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French marketplace lender lands €18.5m from European Investment Bank

Macron minister voices support for fintech as Lendix clinches major small business lending deal.

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Lendix, a leading marketplace lender for small businesses in France, has agreed to an €18.5m funding deal with the European Investment Bank (EIB), via the European Investment Fund (EIF).

The announcement was made yesterday at an event at Lendix’s offices in Paris. France’s minister for the economy and finance, Bruno Le Maire, was on hand to voice his support for the initiative, and for fintech in general.

Le Maire called fintech “an exceptional asset for the French economy”, adding that France has been able to take a leadership role within the European fintech sector.

On the EIB investment, he said: "Here, you have an example of a project which is close to European people's interests... We need to stop saying that Europe is not engaged with the preoccupations of real people and that it doesn't bring solutions… We need to stop claiming that finance is our enemy."

Lendix has lent a little shy of €100m to date, and is active across France, Spain and Italy. The company currently boasts a 42 per cent 90-day market share among European business lending platforms, according to AltFi Data.

The company says that the €18.5m EIB deal brings its funding capacity to €90m. It says the deal will deliver the “dual advantage” of facilitating effective crowdlending for both retail investors and small business owners. The EIB money will supplement the investments of individual investors on the Lendix platform, and the firm hopes that the support of the EU will also attract new investors, in time allowing it to expand its product set.

“We are thrilled to welcome the EIB Group on board as a lender to Lendix,” said Olivier Goy, CEO and founder of Lendix. “In addition to retail and institutional investors, we are now seeing top-ranking public institutions join us in support of the real economy.”

Lendix’s institutional investment partners currently include Bpifrance, CNP Assurances, Groupama, Zencap AM (OFI Group), Matmut and the Pretons Ensemble fund, which is managed by Eiffel Investment Group.

On the surface, Lendix looks to have taken over EIB distribution duties from fellow small business lending platform Funding Circle. After bagging an initial investment of £100m from the EIB in the summer of last year, Funding Circle then became a victim of Brexit, and was forced to admit that its planned multi-billion pound funding programme with the EIB was unlikely to continue.

Lendix is at present a fraction of the size of its UK counterpart, but the backing of the EIB is not to be underestimated as a sign of things to come. The company is backed by €27.05m in venture capital, according to crunchbase. It is also the only the European platform to feature in the analytics series of market data firm AltFi Data.

“This is a new and very promising source of financing for SMEs and project promoters in Europe,” said EIB vice-president Ambroise Fayolle. “One of the key priorities of the EIB Group is to support investors and businesses in their development projects as they promote growth and employment. We are delighted to be the EU partner of a leading Fintech such as the Lendix platform and to help develop crowdlending. I hope that lots of investors join us to raise new finance in support of businesses."

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