Flender has hit its €10m lending milestone, and a new equity raise will help the Irish platform to cement its place in a growing market. Chief executive Kristjan Koik (pictured) reveals all…
PEER-TO-PEER LENDERS have been winning market share from UK-based banks for several years now, and now the trend has made its way across the Irish Sea, where Flender is leading the charge.
The Irish P2P platform recently hit the €10m (£8.78m) funding milestone, less than two years after its launch. And €8m of that was raised within the past six months alone – an achievement which chief executive Kristjan Koik is pleased to credit to his staff.
“We did €2m in funding within the first 14 months of the business, and then we did €8m in just a few months, despite December and January being very slow months,” says Koik. “This is down to the hard work of our new head of sales Barry Hickey, and head of partnerships Colin Canny.”
Flender may be a relatively young platform, but it is already making its mark. Since it was founded in June 2017, the platform has received more than 11,000 investments, 40 per cent of which have come from outside of Ireland. It specialises in loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across a variety of sectors, with each individual loan worth between €15,000 and €150,000. The average loan value is around €60,000.
Koik believes that his platform has tapped into an exciting new area of growth in Ireland, as business-owners become fed up with banks and start to seek out alternative funding instead.
“We can see this happening globally, where non-bank lenders are gaining market share from traditional banks,” he says. “We’re smaller and more nimble and we have innovative technology, so we are able to provide a much better customer experience than a traditional bank.”
In Ireland, as in the UK, borrowers are flocking to alternative lenders due to the relative speed of execution. “Banks can take weeks to respond to a customer with a slow no or slow yes,” explains Koik. “Flender can do the same as quickly as the same day due to lean processes and having the latest technology.”
This efficiency has helped Flender to carve out an enviable position in Ireland’s SME lending market, with the promise of further growth on the horizon.
“Origination volumes for P2P platforms are on the rise, yet the top three banks in Ireland have 90.3 per cent market share,” says Koik. “There really is a lot of growth opportunity for non-bank lenders. Banks have most of the market share and most of our customers come from banks.”
Up next for Flender is a series of new product launches, and a push to increase originations even further.
“We have just started our latest equity fundraising round,” says Koik. “We are looking to raise £3m, and it is open for existing and new investors in both the UK and Ireland.”
This new funding round will help Flender to keep chipping away at the market share of Irish banks, and win over new lenders and borrowers alike – a sign of things to come in the Irish P2P market.