By Ryan Weeks on Monday 20 March 2017
Zopa co-founder and non-executive chairman Giles Andrews takes identical role at invoice finance marketplace, will help the firm scale.
Giles Andrews, former chief executive officer of the world’s original peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa, now chairs the boards of two of UK’s four largest marketplace lenders. Andrews has just been announced as non-executive chairman of MarketInvoice, which recently passed the £1bn mark in invoices funded to date.
Zopa became the world’s first peer-to-peer lending company when it launched in 2005, with Andrews as a co-founder. He served as chief executive until 2015, when he gave way to current boss Jaidev Janardana. He earned a CBE for services to financial innovation in 2016.
Both Zopa and MarketInvoice – which arrived on the scene in 2011 – were founding members of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, the industry’s trade body.
MarketInvoice is a selective invoice finance platform, which allows businesses to draw down funding against their unpaid invoices and contracts at a discounted rate. These invoices are funded online, by a range of high net worth and institutional investors. The company recently unveiled MarketInvoice Pro, a longer term product which lets borrowers access open funding lines, secured against their outstanding invoices. The company has set its sites on doubling its lending in 2017.
Andrews has been brought in to oversee this growth phase, acting as a bridge between management and the board. Anil Stocker, CEO of MarketInvoice, said that Andrews would help with strategy, new product launches, strategic partnerships and hires and regulatory aspects.
Andrews also holds the voluntary role of chairman at Bethnal Green Ventures, an incubator for firms wishing to use technology to effect social or environmental change.
At a glance, MarketInvoice seems a bit of a strange fit for Andrews, given that it caters to a different set of customers on both sides of the marketplace than does Zopa, where he has amassed the bulk of his experience. But Andrews told AltFi that MarketInvoice was - for this very reason - the obvious choice, because it “creates no conflict”, while having enough similarities that he can still add value.
Zopa is wholly focused on lending to consumers, and a significant amount of its lending capital comes from retail investors. The firm made waves in November of last year by announcing that it would be pursuing a banking licence. Andrews told us that the plan is to create a bank that is “radically simple”.
On his new role with MarketInvoice, Andrews said that he has "long been fascinated by their game-changing and innovative attitude".