The most important stories and data from the world of marketplace lending and alternative finance.
In the US Sofi has added another pile of cash to its coffers, scooping up $500m in a round led by tech investor Silver Lake. This makes the total amount raised by Sofi edging to near $2bn. In the UK, the overall market for alternative finance has just ticked over £10bn - including crowdfunding – in terms of the amount of money lent and invested into the equity of companies via crowdfunding platforms.
Investors also seem to be embracing the new tax wrapper, aimed at online lenders, called the Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account despite a series of delays in recent months. Other big news for UK alternative lenders last week as the historic NatWest bank, owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, which in turn is largely owned by the UK-taxpayer is joining the likes of Funding Circle and (sort of) entering the world of alternative finance with its new online lending platform Esme.
UK P2P business lending Growth is still in rude health as proven by AltFi Data’s number crunching, in the same week that Funding Circle tops £2bn mark. In the funds world, P2P GI has continued its share buyback strategy while the SME Loan Fund may be about to see an investment management change by New York-based SQN.
Good news for Landbay as it launches an Innovative Finance ISA and for Ratesetter as it announces a partnership with AI chatbot Plum. Not so good for US-based OnDeck, which despite a surge in Q4 lending is looking to cut jobs amid rising losses.
Also, not forgetting Altfi’s Ryan Weeks delving into the ‘skin in the game’ vs transparency debate - a must read.
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.