IRISH peer-to-peer platform Flender has announced its first batch of successfully funded SME loans.
The lender, which launched earlier this year, has helped raise finance for five SMEs, with an average loan value of £25,000 and an average interest rates of 10 per cent.
SME borrowers include a café and coffee roasting chain, a lingerie retailer, a further education provider and developers of non-toxic disinfectant technology.
Flender’s sales director and founder Oli Cavanagh (pictured, left) pointed out that the platform was itself the product of a crowdfunding campaign via Seedrs, to it was already aware of the power of peer-to-peer lending.
“It was important to us that we show how much we believe in this lending model,” said Cavanagh. “We conducted public equity crowdfunding because we wanted to demonstrate that the idea of funding by the ‘crowd’ really works.”
In May, Flender won full authorisation from the FCA, and launched its own IFISA last month.
As well as funding SME loans, the Dublin-based company 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 selected individuals to contribute to their loans directly by email.
Niall Murphy, founder of Galway-based café chain ‘The Galway Roast’, said that Flender has allowed him to raise funds to expand the business.
“We were initially attracted to the unique approach to customer engagement that Flender offered,” said Murphy. “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.”
The Galway Roast is one of the five SMEs which has successfully completed its first funding drive via the platform. Loan investment opportunities are currently available for a generator rental firm and construction hire company in Ireland.