It was only a few weeks ago that GLIF announced investments into Finexkap, LiftForward and The Credit Junction. GLIF’s current warchest of platforms is highly diversified and covers most corners of the alternative finance space. The SME finance giant holds investments in peer-to-business lenders (Raiseworks), peer-to-peer property lenders (Proplend), equity crowdfunders (CrowdShed), invoice financiers (Platform Black), white labellers (LiftForward) and trade finance providers (TradeRiver Finance) – as well as many more platforms that are less straightforward to categorize.
And now GLIF has acquired an interest in one of the most recently developed sub-sectors of the online lending space – peer-to-peer bonds. The small business finance specialist has invested £1m into UK Bond Network – in return for a 16.6% equity stake in the business. UKBN allows SMEs to raise money through debt-based structures – either bonds or loans – of amounts ranging from £500k to £4m. Up to now, the retail bond market hasn’t really been a viable option for businesses looking to raise less than £20m. UKBN is changing that.
Geoff Miller, Chief Executive of GLIF, commented on the investment:
"UK Bond Network has achieved impressive growth and is an excellent strategic fit within our portfolio of platforms that provide finance to growing businesses. I am sure that, given UK Bond Network's talented management team and the demand for the flexible finance that it provides businesses, it will be a great partner for GLI Finance."
Chris Maule, Founder and Chief Executive of UK Bond Network, also weighed in:
"We are delighted to be welcoming GLI Finance as a significant investor and partner in our business as we reach a stage in our development when we are looking to accelerate our growth. This represents an important strategic step for UK Bond Network and we believe that the experience and expertise of the GLI Finance management team will provide significant value to our business. Our offering is complimentary to GLI Finance's existing portfolio of companies, and as such we expect there to be excellent synergies between the platforms."
As touched on above, GLIF has interests in a wide variety of niches within the SME funding space. The alternative finance industry is evolving with startling speed. It’s a tall order for any institution to keep up in terms of its strategic investments, but GLIF is pulling it off. If there’s one missing piece to the GLIF puzzle – it’s revenue-based finance. Companies like Liberis and Fleximize are making a real impact in the SME funding sector and they may well be on the GLIF radar before long.