News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

crowd at a concert

1. UK – FinTech 

AltFi reports:

“While many lenders have prioritised existing customers and even blocked new customers from applying for loans backed by the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), alternative lender ThinCats has opened its doors. 

“Our main priority throughout the pandemic has been on supporting our existing borrowers, however, we now have the opportunity to open up CBILS to new borrowers,” CEO Amany Attia said today. 

“For many businesses, coming out of lockdown will require working capital funding particularly as the benefits from government support programmes, such as the Job Retention Scheme, start to unwind. The next few months will present challenges and opportunities for a large number of mid-sized businesses and we look forward to supporting them with our bespoke approach to funding.” 

ThinCats was among the first alternative lenders to be accredited for CBILS back in April, and in June joined the larger Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme for businesses with turnovers of more than £45m.”

2. UK – FinTech

Lanistar’s latest funding round is a hefty £15 million. FinExtra reports:

“Lanistar, a personal financial management startup founded in 2019, has raised £15 million to support its forthcoming commercial launch in Winter 2020.

The investment, from Milaya Capital, gives the VC a 10% stake in the company at a valuation of £150 million.

Lanistar plans to use the fresh capital to grow its operational and customer support teams, and scale towards its product launch. The Hammersmith-based company employs 45 full time staff, and has plans to grow a 150-person support team in Greece. It has also recently announced partnerships with organisations such as Mastercard and Jumio.

Having already secured £2 million in seed money, Lanistar is creating a new debit card that links to up to eight bank cards to help customers better manage their finances via new technology and open banking.”


3. UK – Equity/FinTech


Banking platform Coconut gets two massive capital injections. AltFi reports:

Coconut, the banking platform designed for SMEs and self-employed people, has closed its second crowdfunding round just shy of £2.5m. 

The Crowdcube campaign was initially launched in the hopes of raising £700,000 but the campaign quickly went into overfunding, raising a total of £2.47m, beating its target by 352 per cent, from over 3,000 investors. 

Coconut launched the campaign nearly two and a half months behind schedule because of the coronavirus-related disruption. 

This most recent raise is Coconut’s second crowdfunding effort, the last time the fintech crowdfunded, back in 2018, it beat its target by 400 per cent and raised just under £2m. 

According to the statistics on Crowdcube, the latest funding puts the fintech at a pre-money valuation of £12m. 

Back when the campaign was first launched, Coconut’s CEO Sam O’Connor told AltFi that the fintech was planning to use the funds raised to invest in new products and services as “self-employment will be a major feature of the economic recovery.” 

And as if crowdfunding £2.5m wasn’t enough for the fintech, Coconut also filed a £5m BCR Pool E bid just last week.”

4. UK – RealEstate/FinTech

In P2P Finance News Landbay takes aim at valuation models among buy-to-let platforms.

“The automatic valuation models (AVM) and desktop valuations used by mainstream buy-to-let lenders during the pandemic are not possible for specialist lenders, Landbay has claimed.

A desktop valuation is when a RICS chartered surveyor investigates a property, looks at the details and uses photographs and other data to compare similar types of property in the area, all without visiting it.

Meanwhile, an AVM, which requires little or no human input, is an automated version of a desktop valuation that examines house sale data and provides a valuation based on this.

During the coronavirus-induced lockdown on the housing market, physical valuations for the most part came to a halt, so desktop valuations and AVMs became more popular for mainstream buy-to-let lenders.

However, specialist buy-to-let mortgage lender Landbay, which was a peer-to-peer lender until it exited the retail investment market last December, said this wasn’t possible for alternative lenders due to their funding model.”

 5. UK – FinTech

London-based ETF Partners has closed its third Environmental Technologies Fund at £167m, to grow the most innovative companies in the UK and Europe that help deliver long-term and sustainable economic prosperity, according to UKTech News

“The announcement comes as Covid-19 has highlighted the urgent need to address one of society’s greatest challenges – climate change, solutions to which can help power a strong economic recovery.

Since its launch 14 years ago, ETF Partners has invested at the crosshairs of change, identifying and backing high-impact, high-potential companies in digitally-led sustainability.

Investing at Series A and beyond, and with the capital to support companies as they scale through multiple funding rounds, ETF Partners’ third fund has already supported companies in diverse fields such as smart mobility, ethical cybersecurity, microbiome AI and software, and energy efficient data centres.

ETF’s third fund was raised from a combination of existing and new Limited Partners, including British Patient Capital and the European Investment Fund.”