LONDON, July 17 The chief executive of corporate
finance firm Perella Weinberg is to join the board of
peer-to-peer loan company Funding Circle, in a major coup for
the small business lender as it builds up its U.S. presence.
Bob Steel, a former deputy mayor of New York and vice
president of Goldman Sachs, will become a non-executive
director, Funding Circle said on Thursday.
The company, which has lent more than half a billion dollars
to over 5,000 companies since launching in the UK in 2010, said
it had also raised $65 million in its latest funding round.
Funding Circle allows investors to lend directly to small
businesses in the UK and the United States through its online
platform, a process known as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. It
currently lends $50 million a month.
The P2P sector and its sister industry crowdfunding have
rocketed in the past few years, as ordinary people seek out
returns in a world of low interest rates and small businesses
struggle with a dearth of bank lending.
"I believe there is a unique opportunity for marketplace
lending to revolutionize access to finance for small businesses
across the globe," Steel said in a statement.
Santander bank said in June that it would refer
small businesses that it had rejected for loans to Funding
Circle. And in the more advanced U.S. market, LendingClub, the
country's largest P2P platform, is preparing for an initial
public offering (IPO) in the second half of this year.
That follows the London listing of the 200 million-pound
vehicle P2P Global Investments by Eaglewood Capital
Management and hedge fund Marshall Wace. It has traded firmly
since it launched with the promise of targeting net returns of
5-15 percent a year.
Separately, crowdfunding website Crowdcube said on Thursday
that Balderton Capital, which has also invested in payday loan
firm Wonga, had invested 3.8 million pounds in the business.
Crowdcube is also seeking to raise a further 1.2 million
pounds through its own crowdfunding website, as it targets
international expansion. Crowdfunding allows people outside the
finance industry to invest in a company in return for a share of
(Reporting by Freya Berry; Editing by Susan Fenton)