Zopa, the oldest of P2P lending sites, certainly in the UK, has announced that it’s raised a new “multi-million pound” round led by Augmentum Capital, the VC fund backed by RIT Capital. That the company isn’t being more specific with the figure, however, suggests that it may not have reached the heights of its previous C Round, which CrunchBase pegs at $12.9m. It also comes at a time when the UK government appears to be taking an interest in the P2P lending sector, with regulation under serious consideration.
Prior to today’s investment, which also included participation from Forward Venture Partners as well as previous backers Bessemer Venture Partners and Wellington Partners, Zopa had raised a total of $33.9 million since it was founded in early 2005. The new injection of capital is said to be used to accelerate growth and consolidate its leading position in the UK.
Like other P2P lending sites and marketplaces, Zopa connects borrowers and savers, to offer better rates than high street banks for both parties. To date, the company says that over £250 million has been lent through its platform, making it the UK market leader. It also notes that in the current economic climate where the banks are in paralysis, P2P lending is seeing renewed interest as punters look for alternative ways to borrow and invest money.
Augmentum Capital appears to be good fit for Zopa — or so the PR would have us believe. The fund has already invested in other alternative finance companies, Borro and BullionVault, making it “the go-to fund for online alternative finance players”, says Tim Levene, Managing Partner, Augmentum Capital, in a nicely canned statement. Levene himself is the ex-Commercial Director of Betfair, so there’s a P2P connection there, too.
Zopa is also keen to flag up a recent UK government announcement that £100 million of its tax-payer funded Business Finance Partnership fund will be distributed in part through alternative finance platforms.
Meanwhile, regulation of the P2P lending industry could be on the cards, something that competitor RateSetter thinks will give the sector a shot in the arm. What’s that, a startup calling for government red tape, I hear you say? Apparently so.
Zopa is a P2P money lending service that allows lenders and borrowers to deal directly with one another, cutting out the banks who act as middlemen. Zopa works in the following way: the company first categorizes borrower credit grades with an A*, A, B, C or Y rating; then lenders make offers that vary by money amount and time period for persons with a certain credit grade; and borrowers can then agree the aggregate offered rate. Zopa...
RateSetter is a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending exchange, allowing people to lend and borrow money directly with each other, setting their own interest rates and not being forced to take a rate set by a bank. RateSetter will cut the cost of borrowing and enable those already in debt to get out of it quicker, while at the same time increasing returns for savers. For borrowers there are no penalties for early repayment of a loan. RateSetter was...
Augmentum Capital was formed in London in 2009 by Tim Levene and Richard Matthews. Its first fund, Augmentum I LP, is backed solely by RIT Capital Partners Plc, the FTSE listed investment trust in which Jacob Rothschild and family are substantial investors.
Forward Investment Partners invests across web, digital media, publishing, ecommerce and advertising. Forward Investment Partners invests for pure financial return, but is able to bring expertise and insight from its sole Limited Partner Forward Internet Group . We offer entrepreneurs and management teams something we believe is unique: first-hand experience and expertise in acquiring users, creating products, maintaining audiences and monetizing across a range of business models. If you are an ambitious entrepreneur or management looking for a partner...
Bessemer Venture Partners has over 100 years of investing experience, with a portfolio ranging from brick and mortar retailer Staples to popular web brands like Skype and LinkedIn. The company operates on a global scale with offices located in Israel, India, and both coasts in the US.
Wellington Partners is a venture capital firm that invests in technology and life sciences companies, focusing on Digital Media, Software, Rescource Efficiency and Biotech/Life Sciences. Stage Focus Stage agnostic (seed, early-stage and growth investments) Wellington has offices in Munich, London, Palo Alto, and Zurich.