JustUs, a peer-to-peer lending platform has launched today with an accompanying equity crowdfunding raise on Crowdcube. The platform intends to raise a total of £5.3m, £1m is the target for the crowdfunding portion.
JustUs is the evolution of Birkett’s established and FCA-regulated peer-to-peer lending platform eMoneyUnion.com and is the brainchild of financial services entrepreneur Lee Birkett. He is now backed by veteran ad agency boss Sir John Hegarty and start-up specialist Thomas Teichman.
JustUs plans to become the provider of the broadest range of Peer-to-Peer consumer loans and secured lending, it says it will offer best in class rates, simplicity, and inclusivity to an extensive range of borrowers.
The crowd and institutional fundraising will value the business at £26m. The bulk of the proceeds will be used for a high-profile advertising campaign to drive public awareness and membership of the community.
Joining the business is Thomas Adalbert, who has left a role as a global principal in fintech at Google to invest in and join JustUs as chief marketing officer.
Sir John Hegarty, a founding partner of Saatchi & Saatchi, has also invested in the business and leads the brand team for JustUs, which will devise a multi-million-pound advertising campaign for the platform in the coming months.
Birkett has 26 years experience in the financial services sector and is a passionate advocate for alternative finance. He said: “JustUs is for everyone, it’s an exciting evolution for the sector, which I believe can only become more relevant as consumers see that despite the worst financial crisis in a generation, banks, and bankers’ behaviour hasn’t really changed."
“I believe we are completely disrupting the status quo with a range of accessible products for borrowers from a comprehensive range of backgrounds and credit history."
“JustUs is democratic, by the people, for the people. Savers are uninspired by their humdrum returns. We can give them access to the higher returns by bringing them together with a broad mix of consumer, guarantor, and secured loans."
Thomas Adalbert, the new chief marketing officer said: "Going back to the very beginning of the lending marketplace, people would come together and help others out by lending money to them. I think we lost our way and the whole banking fraternity just got too greedy."
“This, on the other hand, is going back to the roots, allowing you to help out other people through lending money. The alternative finance sector is evolving and growing and that is why I have given up my job with Google to invest my time and my money into JustUs,” he added.
JustUs is expecting to deliver a loan book of around £254m by its fourth year, during beta testing of the site it attracted £130m of borrower applications from a marketing spend of £150,000.
Around £2m has already been invested in the platform since its inception.
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.