Irish peer-to-peer platform Linked Finance has hired London-based corporate finance firm Liberum as an adviser, as it looks to attract funding from international institutional investors.
The company is looking to raise €5m (£4.3m) in equity from global investors and up to €150m in liquidity funding, as part of its goal to lend out €350m by the end of 2019.
According to reports from The Irish Times, the firm is already in talks with potential investors and hopes to close the deal by the end of November.
This would be the third round of funding for Linked Finance, which was founded in 2013 with €550,000 from founder Peter O’Mahony and Enterprise Ireland. It received a further €3.5m from Frontline Ventures last year.
The company is believed to be targeting Irish, American and international institutions for this new equity stake, as well as liquidity commitments of up to €150m which would be lent out over the next two years. This represents a major shift for the firm, which had previously relied on retail investors to provide its working capital.
Chief executive Niall Doonan has been very vocal about his plans to make Linked Finance the largest non-bank lender to SMEs in Ireland. Earlier this year he said that the company was looking at the involvement of various strategic partners on to the platform.
“Possible partnerships include international and domestic institutions lending to the platform, and government entities looking to drive the growth of Ireland’s SME sector,” he added.
Over the past three years, Linked Finance has lent out more than €11m in loans to individuals and SMEs, and more than 13,000 lenders are registered on the platform.