IRISH peer-to-peer lending platform Flender has successfully raised €10m (£9.1m) to help it meet demand for small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) loans.
The fundraising round is the first step in the firm’s plans to raise €50m from institutional investors, as it expands into property development.
The investment comes from the Paris-based Eiffel Investment Group, which has stakes in a number of P2P firms.
“It is our first institutional debt round and a significant milestone for us because it will open up doors for our next round,” Flender chief executive Kristian Koik told Peer2Peer Finance News.
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“It is significant because Eiffel are also investors such as RateSetter and Funding Circle and for us to be in the same pool of companies that they’ve done their due diligence on was very important.
“It is important for us that they know the market and they are experts in it.”
Flender said it will use the new financing to approve and fund deals for Irish SMEs more quickly.
The firm’s loans typically carry an interest rate of between 12-15 per cent and have a maximum size of €200,000.
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Flender has made €2.5m of loans to date to SMEs, that it said has helped create 192 new jobs.
“Demand is very strong and that’s because the banks don’t want to lend at all,” said Koik.
“It is difficult for SMEs but with us a company will know whether it has finance or not on the same day and now they will also have the funding the next day.”