Closing down sale for failed peer-to-peer lender

By Ryan Weeks on Monday 6 March 2017

Alternative LendingSavings and Investment

Equity crowdfunded Trillion Fund sells off core assets after pivot to software-as-a-service vendor fails.

Trillion Fund Limited, formerly a peer-to-peer investment platform for renewable energy projects, has declared itself “open for offers” on its core assets. These include: a white-label enabled peer-to-peer/crowdfunding technology platform, an investor and member base, and interim permission from the FCA for operating a peer-to-peer lending platform and debt administration.

The Trillion Fund platform was forced to pivot towards a software-as-a-service (Saas) model in 2015 after originations dried up. It pinned the blame for this on the government’s decision to withdraw subsidies from the renewable energy sector earlier on that same year. 

But the “Your Brand Crowdfunding” SaaS strategy, launched in 2016, once again failed to secure enough deal flow to scale. The firm has therefore moved to sell off what assets remain.

Buyers will acquire a renewable energy newsletter with over 7,000 subscribers. Chief executive Theresa Burton (pictured above) sees this as a “sweetener”, but says that biggest challenge for any peer-to-peer lender is dealflow.  

She said that the ideal Trillion Fund buyer is an existing firm with an established network of borrowers. Examples include an established balance sheet lender or professional services firm.

“This purchase opportunity will be of interest to firms who have been considering entering the peer-to-peer lending sector, enabling them to move extremely quickly in getting up and running and reducing time to market significantly,” said Theresa Burton, chief executive of Trillion Fund. Burton took over from former UK Crowdfunding Association chair Julia Groves at the time of the SaaS pivot.

Trillion Fund launched in the summer of 2014, and raised over £600k from over 200 investors on equity crowdfunding site Seedrs later that same year, at a pre-money valuation of £4.5m. Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is the company’s largest shareholder, with 48 per cent. Burton owns 9 per cent. All shareholders, including Seedrs investors, invested on a pari passu basis, meaning that the proceeds of any sale would be shared out proportionately.

Nevertheless, it is to be expected that Seedrs investors and other Trillion Fund shareholders lose a significant amount of money.

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