IRISH peer-to-peer platform Linked Finance has passed its €100m lending (£89m) milestone, and announced plans to double its headcount by 2020.
The Dublin-based lender has now provided more than 2,100 loans to local businesses in every county of Ireland. It reached its €50m lending milestone just one year ago, suggesting that the appetite for P2P business lending is on the rise in Ireland.
“The fact that over €100m has been lent on the platform is clear evidence that Linked Finance is now seen as an attractive source of funds for ambitious Irish SMEs,” said Niall Dorrian, chief executive of Linked Finance.
“Our ability to deliver quick decisions through a simple, user-friendly application process has already proven extremely popular with business owners.
“It took us almost five years to reach our first €50m in lending. Now, a little over a year later, we’ve hit the €100m milestone. This rapid rate of growth is a clear indication that our model is gaining real traction and why we plan to double our headcount in 2020.”
The recruitment drive will initially focus on the sales team, as Linked Finance works to increase its borrower base across Ireland.
Since Linked Finance was founded in 2013, its lenders have been repaid more than €64m in principal and interest. Lenders typically earn annualised returns of approximately eight per cent across a diversified portfolio of at least 50 loans.
Minister for finance and public expenditure and reform Paschal Donohoe T.D. paid tribute to the platform’s growth.
“Availability of credit is a key consideration for all businesses, and I am aware of the role P2P lending is playing in broadening competition in the SME finance market,” he said.
“I congratulate the team at Linked Finance for hitting the milestone of €100m of lending and for helping over 2,100 Irish companies with capital to fund their growth.
“SMEs are a vibrant contributor to Ireland’s strong economy, and responsible for providing over 900,000 jobs.
“This government is committed to supporting the continued expansion of the P2P lending market, and helping to diversify the sources of funding available to support growing Irish businesses. Ireland is now a growing hub for entrepreneurial fintech businesses, which we are confident will continue to thrive.”