THE GLOBAL marketplace lending sector saw nearly $9bn (£6.45bn) invested across 233 deals last year, marking a new funding record for the industry.
Consultancy firm Fintech Global, who compiled the data, found that equity investment in the sector rebounded to $8.9bn last year after a slowdown in 2016. The total was boosted by the top 10 deals, which raised a combined $4.4bn.
The second half of the year was strongest for funding, with the largest deal of the year closing in the fourth quarter when Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender Lufax raised $1.2bn.
Europe’s share of the deals is increasing, going from 23.2 per cent in 2014 to 30.1 per cent last year. Conversely, North America accounted for more than half of the deals in 2014 but now accounts for 30.1 per cent.
Among the top 10 deals, four of the companies are P2P lenders including UK platform Lendable that raised $399.8m.
Despite the growth in funding, deal activity declined from 277 deals in 2016 to 233 deals in 2017. This resulted in the average deal size jumping from $32.5m to $45.4m over the same period.
2016 was a challenging year for the industry, with a 12.8 per cent year-on-year decline in investment to $7.5bn. This was in part due to the scandals surrounding US P2P giant Lending Club, the report said.
“As a result, lending companies faced increased scrutiny and difficulties in attracting funding,” Fintech Global added.