Eiffel launches €100m Eurozone fund, Aviva invests €50m

By Ryan Weeks on Tuesday 7 June 2016

Alternative Lending

Eiffel eCapital has launched a new investment fund with the backing of several major insurance companies.

The new €100m fund will go by the name “Pretons Ensemble”. Aviva will be investing €50m, with AG2R contributing a further €20m. Representatives of Eiffel tell us that they’re in discussion with other insurance companies in order to source the remaining €30m. The fund’s mandate will be to target Eurozone platforms, with a particular focus on those based within France.

Pretons Ensemble will invest exclusively in what it terms “crowdlending” platforms. A minimum of 90% of the €100m will be invested in SME loans, with the remainder presumably held back for consumer or perhaps property loans. Based on these criteria, potential beneficiaries of the €100m could include such platforms as Unilend and Lendix, which have lent €19m and €23m to French small businesses respectively – and perhaps the invoice financing platform Finexkap. Should consumer loans fall within the remit, then Pret d’Union – which has originated nearly €340m in loans to date – stands out as the obvious choice.

Philippe Taffin, Head of Aviva France Investments, offered comment:

“The launch of the first major fund in the field of crowdlending in France is a strong positive sign of Aviva’s support of this industry which, although mature in the US and Britain, is still in its infancy in France. It is also an important step in our development within the field of financial innovation.”

Eiffel eCapital was launched in late February this year as a joint venture between the family office Shepherd Capital and Eiffel Investment Group – a French fund manager with €500m of AUM. We learnt then that the tie-up was designed to accelerate Shepherd's activities in the online lending space. Eiffel eCapital boss Etienne Boillot says that the Pretons Ensemble fund is principally designed to support small businesses in France and across Europe, and describes it as “semi-permanent capital”, since it has an 8 to 10 year lifespan. The new fund sets out to deliver an attractive, uncorrelated performance, with low volatility, resulting in a quarterly distribution. We’ll be following up with Eiffel eCapital boss Etienne Boillot soon. 

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