German Crowdfunding Platform Bergfürst is a Bank Now

German crowdinvestment service Bergfürst announced yesterday that it has been granted a full bank license from German regulator Bafin. This status is not that frequently reached by new companies. In 2013 only 3 new companies were granted full bank licenses.

Bergfürst was launched in 2012 and featured a fully regulated exchange as USP from the start allowing investors to trade equity of funded companies with daily market prices fixed. Effectively Bergfürst allows companies to do a small IPO directly to the crowd. Since launch Bergfürst only did one funding – albeit a huge one – in the end of 2013, Urbanara raised 3 million Euro (about 4M US$). In September 2013 Volksbank Berlin became a shareholder of Bergfürst. Continue reading

P2P Lending – Average nominal interest rates in Q2 2014

After looking on the p2p lending loan volumes, today I present an overview of average nominal interest rates for selected p2p lending services. As nominal interest rates are before fees they are easier to compare and an attempt otherwise would mean to list 2 rates for each marketplace (an APR for borrowers and a lender rate after fees). Of course nominal interest rates are in no way an indication to achievable lender yields as these are dependant – aside from fees -on defaults and recoveries occuring. Also on Wellesley actual lender interest rates are much lower than the quoted nominal rate.

What the chart does allow is to gauge the market segment the individual p2p lending marketplace concentrates on. But again this is only a first glance, for any further comparision any securities (like collateral, assets, or provision funds) have to be considered.

Table: P2P Lending nominal unweighted (*weighted) interest rates up to June 2014. Source: own research
Some figures are estimates/approximations.

Notice to p2p lending services not listed:
If you want to be included in this chart (or similar charts) in future, please email the following figures on the first working day of a month: total loan volume originated since inception, loan volume originated in previous month, number of loans originated in previous month, average nominal interest rate of loans originated in previous month.

Crowdcube Raises 1.2M from the Crowd and 3.8M from Balderton Capital

Today British crowdinvestment platform Crowdcube started pitching the crowd to raise 1.2 million GBP. This was on the same terms as the 3.8 million GBP it raises from Balderton Capital in this series B funding. The total raised is for 25.64% equity. This puts the valuation at about 19.5 million GBP. The pitch was funded  in a record 16 minutes by 142 investors. There was a minimum investment threshold of 1,000 GBP (and a maximum of 25K GBP) in this round.

Crowdcube launched in 2011 and has raised over 30 million GBP for more than 130 start-up, early stage and growth businesses. More than half of this finance has been secured in the first half of 2014. Crowdcube also succeeded to sign up international partners and now has a presence in seven countries: Brazil, Sweden, Dubai, Poland, Italy, Spain and New Zealand. I feel that Crowdcube has done tremendously well in terms of product development and building its market position.

Darren Westlake, CEO of Crowdcube commented: ‘We’re delighted to secure growth finance from such a renowned VC who will undoubtedly add tremendous value both strategically and operationally. We’ve built a pioneering and award-winning service over the last few years. This investment, alongside the crowd, puts us in an even stronger position to provide essential growth finance for businesses and inspire a new generation of investors.’

This round follows earlier rounds, where Crowdcube raised 320K GBP in Dec. 2011 (I invested a small amount during that round) and 1.5M GBP last year prompting Techcrunch to rightly state ‘Let no one accuse Crowdcube of not eating its own dog food‘. However I would expect a crowdinvestment platform to be a stellar role model in communication with its own investors and I feel there is lots of room for improvement there (especially when compared to some other equity crowdfunding pitches I invested in) as frequence and content of information provided has been sparse and I found the answers to my direct email queries to Crowdcube directors unsatisfying.

Funding Circle Raises 65M US$ Series D

British p2p lending service Funding Circle raised 65 million US$ series D in a round led by Index Ventures with participation from existing investors, Accel Partners, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital. The new funding will be used to continue to fuel the company’s rapid global growth, expand product ranges and explore new international markets.

Today’s news follows Funding Circle’s record growth in both the US and UK markets over the past twelve months. The p2p lending marketplace is on track to lend 600 million US$ in 2014.

Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle said: “We are thrilled to welcome Bob to our board. His expertise and experience is unparalleled. This latest round of funding will fuel our global ambitions and power the next phase of our evolution – catering for the increase in demand we expect to see over the next 12 months. Our vision is to build a better financial world, helping more small businesses access finance and offering attractive returns to investors.”

This news comes less than a year after the previous 37 million US$ round. In total, Funding Circle has now raised $123 million in equity funding.

(Source: press release)

International P2P Lending Services – Loan Volumes June 2014

June was another strong month for p2p lending services. Especially Prosper, Assetz Capital, Folk2Folk and Wellesley did grow their volume substantially. My estimate for the Lending Club number for June may be too high (I took the known figure of 1,006 million US$ loans issued in Q2 and subtracted my approximated numbers for April and May. But these April and May approximations may have been too low).  I do monitor development of p2p lending figures for many markets. Since I already have most of the data on file I can publish statistics on the monthly loan originations for selected p2p lending services.

Table: P2P Lending Volumes in June 2014. Source: own research
Note that volumes have been converted from local currency to Euro for the sake of comparison. Some figures are estimates/approximations.

Notice to p2p lending services not listed:
If you want to be included in this chart in future, please email the following figures on the first working day of a month: total loan volume originated since inception, loan volume originated in previous month, number of loans originated in previous month, average nominal interest rate of loans originated in previous month.