform has now raised $10.2m in equity money for the purpose of rapid expansion and entrenchment within the Canadian market. The investment round has been led by Markus Frind, CEO of PlentyofFish. Lance Tracey, Founder of Peer 1 Hosting and Sutton Real Estate Group, also participated. These entrepreneurs-turned-Angel Investors are a part of a newly formed collective of Canadian millionaires has been dubbed the “Maple Syrup Mafia”. Frind recently sold PlentyofFish to Match.com’s parent company for a whopping $575m. Now he’s channeling some of that money back into Canada’s startup scene, and the Grouplend platform has clearly captured his attention:
"Grouplend is one of the most promising and innovative startups in Canada,” said Frind. “Its technology-anchored approach has the potential to revolutionize banking in this country."
CEO Kevin Sandhu spoke to AltFi about the platform's technology in April, emphasizing the fact that it “gets smarter” with every loan application that the platform receives. Grouplend now claims to have processed hundreds of millions of dollars in loan applications and to have serviced thousands of borrowers. The platform’s tech-led approach to lending requires consistent transactional flows in order to function effectively, and Grouplend appears to be getting that all-important volume.
The $10.2m will reportedly be use to ramp up hiring. Plans are in place to double the Grouplend team by the close of 2015. The focus here will remain fixed upon technology and big data, with the platform targeting software engineers and data scientists first and foremost.
While the Canadian online lending sector has been slow to awaken, CEO Kevin Sandhu sees immense opportunity for any platform that can carve out a space within the country’s financial services ecosystem. The Grouplend boss offered up his thoughts on the platform’s journey so far:
"I'm incredibly excited about what we have accomplished over the past year and even more excited about what is ahead of us. We set big goals when we launched and I am happy to say we are not only achieving those goals, but setting even bigger ones as we continue to grow."
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.