PORTUGUESE peer-to-peer lender Raize has made history by floating on the stock market.
It is the first P2P platform in Europe to go public, and marks Portugal’s first initial public offering (IPO) since 2014.
Raize – which is the biggest P2P lender in Portugal – has placed 15 per cent of its shares with retail and institutional investors and will begin trading with a market capitalisation of €10m (£8.81m).
A further 10 per cent of company shares will be made available for six months after trading begins on 18 July on the Euronext Access market.
“The P2P lending model is still fairly new to many companies and investors in Portugal and there is a lot of room to grow,” said José Rego, co-founder and co-chief executive of Raize. “Taking the company public will increase our brand recognition with SMEs and investors and have a positive impact on growth.”
The IPO comes after Portugal’s government launched a €200m co-investment fund to support high-growth tech start-ups and SMEs across the country.
Raize’s public launch is a significant step for the alternative lending market in Europe, which has yet to see a significant IPO. In the UK, Funding Circle, Zopa and RateSetter are all rumoured to be considering public offerings, but no plans have been confirmed.
Raize launched in 2015 and is one of the largest investment communities in Portugal with more than 30,800 investors. It lends primarily to small businesses in Portugal, and it is backed by both retail and institutional investors. After the IPO, Raize co-founders José Rego and Afonso Eça will maintain control and continue managing the company.
Haitong Bank is global co-ordinator for the transaction, while Best Bank and Activo Bank are placers.