16th Nov, 2015

P2P Weekly: Apple launches new payment app, and other news

“Apple ‘to launch peer-to-peer payment app,” BBC

A new payment application from Apple would allow users to transfer money directly as a complement to the existing Apple Pay, and in direct competition with PayPal.

“investUP Authorised as “Crowdfunding Brokerage,” AltFi

investUP has now received full FCA authorization. Among other changes, the move means investUP can now continue to work with customers beyond the point of transaction.

“Bessemer Backs Consumer Lending Startup Bread,” Wall Street Journal

New York-based Bread powers a pay-over-time option for online merchants with seamless integration into the merchant’s website. The company recently received $14.3 million in backing from Bessemer Venture Partners.

“MIT Sloan Leads Collaboration Launching Groundbreaking FinTech Ventures, First US Grad-Level Fintech Program,” Crowdfund Insider

MIT will offer the U.S.’s first graduate level program on financial technologies.

““MIT has always been at the forefront in financial innovation and as financial technology is becoming more important in the financial world, we thought it was imperative to have a class covering this new trend,” observed Antoinette Schoar, Michael M. Koerner, Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance.

08th Nov, 2015

P2P Weekly: Gender diversity fuels P2P success, and other stories

“‘Our Gender Diversity Is Absolutely A Factor In Our Success’: Q&A With Krista Morgan, CEO & Co-Founder Of P2Binvestor,” Crowdfund Insider

Says Morgan: “It’s a challenge to hire a diverse team, and it’s almost impossible if you’re not paying attention. After two years of building P2Bi I felt confident that I had found my own system for hiring the best people who were also diverse and wanted to share it since it’s such a huge issue. I’m hugely proud of the fact that P2Bi is 50 percent female across our company including our leadership team, which is extremely rare in tech and even more rare in finance.”

“SC to unveil peer-to-peer lending framework,” The Star Online

The Securities Commission in Kuala Lumpur will introduce a P2P framework next year. Leaders hope the program, called afFINity@SC, will encourage the growth of finance and investment innovation.

“How changes to EIS could affect UK small business funding,” GrowthFunders

Changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme outlined earlier this year by Chancellor George Osborne will go into affect later this month. The changes lower both the age a participating company can have (seven years instead of 10) and the amount that investors can put into one company (£12 million instead of £15 million).

“Brief: Another Record Set in China P2P Lending for October,” Crowdfund Insider
Amid changes to regulations and other challenges, P2P lending in China continues to set records. So far this year, the industry has lent more than 1 trillion yuan, or about £1 billion.

04th Nov, 2015

P2P weekly: Treasury glows about P2P sector’s innovation, and other news

“Treasury sings praises of peer to peer lenders,” FT Adviser

At the P2P Finance Association Summit in London, city minister Harriett Baldwin tipped her hat to the P2P industry, saying: “P2P platforms and fintech provide competition, ideas, and technology– making people’s lives better and the markets more effective. When you do well, your businesses flourish. Excellence breeds excellence. Customers have the services they need to meet their aspirations. And this country becomes better off, as a result of all this activity taking place here in the UK.”

“Where it’s due: Britain’s small firms are not as credit-starved as they may seem,” The Economist

Analysis shows that the credit outlook for SMEs in the UK is better than a surface level examination might indicate. Demand for credit increases, and SMEs are repaying loans quickly. Healthier banks and small businesses have made for a lot of activity, which should be considered a good thing.

SEC votes to allow equity crowdfunding for startups, small businesses,” Chicago Tribune

In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted new rules that allow individual investors to buy shares of startups and small businesses through crowdfunding platforms. Crowdfunding leaders praised the move as a step toward democratising investment. There are clear limits designed to protect investors based on an individual’s net worth and other factors.

“RebuildingSociety to support own auctions,” AltFi

Rebuildingsociety.com is in the news. Our new catalyst initiative, which promises that we will be the first to invest in all loans we post, has caught industry attention.

28th Oct, 2015

Hillcrest Structural is building toward a strong future

Hillcrest Structural Limited has been a successful steel work contractor since 1981. In that time, it has established a long list of happy customers and an unblemished financial record. Today, the company seeks a £50,000 loan so it can increase its working capital and pursue the big projects it is capable of. Hillcrest has grown substantially since CEO Jamie Green completed a management buyout in 2009, and the company is ready to take another step forward. Though the firm has traditionally operated without working capital facilities from banks, some new growth opportunities make it the right time.

A Good Industry Moment

The construction industry is solid and getting stronger, so it’s a prime time for Hillcrest to grow.

“The strength and vibrancy of the market has enabled the company to grow in turnover terms from £3.3 million in 2009 to £6.49 million in 2015 since Jamie Green’s MBO,” said Neil King, a consultant for the firm. “This growth is coupled with margins being improved & a history of profitable trading.”

Newly won contracts include the bus station at Portsmouth and a £1.8 million contract for the MacLaren. Hillcrest’s excellent work will help these projects come to life, but they could prove a challenge on the administrative side. An influx of cash will ensure Hillcrest can deftly complete these contracts and take on other massive projects.

An Unblemished Record

This loan is guaranteed with a corporate guarantee and through personal guarantees from Jamie Green and his wife, the company’s directors who have a networth of £88,000. The company has 34 years in the business without financial problems, and since Green took over in 2009, business turnover has grown 50 percent. Hillcrest’s management and financial advisers are confident in the company’s ability to promptly pay back this loan.

Since Green took ownership, the company has “paid down a £1 million plus earn out MBO repayment agreed with the previous owner, thus demonstrating the company’s ability to pay down significant debt from cash flow and without bank support.”

You can visit Hillcrest’s lending page to learn more about the company and the loan and to ask questions directly of management, which will respond promptly.

26th Oct, 2015

P2P Weekly: Another record quarter for P2P, and more

“A Record Breaking End to a Record Breaking Quarter,” AltFi.com

The UK Alternative Finance sector generated nearly £750 million last quarter, breaking records. This fits into an overall growth trajectory for the industry.

“Goldman Sachs Seeks to Grow Online Consumer Lending Business, Hires New Team,” Crowdfund Insider

Banking giant Goldman Sachs has revealed plans to move into online lending, believed by analysts to be in part a move to anticipate the impact of alternative fintech models that are gaining steam. Goldman Sachs already has key executives in place for the new operation.

“Funding Circle buys German peer-to-peer lender Zencap to kick off European expansion,” Evening Standard

P2P leader Funding Circle will rebrand Germany’s Zencap into its company. Funding Circle’s CEO Samir Desai says: “We have been hugely impressed with what the Zencap team have achieved so far. By coming together we combine Funding Circle’s leading position in the UK and US with Zencap’s deep understanding of local markets to create the first truly global marketplace lending platform.”

“Indiegogo’s New Charity Site Won’t Charge Platform Fees,” Huffington Post

Indiegogo’s Generosity platform will not take portions of donations for itself, though it will still charge fundraisers for the credit card and other third-party fees it incurs. It will also allow campaigns to run indefinitely.

“Reinventing the deal,” The Economist

“America’s startups are changing what it means to own a company,” The Economist asserts.

23rd Oct, 2015

Our New Catalyst Initiative

The team at rebuildingsociety.com are thrilled to announce a new initiative that we hope will show our borrowers just how invested we are in their success, and demonstrate to lenders the confidence we have in every loan we list. From now on, rebuildingsociety itself will be the first lender on every loan on the site.

rebuildingsociety will bid £1,000 on every loan that goes live. Of course, you’re free to outbid us! If the loan closes with our investment on board, we will put the £1,000 up for sale at a rate 1 percent below the loan’s maximum rate. These will function like any other microloan, but they will have no premium attached so you can purchase them at face value.

“We’ve decided to put our money where our underwriting process is and demonstrate the faith we have in businesses that borrow through rebuildingsociety.com,” says rebuildingsociety Managing Director Daniel Rajkumar. “By bidding to invest £1,000 in every new loan on the platform, we hope to foster even greater participation and a better sense of community.”

“We will bid at a rate that is fairly easy to outbid in order to ensure that we don’t take the place of our platform users, but we’re eager to lay down a marker of transparent investment in the loans that we list.”

We look forward to investing financially in businesses so we can all see them thrive. If you have any questions about the program, you can contact support@rebuildingsociety.com

19th Oct, 2015

P2P Weekly: P2P popularity continues to grow

Should You Cut Your Credit Card Debt With a Peer-to-Peer Loan?, Bloomberg

Some U.S. peer-to-peer lenders specialize in refinancing individuals’ credit card debt and consumers are pursuing those services, but financial experts don’t recommend more borrowing as a solution to debt.

Banking and Nothingness, The Economist

“European indecisiveness stands in sharp contrast to America’s large banks, which restructured more quickly. Returns are below pre-crisis levels, but their balance-sheets are stronger and management teams bedded in. European banks are still weighed down by non-core units and dud loans; America’s banks have moved on.”

RateSetter reaches another lending milestone as P2P popularity grows, The Independent

The success of platform RateSetter — the company boasts that none of its lenders have lost a penny since 2010 — indicates a larger pattern of P2P’s success, especially as household costs continue to rise in Britain. They’ve gone up 18 percent since 2007.

Improbable Kickstarter Shows How Crowdfunding Is Driving Innovation In Old Markets
, Forbes

A Kickstarter campaign that raised more than 30 times its original goal has helpful lessons for anyone seeking success in crowdfunding and fintech.

12th Oct, 2015

P2P Weekly: FCA wonders if P2P could improve mortgage industry, and other news

FCA Has Particular Interest in P2P Lending & Crowdfunding in Mortgage Sector, Crowdfund Insider

The Financial Conduct Authority has put out a call for information regarding the UK’s mortgage industry and has its eye on the peer-to-peer sector. The FCA states: ““We have a particular interest in the scope for newer types of funding models, such as peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding, to overcome the constraints potentially imposed by other (more traditional) funding models.”

“Record Venture Capital Investment in UK Tech Sector over last 9 months,” London and Partners

“Altogether UK tech companies have raised more in the first nine months of 2015 than the $2.1 billion raised in the whole of 2014.”

“According to the recently launched IBM Global Location report, London brought in more foreign investment and created more jobs than any other city in Europe. In 2014, London attracted 235 foreign investment projects from companies relocating and expanding overseas.”

New Research Study: 7 Stats from 100,000 Crowdfunding Campaigns, Indiegogo Blog

Crowdfunding leader Indiegogo has compiled data based on more than 100,000 of its campaigns to provide advice for how platform users, and any crowdfunder, can improve their outcomes. Some key stats? Indiegogo recommends 30 campaigns, and it notes that campaigns raise 42 percent of their funds in the project’s first and last three days.

Obama Turns to Crowdfunding to Aid Fleeing Syrians, The New York Times

President Barack Obama and the United Nations hope crowdfunding can help raise funds needed for the UN to continue providing refugee services to Syrians. The Kickstarter campaign has raised about $1.5 million so far. It wouldn’t be the first time Americans responded to a federal call for funds: The White House’s Josh Miller noted that the public contributed $2.5 million to build a base for the Statue of Liberty in 1885.

International FinTech: Techstars Blooms In Tel Aviv & Cape Town, Forbes

Techstars, a Colorado-based startup accelerator, is looking to expand their entrepreneurial ecosystem in 2016, and they will be looking for promising enterprises in Cape Town, South Africa, and Tel-Aviv, Israel.

09th Oct, 2015

The new rebuildingsociety.com Affiliate Programme

rebuildingsociety is proud to announce the launch of its new Affiliate Programme, rewarding our valuable partners and users for spreading the word about the platform and playing a vital role in improving access to peer-to-business finance for UK companies.

In a move designed to recognise the diverse nature of the crowdfunding movement, the scheme is open to anybody and everybody, from individual lenders and borrowers to online publishers.

The programme is administrated by rebuildingsociety’s own bespoke system, specifically designed to reward referrals on peer-to-peer sites.

Our standard commission payments are as follows:

Action Payment
A lender registers and verifies their identity £10
A lender you referred passes £1,000 lent £40
A borrower registers and verifies their identity £15
A borrower you referred submits an application 0.1% of the loan’s value
A borrower you referred gets an application approved and live 0.15% of the loan’s value
A borrower you referred completes an application 0.25% of the loan’s value

Signing up is easy. Just visit this link while you’re logged into rebuildingsociety.com to get your official affiliate link. Share it with friends, family and colleagues who you think might be interested in joining the exciting world of peer-to-peer lending at rebuildingsociety.com.

You can also split commission with the person you’re referring simply by adding an “F” to the start of your affiliate ID in the URL we give you – thereby allowing you to share the love with your friends, family, and colleagues, and give them a cash boost to get them started with lending on the platform.

“While we will continue to work closely with commercial finance brokers, peer-to-peer lending offers the opportunity for everybody to get involved in improving access to finance and better control over investments,” said Adam Knott, rebuildingsociety.com’s Digital Marketing Manager. “We’re excited to launch the new affiliate scheme, with the hope that word of mouth and a community spirit – along with some great commission payments – will help grow the profile of peer-to-peer lending in the UK.”

Our development team are still working to bring some great visual reporting options to the site so that affiliates can track their performance and payments better.

Visit the affiliate programme page for more specifics, and write to us at adam@rebuildingsociety.com with any questions!

02nd Oct, 2015

Portobello Art seeks your collaboration to pursue growth possibilities

After years of tight pockets in the hospitality industry, hotels and other venues are finally seeing an uptick in revenues and pursuing long overdue improvements. And Portobello Art Limited is poised to take advantage of the moment. The company has nearly 30 years of experience as a respected supplier of wall art and decoratives to hotels, leisure facilities and private healthcare centers, and the contracts are rolling in.

But a difficult half decade has squeezed Portobello’s financial resources. To stay afloat, the company took out loans that proved not to be the positive solution they hoped. With a successful loan from rebuildingsociety.com, Portobello will consolidate existing loans to a saving of about £7,000 per month. And the company will increase its working capital to be able to take on the healthy pipleine of contracts coming its way.

“An Enviable Position”

Portobello has withstood the test of time — and three recessions — and proven itself as a reliable provider of high quality decorative goods and as a company stubborn enough to survive when many of its competitors have closed.

“We are in the enviable position where we are actually recommended to clients by several of the large Hotel Groups like Whitbread, IHG, Hilton,” said co-director Richard Lewis. “We have also developed strong relationships with many other much bigger suppliers of non-competitive products to the hospitality trade, i.e. carpets, curtains, furniture, and signs, with whom we share referrals.”

Despite taking hits during the recession, especially when some of their primary contractors outsourced to China, Portobello kept its head above water and “were able to build on [their] reputation and gain work from the likes of Holiday Inn and Hilton,” Richard says, so now there is a much larger market for them to work with than before. “Premier Inn are also now launching new brands, which we are now supplying.”

Turning The Corner

For the last few years, Portobello has been surviving more than thriving. To stay afloat, they have taken an EZBob loan and three FC loans, and repayments and interest are proving to be a drag on the company. Consolidation of these debts into one loan from rebuildingsociety.com will help the company take advantage of the prime economic moment before them. They took the loans in part hoping that a sizeable land investment would be finalized and improve their asset situation. That deal is still in process but has not been as immediate solution as once hoped. However, it should begin to pay off by the end of the year, which can help lenders feel more secure.

This loan is secured by a director’s guarantee and a 2nd charge on the personal property from which the business is operated. In December, they will sign an option agreement on the above-mentioned land, which is worth about £4 million, and they are pursuing Lawful Development permission that will increase its value by at least £2 million.

The directors are confident that the economy and hospitality industries are sufficiently recovered for Portobello to reach its full potential as a provider of wall art and other interior design touches, a service area it has been a leader in for 27 years. Richard Lewis has been active in the discussion board and is eager to answer any concerns. You can learn more about the loan and company on its rebuildingsociety.com profile.

View Portobello Art’s Marketplace Listing »