It was announced today that Irish peer-to-peer finance platform Flender has raised €10m of a targeted €50m debt financing round that was announced in April this year. The new investment comes from professional investors including Eiffel Investment Group.
Eiffel Investment Group is a Paris-based asset manager, already invested significantly in the alternative lending market internationally, as part of a strategy of targeting business financing segments poorly addressed by traditional lenders.
Currently, the maximum loan amount on Flender is around €100k, and this figure will now increase to €200k. One in 7 applicants generally get approved and, to date, Flender has helped smaller Irish companies raise more than €2.5m while creating 192 new jobs.
Loans are provided to established businesses for expansion and general working capital, with most applicants stating that their banks are unwilling to support them, even though they represent proven viable businesses.
Having originally secured more than £500,000 (€569,000) to fund itself, through a UK crowdfunding platform, Flender went live in Ireland with its online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending for small and medium-sized businesses at the beginning of 2017.
The business went on to receive full authorisation from the UK financial regulator in May 2017. The company’s expansion plans now include adding new products such as property and asset backed peer to peer finance.
The Dublin-headquartered fintech was established by Kristjan Koik and co-founders Oli Cavanagh and Jeremy Davies. The company is backed by Enterprise Ireland and known entrepreneurs such as Mark Roden (Ding), Jonathan Quinn (World First), Brian Norton (Future Finance), David Mc Namara (Merrill Lynch International Bank) and Philip Grant (Farrell Grant Sparks).
Jamie Heaslip, the former Ireland rugby international, is a significant backer of the peer-to-peer lender and also an active investor in many of the small businesses using the site for borrowing. Heaslip has also recently been announced as a Flender Brand Ambassador, and describes the business as ‘a real win-win financing platform’.