Matthias Knecht has quit Funding Circle Continental Europe, after what the German press is calling a “dispute” with the UK mothership.
Knecht has headed up Funding Circle’s operation in continental Europe since Zencap – the platform which he co-founded – was acquired by Funding Circle in October 2015. His name has recently been slashed from Funding Circle’s global leadership team webpage. Christian Grobe, co-founder of Zencap alongside Knecht, and current co-founder and chief operating officer for Funding Circle CE, is still listed on the page. Panni Morshedi has become managing director for continental Europe.
A Funding Circle representative tells AltFi that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union was not a factor in the split. Funding Circle had been a supporter of a Remain campaign, but had a well-thought out “contingency plan” in place in case of a Leave vote, according to a recent statement from UK MD James Meekings. The platform tells AltFi that the Brexit vote has “no impact” on its overall growth plans, and will not affect plans to grow out the European team or originations on the continent.
An article in Gründerszene would suggest that a conflict had arisen between Knecht and Funding Circle CEO Samir Desai over the allocation of resources. Since the acquisition of Zencap, the former Rocket Internet-backed platform has been going through a period of integration, involving a general restructuring of the business. Changes have been made to both the model and the management team. Funding Circle tells AltFi that Knecht's departure was simply one part of the restructuring process.
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.