UK-BASED peer-to-peer lender Crowd2Fund is set to launch an Australian office by utilising the new fintech bridge between the two countries.
The business finance provider said on Thursday that it will begin utilising the fintech bridge early this summer. It is in the process of applying to the Australian regulator, has set up an office in Sydney, recruited local investors and is modifying the platform to allow trading within Australia.
The new office will be headed up by Rob Older, who has worked with Crowd2Fund since its launch in 2014. While Crowd2Fund is waiting for its Australian licence, Older and his team are sourcing business borrowers and investors for the platform.
The Enhanced Cooperation Agreement, signed in March 2018 by the UK and Australian financial regulators, aims to make it easier for regulated fintech firms to trade in both countries. The regulators have agreed to explore the regulatory approval process for innovative businesses that have already been authorised in the other jurisdiction.
“It’s fantastic that the governments recognise the importance of fintech and the alignment of regulation to allow us to trade easily in both markets,” said Chris Hancock, chief executive of Crowd2Fund. “The Australian market has close ties to the UK and it makes perfect sense to work with them as an initial market before expanding further afield.
“Australia is one of the most prosperous and fast-growing fintech markets globally with a vast pool of talent and we are looking forward to exploring the new and exciting opportunities that this market presents.”
Crowd2Fund is partnering with Australian debt collection software company InDebted to support its operations in the country.
“We are working with InDebted as it is an amazing piece of technology and completely revolutionises debt recovery,” said Hancock.
“This is a great example of a collaborative relationship that will support the growth of the economy in both markets as well as the fintech sector.”
Crowd2Fund is planning to roll out its UK model into a number of new territories, with a long-term goal of reaching a £1bn valuation by 2022. The firm said that it hopes the experience it gains from Australia will make complex markets like the US more easily accessible.
Crowd2Fund’s first investment opportunity in Australia is called Barefoot Conservation, a social enterprise dedicated to removing plastic waste from the oceans around Indonesia, with an initial raise of just under A$200,000 (£108,719).
The firm, which was one of the very first Innovative Finance ISA providers to launch its product, said that its customers will be able to make international investments as a result of the expansion.