Leading Irish SME lending platform Linked Finance gets institutional backing.
In something of a landmark for the Irish peer-to-peer lending sector, Linked Finance has secured the backing of Eiffel Investment Group. There is no upper limit to the funding programme, with Eiffel having agreed to contribute up to 20 per cent of the required funding for all new loans on the platform.
Eiffel, formerly known as Shepherd Capital, has been operating in the online lending space since 2011. The firm merged with Eiffel Investment Group in February 2015 to form a specialist asset manager named Eiffel eCapital. They then launched a €100m fund by the name of Pretons Ensemble, which was backed by major insurance firms, including Aviva France and AG2R La Mondiale. A minimum of 90 per cent of the fund’s €100m of firepower was to be invested in SME loans.
Eiffel currently manages close to €200m across a range of top peer-to-peer platforms, including Lendix in France and Funding Circle in the UK.
Linked Finance CEO Niall Dorrian described Eiffel’s backing as “a vote of confidence”, given its heavy involvement in the sector. “They know the industry well and they know what it takes to succeed,” he said.
Linked Finance has lent a grand total of €29m to date (according to AltFi Data), making it Ireland’s largest peer-to-peer lender. The firm has facilitated over 700 small business loans to date, and has big plans for the coming year.
The relationship between the two firms is already underway. Linked Finance recently completed Ireland’s largest ever peer-to-peer loans, raising €250k in two tranches for workspace firm Iconic Offices. Eiffel took part in the deals alongside over 400 individual lenders.
“In Linked Finance, we have identified a leading player in the Irish market and a business that we are confident will deliver on its ambitious expansion plans,” said Etienne Boillot, CEO and co-founder of Eiffel eCapital. “As institutional investors, we not only bring more liquidity to the market, but also more confidence in this method of fundraising, which should help attract more SMEs to borrow and more retail investors to lend, a win-win for all involved.”
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