June 13, 2016 / 7:20 AM / 3 years ago

Online lender Marketlend raises $1 million in funding

(Reuters) - Australian online lender Marketlend on Monday said it has closed on a $1 million investment lead by fin-tech entrepreneur Jon Barlow and former KKR dealmaker Mati Szeszkowski.

Marketlend, which helps connect businesses that are looking for funding with investors, will use the new money to further automate its technology systems and originate more loans, the company’s founder Leo Tyndall said in an interview.

Marketlend’s fundraising marks the latest sign of continued investor interest in online lending globally, despite a slowdown in loan originations and increased regulatory scrutiny in the United States.

Marketlend’s platform allows businesses to borrow money against unpaid invoices, helping to relieve a cash flow shortage. If a company is waiting for a customer to pay them, it can sell its invoice to Marketlend at a discount. The loan is then listed on the Marketlend marketplace for investors to bid on and fund.

The company has also partnered with a large insurance firm, which it declined to name, to protect investors if the invoice is not paid.

Marketlend, which was founded in 2014, was previously funded by Tyndall, a former securitization and capital markets executive at UniCredit. Barlow, the former CEO of Eaglewood Capital Management which is one of the biggest asset management firms focused on the online lending market, and Szeszkowski, who formerly led KKR’s technology private equity practice out of London, also said they will fund debt investments on the platform.

Tyndall said that the online lending market in Australia is still fairly nascent, with only a few large players including RateSetter and SocietyOne.

“For a long time, banks were thought to be the only source of money you could get for doing business, though that is starting to change,” he said.

Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Andrew Hay

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