Lisa Jacobs named as Funding Circle’s new CEO as operating profit hits £35m

By Oliver Smith on Thursday 9 September 2021

Alternative Lending

Samir Desai will step into a new role as a non-executive director on 1 January 2022.

Lisa Jacobs named as Funding Circle’s new CEO as operating profit hits £35m
Image source: Lisa Jacobs/Funding Circle.

After what will be 12 years at the helm of Funding Circle, the business he co-founded in 2010 with co-founders James Meekings and Andrew Mullinger, CEO Samir Desai will step down from the role at the end of the year.

In his place, Lisa Jacobs, currently managing director of Funding Circle UK and a well-known figure across the alternative lending sector, will take over as CEO on 1 January 2022.

The announcement was made alongside Funding Circle’s first-half results for 2021 this morning, which saw the group’s operating profit grow to £35.5m after first turning a profit at the end of 2020.

Funding Circle is an exceptional business,” said Jacobs. “Since launching, we have helped more than 120,000 businesses access £13bn. This has a huge societal impact—in 2020 alone the lending through our platform contributed more than £10bn to GDP and created and sustained 135,000 jobs.”

In its results, the group revealed that loans under management had grown by a third to £4.9bn, up from £3.7bn this time last year, with 60 per cent of its UK lending now fully automated.

Funding Circle is in the strongest position it has ever been so after 12 years as CEO I have decided that now is the right time to step back from running the company and transition to a role on the Board,” explained Desai, who hired Jacobs nine years ago originally as chief strategy officer.

Before Funding Circle, Jacobs worked as a financial services consultant at the Boston Consulting Group.

The lender has made several new product announcements in the last few months, most recently with FlexiPay, its buy-now-pay-later service for SMEs to split large purchases.

Funding Circle also revealed that it will be launching a lending-as-a-service API later this year, with five finance brokers joining its sandbox testing environment in Q3, followed by new partners in H2 2021 and throughout 2022.

Also on the table is a Funding Circle Credit Card, which will offer SMEs one per cent cashback and the ability to tap into its FlexiPay BNPL service.

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