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09/09/2021Funding Circle has a new CEO
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Funding Circle Gets in to Buy-Now-Pay-Later (In UK)

September 2, 2021
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buh now pay laterFunding Circle is joining one of the trendiest markets in the industry right now, Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL). The company will provide its customers with a way to spread supplier payments or invoice costs over 90 days by providing the capital upfront and allowing the borrower to pay later.

It has been dubbed FlexiPay by the UK-based lender and will enable access to between £3,000 – £50,000 of upfront capital. Loan eligibility will be determined in minutes and the funds will be available almost instantaneously, according to Funding Circle. This combination of small business lending with BNPL services is seemingly unprecedented to the industry.

“We are really excited to be using our market-leading technology to launch FlexiPay, which is designed to support small businesses to manage and control their cash flow,” said Lisa Jacobs, the Europe Managing Director of Funding Circle. “The new product enables businesses to buy now and pay later on any business spend in a way that suits them.”

The payment option will give access to “interest-free” financing to borrowers with a flat fee of 3% per invoice, without any annual charges or setup fees. Access to FlexiPay will not be given to new customers until the end of the year.

According to a source familiar with Funding Circle, the company could possibly bring the FlexiPay concept to the US once they’ve fully rolled it out in the UK.

Funding Circle US Originated $800M in 2020, More than 90% of Borrowers Were Making Payments

March 26, 2021
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Funding CircleFunding Circle US revealed originations of £581M in 2020, equivalent to about $800M at current exchange rates. More than 90% of the company’s American borrowers were making full regular payments on their loans, Funding Circle reported. Approximately 7% were on a “payment holiday” at year-end or were not paying.

Funding Circle’s US loans generate low annual returns, its highest being a projected return of 4.1% to 4.9% for its 2016 cohort. Its 2020 cohort is projected to generate an annual return of between 1 – 3%.

Overall, Funding Circle reported a total net loss of £108.1M (approx $150M US) on just £103.7M in revenue, a massive loss that stemmed entirely from the first half of the year, attributed mostly to a write-down in “fair value.”

Funding Circle’s primary market is the UK. When comparing the market with the US, the company said that the US is in an earlier stage of development even though the market is 5x larger.

The full report can be viewed here.

Funding Circle US Lays Off 120 Employees

July 9, 2020
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Funding Circle US laid off 120 employees yesterday, according to a post shared by Ryan Metcalf, Head of U.S. Regulatory Affairs and Social Impact.

Reuters reported that the company will also centralize its technology development in the UK rather than have a separate US team going forward.

The US operation had largely been focusing on PPP lending and SBA 7(a) loans since the shutdowns occurred.

The announcement coincided with its UK business being approved to participate in the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Funding Circle UK Referring Some Large Loan Applicants to Competitors

November 11, 2019
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Funding Circle UK has begun to refer applicants seeking an amount above their maximum loan size limit of £500,000 to Iwoca, MarketInvoice and French bank BNP Paribas, The Sunday Times reported. Previously, Funding Circle would just turn them away.

Funding Circle Originated $377M of US Loans in First Two Quarters of 2019

August 8, 2019
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Funding Circle originated $377M of loans in the US in the first six months of 2019, according to their latest public report. The company said that “growth was proactively controlled” and that they tightened higher risk band lending and increased prices. They’ve now loaned more than $2B cumulatively in the US since inception and their growth is being led by “new borrowers” that are being lured away from traditional lenders.

Funding Circle still lags behind PayPal, OnDeck, Kabbage, Square Capital, and Amazon in the US in loan origination volume, according to the deBanked small business finance rankings. Its closest competitors by volume are BlueVine, National Funding, and Kapitus.

Funding Circle Co-Founder & Managing Director James Meekings to Step Down

August 8, 2019
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funding circle co-founder james meekingsFunding Circle’s lackluster business performance has led to a casualty. Co-founder James Meekings, who serves as Managing Director of the UK Business (the company’s primary market), will be transitioning to a non-executive role on the UK board in Q3. He will no longer be MD, the company announced.

Lisa Jacobs, Funding Circle’s Chief Strategy Officer, will take over leadership of the UK business, the company subsequently disclosed.

Funding Circle went public less than 1 year ago on the London Stock Exchange. Since then the share price has plummeted by 75%.

The company has been busy trying to correct course through various maneuvers, one of which has been to cut CEO Samir Desai’s annual compensation.

Funding Circle SME Income Fund to Consider Winding Down

April 6, 2019
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The Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF), a fund whose objective is to provide shareholders with a sustainable and attractive level of dividend income by lending, both directly and indirectly, to small businesses through Funding Circle’s platform, may soon be winding down. Earlier this week, the fund’s major shareholders expressed a desire to withdraw their capital and a vote will be scheduled to put this plan in motion.

The decision is not a surprise. The fund suffered a sharp decline in Net Asset Value late last year in part due to increasing business loan defaults.

Funding Circle Holdings (FCH), which trades on the London Stock Exchange, announced that a windup of FCIF would not affect the overall company’s 2019 guidance.

FCH CEO Samir Desai said of the news, “A global income fund providing access to a diversified portfolio of Funding Circle small business loans was the right strategy for investors and Funding Circle in 2015. However, there are now more appropriate and varied ways for investors to participate on the platform. We’re pleased to soon introduce two new investor products to the UK market. They will further expand the universe of investors that can access loans on our platform and continue to diversify our sources of funding, in line with the strategy we set out at IPO.”

Funding Circle Partners with Stripe

January 23, 2019
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Bernardo MartinezFunding Circle announced this morning that it has joined the Stripe Partner Program, which will allow the company to provide financing to Stripe customers in the United States. Funding Circle is a small business loan funder that offers fully amortizing small business term loans. Their loans range from $25,000 to $500,000 and have terms between six months and five years.

“We’re excited to work with Stripe to connect even more business owners with the affordable capital they need to go further,” said Bernardo Martinez, U.S. Managing Director of Funding Circle. “Funding Circle and Stripe are both dedicated to helping companies scale their businesses in the digital age, ultimately creating jobs, opportunities, and driving growth in the broader economy.”

This is Funding Circle’s first integration partnership with a payments platform in the U.S. With the partnership, Funding Circle gets access to Stripe’s small business owners, but Stripe also wins by providing more services to its customers.

“We are enabling Stripe customers to finance their growth and the end result is that, as these companies grow, [Stripe] has a higher number of payments go through their system,” said Martinez.

No money will exchange hands between Funding Circle and Stripe, Martinez said. While this partnership will start with Stripe’s U.S. small business customers, Martinez said that Funding Circle is excited about the opportunity to scale with Stripe, which serves customers internationally.

Funding Circle is not the only small business lender that has partnered with Stripe. Another company called Bitbond, based in Berlin, is listed on the company’s Stripe Partner Program.

Founded 2010, Funding Circle is headquartered in London and has lent $8.6 billion to 62,000 businesses globally. Listed on the London Stock Exchange as FCH, the company employs about 1,000 people and has offices in San Francisco and Denver.

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