NepFin bills itself as the first online commercial lending platform for mid-sized US businesses.
Forming a new business lending platform with an altered area of focus seems to be the done thing for former Funding Circle execs – whether in the US or in Europe.
Albert Periu (pictured) and Thomas Meister, formerly global co-head of capital markets and senior counsel for capital markets and finance at Funding Circle, have together launched a new fintech venture by the name of Neptune Financial (NepFin).
The new US platform will focus on lending to businesses, but unlike Funding Circle, those businesses will be “mid-sized”, with between $10m and $100m in revenue. NepFin’s loans will range from $5m to $60m in size.
In tandem to its launch, NepFin has announced a $10m series A round, led by Sands Capital Ventures, with participation from its existing investors. The business has now raised a total of $13m in venture funding.
“They have developed an innovative way to compete in a lending space that has not changed for decades,” said Sands Capital Ventures partner Michael Raab, who will join NepFin’s board. “For hundreds of thousands of mid-sized businesses looking to borrow, there aren’t many options that provide a smooth, transparent experience. NepFin is now offering something newer, faster and less expensive – and we are very optimistic about its strategy.”
NepFin offers a number of online tools to its customers, including an online dashboard for businesses and intermediaries for sharing, managing and tracking documentation. The firm claims to be leveraging machine learning and real-time monitoring to lower costs (who isn’t?), and sees these techniques as the key to playing in market segments that have proven uneconomical for traditional lenders.
In December, Matthias Knecht scooped a €10m series A investment for his start-up business lending platform Billie – bringing its total funding raised to an eerily familiar €13.5m. Knecht and his business partner Christian Grobe together formed the former management team of Zencap, which Funding Circle acquired en route to expanding into Continental Europe in 2015. Like NepFin, Billie targets a different slice of the market to Funding Circle, focusing at present of invoice financing solutions with a heavy reliance on automation.
Periu, NepFin’s CEO, described his new platform’s target market as a significant driver of the American economy that “hasn’t seen many technological advances in a long time”.
“With commercial banks leaving the market, mid-sized American companies see increasingly few options to fund their growth, and the options currently available to them lack efficiency and transparency into the process,” he explained. “We are stepping into this massive opportunity.”
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.