IRISH peer-to-peer lending platform Flender has pushed back its UK launch to focus on becoming the “dominant platform” in its home country first.
Flender gained authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and ISA manager status to launch an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) last year and had planned to launch in the UK and Ireland at the same time.
But Kristjan Koik, chief executive of Flender, said once the platform had access to its customer data it decided to grow its brand domestically first and a UK launch will not come before 2019.
“We did get IFISA manager status and lot of our lenders are from the UK,” Koik said.
“However, we would like to grow our brand and become a dominant platform in Ireland prior to entering much more competitive a market such as the UK.”
It comes as the business lender secured €350,000 (£302,000) of venture capital equity funding from Enterprise Ireland as well as another €450,000 from private investors.
The platform has also started a €50m debt round for institutional investors and plans to expand into property lending.
Flender, which launched in Ireland in May 2017, has seen its loanbook grow to more than €1.3m in less than a year.
The platform, which lets P2P borrowers automatically share their projects on social media platforms to encourage investment, says it has not seen its customers sharing less since the recent Cambridge Analytica controversy.
Koik was unconcerned that users may start turning away from social media as part of the backlash against Facebook after it allowed the data analytics firm to access user data, raising questions of privacy online and prompting many to quit the service.
“We give borrowers an option to run their campaign on the public marketplace or to run privately and share it with just the people who they want,” Koik added.
“There are probably 95 per cent of borrowers who choose to be on the live marketplace.
“We do give choice to borrowers, but our data says they are not concerned. They get a lot of marketing out of it.”
This story featured in the May edition of Peer2Peer Finance News, now available to read online.