Louis Alexander, chief executive of SoMo, explains why the platform rebranded, and what the future has in store for the lender formerly known as The BridgeCrowd…
SoMo plans to launch new products and has now moved into new premises, as it plans for the “busiest year in the company’s history” in 2021. This follows a high-profile rebrand, a 25 per cent increase in staff levels, and the announcement of a £300m funding line from Deutsche Bank.
Despite a global pandemic and an uncertain economic environment, 2020 was a year of action for the specialist lender. When The BridgeCrowd was founded in 2012, it was the first crowdfunded bridging loan company in the UK and it was the first company to use open banking technology for anti-fraud measures.
Since then, the platform has processed more than 650 loans with a combined value of £142m, with zero capital losses for investors. So why fix something that isn’t broken?
“The SoMo brand is an evolution for the business,” explains Louis Alexander, chief executive of SoMo. “SoMo started as a family business and then from two people to 50 people in the last eight years, and we’ve attracted a wealth of expertise over this time to continue to deliver our customers the best possible experience.
“We began as a crowdfunding platform and now have a large variety of investors and institutional funding lines which provides us with a wider variety of loans and more firepower to help our brokers and clients.”
SoMo stands for ‘Social Money Limited’ – the company’s legal name and ethical touchstone. “We connect people to help them improve their finances by borrowing and lending,” says Alexander. “At the heart of this is a focus on flexible and adaptable secured loans. We’ve built up our reputation as a trusted, reliable specialist finance provider and for us it’s about working together with our partners and customers to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved.”
The rebrand has also given SoMo an opportunity to create a new website which is both educational and relationship-centric – a reflection of the way in which peer-to-peer lending has changed over the past eight years. And over the past 10 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced a new raft of changes to the specialist lending sector.
“As a society, we’re looking at the world through a new lens and we’re seeking better technology to help us do everything, including borrowing and investing our money,” he says. “Investors are more open than ever to non-traditional routes to finance and how we manage our money and we are seeking businesses that put our needs first and treat us as humans. “SoMo embodies all of these things and the new brand puts these values front and centre.”
In fact, Alexander foresees “significant opportunities to grow” within the current economic climate, as lenders and borrowers start to move away from traditional stock market options and search for better rates and flexible lending options.
“Our extensive due diligence processes minimise risk and ensure we only take on affordable and suitable loans with good security,” he says. “It’s about showing customers that there’s another way of lending out there that’s safe and secure and has that personal touch as well. “The future is limitless in my eyes,” he adds. “I’m excited for what’s to come.”