Australasia’s foremost marketplace lender has now secured a $200m lending commitment from P2PGI – the prolific investment trust which has to date raised £870m in share capital. Harmoney had already been working with P2PGI, but today’s news represents an intensification of the programme. P2PGI is also increasing the size of its equity stake in the Harmoney platform. The UK-based fund holds shares in some of the world’s top consumer lending platforms, including RateSetter,Zopa,Lending Works, Direct Money, Prosper and Upstart.
I caught up with Neil Roberts and Brad Hagstrom (joint CEOs), and Duncan Gross (Head of Institutional Funding) to discuss the news. They told me that the $200m commitment spans a three year term, and that the money will be put towards funding loans (both whole and fractional) within both the New Zealand and Australian markets. Harmoney doesn’t yet operate in Australia, but plans to launch activities across the Tasman Sea by the end of the year.
Harmoney has worked closely with institutional investors since launching in September 2014. Blue Elephant Capital, Heartland Bank and P2PGI have channeled money into consumer loans via the platform. Harmoney’s commitment to institutional capital is the primary reason for the platform’s rapid rate of growth. Harmoney hit $100m in cumulative lending just a few short weeks ago. But Mr. Roberts and co. also see institutional money as fundamentally important for building the platform’s retail investor base.
Harmoney has put over $20m of consumer funds to work over the past 12 months. Without the stamp of approval – and indeed the heightened profile – that is afforded to the platform by the activity of its institutional clients, Roberts believes that adoption among retail investors would have been significantly slower. Harmoney's very first loan was funded by Blue Elephant Capital. Funding commitments of the kind announced today have always been etched into the platform’s blueprint for success.
Mr. Roberts commented on the P2PGI raise:
"We are delighted to have P2PGI as a key shareholder. P2PGI has been an institutional investor on the Harmoney marketplace since early 2015.
"Their equity investment in the company aligns the two parties even closer. P2PGI is one of the world's largest dedicated P2P marketplace funds and we join an exclusive list of the world's leading platforms that P2PGI has selected to invest in."