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Peer-to-peer lender Flender celebrates first wave of successfully funded SME loans PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 July 2017
Itself created by crowdfunding, social circle peer-to-peer lender Flender has helped raise finance for five SME’s with an average loan value of £25,000 and interest rate of 10%.

Recently launched in Ireland, peer-to-peer lender Flender, is celebrating the successful funding of its first batch of SME loans. Companies that received their requested funding include one of Europe’s fastest growing lingerie retailers, a café and coffee roasting chain, a further education provider and developers of non-toxic disinfectant technology.

The Dublin-based company, which recently gained full authorisation from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and has launched a tax-free Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), wants to revolutionise the way people lend and borrow, fostered by a culture of loyalty and trust. Flender believes that peer-to-peer finance shouldn’t just be an anonymous and soulless transaction based purely on getting the highest interest rate from people wanting to borrow money. Flender allows users to borrow and lend money to friends, connections or businesses. Borrowers can create and share a personalised link to their campaigns on social networks, or invite chosen individuals directly by email. Business owners can expand with the help of their customer base, which in turn helps businesses to improve their products and services, and thereby reward their customers, while bypassing traditional banks for growth funding.

Flender, itself is a product of crowdfunding, raised £501,000 of launch funds through a public offering on the UK equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs. As Sales Director and Founder, Oli Cavanagh says: “It was important to us that we show how much we believe in this lending model. We conducted public equity crowdfunding because we wanted to demonstrate that the idea of funding by the ‘crowd’ really works.”

Since then, the company has also attracted further funding from the investment group, Halo Business Angel Network. “The group identified Flender’s ability to engage lenders from within borrowers’ own social circles as a real gap in the market. Within an addressable market of over £5.4bn between the UK and Ireland, we believe that the company has an opportunity for massive growth,” says Liam Bradley, HALO Acorn Angel investor.

Easy to borrow, attractive returns
Borrowing and lending through Flender is completed online via a desktop or smartphone, in a paperless transaction, with automated payments and digital contracts that provide a secure legal framework. The online process is fast, user friendly and returns attractive rates for lenders.

Niall Murphy founded ‘The Galway Roast’ café 10 years ago in Galway, Ireland, serving its own hand-roasted coffee. Since then, four more cafés have followed and with an ideal location for the fifth already identified, the company turned to Flender to raise funds. “We were initially attracted to the unique approach to customer engagement that Flender offered,” says Niall. “It wasn’t just about the funds, with Flender it was a way of getting our loyal customers to help us expand and share in our success. It only took us 30 minutes to set up our campaign on Flender, versus around 25 hours of management time when applying for a traditional bank loan.”

Of the lenders currently using Flender, a high number have come from outside Ireland, noting Ireland’s low default rates for peer-to-peer loans as a reason for choosing Flender for their investments. ‘’I turned to peer-to-peer lending to get better rates on my savings,” says Joachim Ritter, an investor based in Switzerland. “Flender is a great way to diversify investments and increase regular income at very attractive interest rates.”

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