Crowdfunding and P2P are Booming in the UK, Nesta Report Confirms

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Audrey White
10th March 2016

Alternative finance claimed 12 percent of small business lending in 2015, a sizable share of a rapidly changing market.

That’s according to a report titled ‘Pushing Boundaries’ by Nesta in collaboration with the University of Cambridge. This report is part of an annual series from the institutions that analyzes the alternative finance industry, including P2P lending and crowdfunding. Another key takeaway is that the sector grew 84 percent in 2015 and facilited £3.2 billion in loans, investments and donations — nearly doubling over 2014. More than 1 million people invested via online platforms in 2015, and 254,721 individuals, projects, not-for- profits and businesses raised finance via online alternative finance models.

And that rapid growth seems poised to continue, especially as banks and other financial institutions get in on the action. Institutions are increasing their stake in alternative finance, as Nesta’s report demonstrates.

And, institutional investors are taking the online marketplace more seriously. About 45 percent of all platforms reported institutional involvement. Donation-based and equity-based crowdfunding grew exponentially in 2015.

Of the total market, peer-to-peer business lending comprises £1.49 billion, almost doubling the amount lent in 2014. £881 million of that is in non-real estate lending projects, like rebuildingsociety.com. The peer-to-peer business market experienced an increase in automated lending and in secured loans.

The report projects that the alternative finance sector will grow to more than £5 billion in 2016.

“With increasing public and business awareness and the introduction of the Innovative Finance ISA, opportunities are abundant for the alternative finance industry in 2016 as well as challenges. From the peer-to-peer lending side, the challenges for 2016 are likely to be deal origination, credit risk modelling and underwriting. For equity-based crowdfunding, the challenges are not too dissimilar. The focus is likely to be on deal flow, due diligence and dealing with business failures as much as successes.”

Nesta’s report concisely demonstrates the sharp growth of various sectors of the alternative finance sector. As these industries continue to grow, we’re thankful for institutions like Nesta that keep tabs on industry growth and trends so we can make the rebuildingsociety community even better.

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