The round was led by Index Ventures, with existing investors Accel Partners, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital participating. Funding Circle states that the massive cash injection will be used to fuel the platform’s continued worldwide growth, to expand its range of product offerings and to explore new international markets. The platform has now raised a grand total of $123 million in equity funding.
Neil Rimer, Partner and Co-Founder of Index Ventures, commented:
“We view Funding Circle as a category-defining company that pioneered a marketplace for business loans. Its founders exemplify the new class of fintech entrepreneurs who are combining technology and novel business models to offer much better value than banks and other incumbents have been offering their customers. Funding Circle's exciting partnership with Santander reflects the degree to which this proposition has entered the mainstream and is recognized by forward-thinking banks as a massive opportunity.”
In addition to the fundraise, Funding Circle will now welcome Robert K. Steel, CEO of Perella Weinberg Partners, to the board. Mr. Steel’s résumé carries roughly 40 years of public and private sector experience. He has served as former Under Secretary for Domestic Finance of the United States Treasury, CEO of Wachovia, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs and Deputy Mayor of New York.
The newly appointed Non-Executive Director of Funding Circle said:
“I’m delighted to be joining the Funding Circle board. I have been impressed with the growth of the company over the past four years, and believe there is a unique opportunity for marketplace lending to revolutionize access to finance for small businesses across the globe. I hope my experience as CEO of one of America’s largest banks, and my time in the US Treasury department, will support the company as we enter the next stage of our growth.”
Samir Desai, CEO and Co-Founder of the platform, also weighed in:
“We are thrilled to welcome Bob to our board. His expertise and experience is unparalleled. This latest round of funding will fuel our global ambitions and power the next phase of our evolution - catering for the increase in demand we expect to see over the next 12 months. Our vision is to build a better financial world, helping more small businesses access finance and offering attractive returns to investors.”
Since kicking off operations in the US at the close of 2013, Funding Circle has increased its lending to American businesses by 500% and is expected to cross the $100m market by the end of the year. The Small Business Administration estimates a $100 billion small business funding shortage in the US economy – a void that Funding Circle is gradually helping to fill.
The platform’s growth on the UK front has been every bit as impressive. According to AltFi Data, Funding Circle's UK platform has seen a 252% growth in volume over the last 12 months. If Funding Circle's volume growth rate continues along the same trajectory, AltFi Data predicts that by the end of 2014, the platform will have originated £435million of loans since launch.