01st Sep, 2015

P2P Weekly: Texas company strikes black gold with crowdfunding, and other news

“First oil and gas crowdfunded project meets goal,” Houston Business Journal

The Houston-based Crudefunders LLC has funded its first project, a $950,000 campaign to rework an existing well. The crowdfunding company, which focuses on energy-related projects in a region and state known for its production of oil and other energies, received funding from more than 30 investors, including three accredited investors that funded the majority of the project. Future funding projects may include shadow wells, mineral projects and support for service companies starting up.

“Zopa boss steps aside to ‘focus on strategic growth,’” The Telegraph

Giles Andrew, who has helmed peer to peer leader Zopa for eight years, will take the role of executive chairman while former chief operations officer Jaidev Janardana steps into the CEO role.

“I am concentrating on the bits of the business I do well, and giving Jaidev the responsibility he has earned,” Andrews said.

“Why this $9 billion publicly traded toy company is Ccowdfunding to find the next big game,” Entrepreneur

Hasbro and Indie GoGo are teaming up to ask game makers to submit their most innovative ideas, and then five innovators will compete with online crowdfunding campaigns to have their game made and distributed by Hasbro. For the $9 billion company, the effort isn’t about the money, but rather “building that relationship directly with the creators and makers,” said Brian Champman, Hasbro’s of global design and development.

“More investors turn to P2P lenders for high yield,” CNBC

More investors are realizing that peer-to-peer lending offers a chance to make higher yields than other types of investments. Lenders at two of the U.S.’s most popular platforms are seeing returns of five to 10 percent overall since 2009.

“Crowdfunding changing the real estate landscape in Southeast Asia,” Yahoo News, written by platform CoAssets

“[Crowdfunding platforms like CoAssets] have opened up the opportunity for high net worth or HNW and even non-HNW to invest in real estate projects through crowdfunding. This is a groundbreaking concept that was made a lot easier by platforms fuelled by the people. With their program in place, it allows even as low as SG$1,000 as an investment for real estate projects. This is a great way to open up and forever change the real estate landscape in the region.”

20th Aug, 2015

Leisure & Hospitality Services Firm Seeks Continued Growth

Unlike most consulting businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector, RAM Management Services provide full management teams and staff, as well as advice.

RAM Climate Limited are seeking to borrow £125k from rebuildingsociety’s lender base to stay ahead of the game by investing in technology, additional marketing resources, and a new sales team to aid profitable growth. They decided to borrow from the crowd because they admired the lending market, says director Ravi Keshri:

“We have come to the P2P market because of the transparent nature of the model. It’s great that lenders and borrowers have the opportunity to communicate with each other. We would rather the majority of the interest go to lenders who are investing their hard-earned money, rather than to fund the elaborate infrastructure of banks that caused the 2008 financial collapse.

Over 80% of RAM’s revenue comes from stable, long-term contracts – and the business is profitable, with no other borrowings. Independent credit reference agency Credit Safe have assigned the company a grade A credit rating.

Keshri says the numbers add up to make the loan very affordable. “Our business model has been tested and proven, our turnover has grown from around £500k three years ago to closer to £2.5m in the current year. Our net profits in 2015 are nearly five times the loan repayments which would be due on the £125k loan.”

The loan is supported by a second charge that will be registered against the director’s investment property, with an estimated value of £355k and estimated equity of £121k. There are 5 days left on the loan auction, so if you want to read RAM’s marketplace listing, it’s a good time to do so.

View RAM Climate’s Marketplace Listing »

17th Aug, 2015

P2P Weekly: Bill Nye gets the crowdfunding treatment, and other news

“Bill Nye tops Spock’s record as most funded Kickstarter documentary,” Indiewire.

The team making a behind-the-scenes documentary about beloved TV and real-life scientist Bill Nye closed their Kickstarter campaign with more than $800,000 in pledges from more than 16,000 backers. The film is now the most backed Kickstarter for a documentary in the platform’s history, and producers are hoping to submit the “full access, exclusive film” to festivals in 2017.

“Crowdfunding sites aim to make the law accessible to all,” Financial Times.

Using crowdfunding to fund legal cases is a fairly new phenomenon in the industry, but companies — like CrowdJustice in the UK and Invest4Justice in the U.S. — are breaking ground. At CrowdJustice, founder Julia Salasky and her team seek public interest cases and invites the public to fund related legal fees.

“Donors can be people who take human rights seriously, but they could also be those who worry that something which is happening to someone else could also happen to them,” she says.

“WIRED’s 100 Hottest European Startups 2015: London,” Wired

Wired has announced its 100 hottest startups, and several London-based firms made the list, including peer-to-peer market Funding Circle.

“What will a rate rise mean for P2P lending?” Lending Works

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has stated that 0.5 percent borrowing costs will soon be a thing of the past. This will have a few impacts, such as better returns on savings. But, there is a chance that the change could make P2P less attractive to some borrowers, skewing the market too much in favor of lenders.

“Ignore the snobs: Why crowdfunding is bringing diversity back to business,” City A.M.

“The evidence suggests that crowd investors are as aware as anyone that there’s a high chance they will lose money. However, they also know that, as a part of a broader portfolio (the investors in E-Car have made an average of 12 crowd investments), equity investments can make sense. If anything, allowing people to make small investments in companies, from as little as £10, should improve financial literacy and encourage people from all backgrounds to engage with business, increasing scrutiny and, hopefully, outcomes.”

11th Aug, 2015

4 easy ways you can reduce the interest rate of your peer-to-business loan

Part of what draws many borrowers to crowdfunding is a sense of control over the outcome of their loan. Did you know that borrower behaviour can have a serious impact on a loan’s interest rate?

A few simple behaviors can make all the difference in your loan’s competitiveness — and more competition means a better rate when your application completes. Here are a few ways you, the borrower, can incfluence your rate.

1. Engage with questions on discussion forums.

Potential lenders want to hear from you — whether it’s to get to know you better, to get your feedback on concerns and questions about the loan, or to get your financial information. If you respond quickly and cheerfully to their queries, this will boost confidence and improve the likelihood of securing their support.

2. Provide as much information as you can on your loan profile.

Upload accounts, any awards, and all positive information or data that is going to frame you and your business in a positive light. This is the flipside of number one: Get as much information about yourself and your loan into your profile as possible so lenders don’t have to go digging or turn to the discussion board to find the answers they need to make an informed decision about lending to you. Your page should make clear who you are, what your business is, what the loan is for, and why lenders can trust that their investment will have positive results for them.

3. Show how you benefit the community.

Demonstrate the social good you do, or find another way to show a human side to the business. Crowdfunding is different from other finance models, in part because the lending process feels personal. If you can demonstrate the ways that your business helps people, whether by providing a service people need or advancing a positive value or cause, lenders will respond. Remember that in the end, a lender’s decision isn’t about you, it’s about how the loan makes them — and their wallet — feel.

4. Promote your campaign among family, friends, colleagues and existing customers.

To gain the trust of strangers, first demonstrate the trust of your network. Encourage people who know you best and who have benefited from your business to become lenders in the early days of your loan. The concept of seed funding is critical across the crowdfunding world: Those who get funding in the early days are far more likely to successfully fund the project, while projects that flounder early usually fail. Remember — you’re not just asking for a favour, you’re giving those you know a chance to make a beneficial investment.

Apply for a business loan and drive your rate down »

07th Aug, 2015

P2P Weekly: Leaders aim to get ahead of Treasury Department concerns, and other stories

Our weekly round-up of peer-to-peer and crowdfunding news.

Peer-to-peer lenders get ahead of regulation with voluntary code, Yahoo Finance

U.S. peer-to-peer lenders have released a list of six best practice guidelines that lenders can use to protect borrowers. The announcement comes on the heels of news that the U.S. Treasury Depart is gathering more information about peer-to-peer lending. The “Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights” calls for more transparency, responsible underwriting and non-discriminatory access to credit, among other safeguards.

“China seeks to tame online financial risks,” Financial Times

China’s move toward regulation of online lending both legitimizes a growing industry and indicates the government’s support of traditional banks.

“Regulation will standardise operations and expose the industry to sunlight. Practices that were seen as existing in a grey area will be forbidden,” says Xu Hongwei, chief executive of Online Lending House, a website that tracks the P2P industry. “But regulation will also increase operating costs, causing some of the lower ranking and weaker players who can’t make the cut to go bankrupt. And it will raise barriers to entry. Average people won’t be able to get in any more.”

“The Wired 100,” Wired

Wired is releasing its annual list of 100 most influential people in tech-related fields, and this year UK-based P2P service Funding Circle Team made the list at number 92. Wired notes, “Funding Circle now has access to over 38,000 investors, who lent £100m to small businesses in Q1 2015 alone. The company hopes to hit $1bn in loans this year.”

“Brazil’s BankFacil Secures $3M, Launches Low-Rate Consumer Loans,” Wall Street Journal

BankFacil has raised venture capital so it can make consumer loans easier and cheaper. The three-year-old online lending startup mostly competes with banks, as alternative finance is a nascent industry in Brazil. Founder and CEO Sergio Furio hopes to secure a large enough volume of loans to be able to offer markedly better interest rates than other lenders, including banks.

“The UK is beating the US in the peer-to-peer alternative lending market — here’s why,” Business Insider

The UK is generating 72 percent more P2P lending capital per capita than the U.S., according to new research from Business Insider. Several factors, including a friendly regulatory environment, very high rate of online access and early adoption contribute to this. Business Insider subscribers can read the full report.

05th Aug, 2015

Help Wanted! Astra Recruitment Solutions Seeks Lenders

Astra Recruitment Solutions Co-Director Donna Barnes describes her business as a “bespoke personal recruitment solution.” Consultants provide customised service for each client and job candidate to ensure every recruit is just what their company needs, and vice versa.

In the booming recruitment industry, Astra has grown rapidly and needs more staff to keep up with demand. So today, they’re recruiting investors. Astra has applied for a £25,000 rebuildingsociety.com loan to be able to hire three additional consultants to enable growth across divisions. Our investment community has already reacted positively to this exciting opportunity, and the application has reached its funding target. However, Astra continues to welcome lenders to compete and improve the loan’s interest rate.

Specialized Solutions

“Our consultants are specialists within their markets and so are able to advise and guide how the market is and guide on what is needed to recruit and retain the best talent,” Barnes explains. “We work hard at understanding the culture fit of clients, and in the current passive candidates-driven market, we know where to find that talent.”

The loan will help Astra hire three additional consultants and train them in specialised areas to further strengthen Astra’s offerings to clients, because at the moment Astra has more work than its consultants can effectively handle.

“We want the business to have a nurturing culture to develop our own talent by investing in training and coaching alongside realistic targets. Our aim is to deliver win-win-win recruitment solutions where all parties benefit and build long term, trusted strategic partnerships.”

A Successful Business, A Trustworthy Loan

Barnes has 15 years of experience in recruitment, and co-director Carol McGeary has more than 20 years in the industry. Together, they created a business that has seen rapid and sustained growth in its first few years of operations. The loan is guaranteed both personally and with a second charge on a property.

Astra has a sister recruitment company, Mitrem Recruitment Solutions, which together form the Talem Recruitment Group. The group was formed to allow for future expansion and acquisition.

“We are excited and appreciative, because this injection will enable us to realise and secure our long term goals for Astra,” Barnes says.

View Astra Recruitment’s Marketplace Listing »

03rd Aug, 2015

P2P Weekly: Women comic creators turn to the crowd, and other stories

Our weekly roundup of peer-to-peer news.

“Women’s Comics Are Surfing The Crowd,” NPR

Numerous women comic artists have turned to the crowd instead of major publishers to produce their creative visions. As DC, Marvel and others launch and re-launch powerful women characters, the market is ripe for women to seek support for their work. For many successful projects, crowdfunding has been the answer.

“There’s no better way to get the word out [about a project] and no better way to reach women,” says artist Amy Reeder.

“Crowdfunding the future: New regulation”s could dramatically change entrepreneurship in America,” World

The slow rollout of regulations related to crowdfunding in the United States may finally be speeding up, creating more room for companies and new ventures to use crowdfunding to launch businesses.

The “general solicitation” regulations, released last year, are already making a difference inside the venture capital industry, according to Bill Clark, the founder and president of Austin-based MicroVentures, one of the first crowdfunding sites. He called the new rules “very good for startups. They have allowed companies with customers and fan bases to communicate directly with them.”

“Amazon Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Startups with Amazon Launchpad,” Business Wire

Online commercial giant Amazon has begun a new program to help startups launch, market and distribute their products on the website.

“As the pace of innovation continues to increase within the startup community, we want to help customers discover these unique products and learn the inspiration behind them. We also know from talking to startups that bringing a new product to market successfully can be just as challenging as building it,” said Jim Adkins, Vice President, Amazon. “Amazon Launchpad gives customers access to a dedicated storefront featuring a variety of innovative new products from emerging brands. For startups, we handle inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service, and more, allowing them to focus their efforts on the innovation that results in more cool products.”

“Small Business Borrowing: Does Reputation Really Matter?,” Forbes

No matter where a small business owner lives, their reputation in the community can be a key factor to receiving financial support to create and expand their businesses. Leaders at Kiva Zip, a micro-finance organization that provides small business loans in the U.S., has found community trust to be a key indicator of a loan’s potential success. They apply the same frameworks to U.S. loans as Kiva has used in its global market for a decade.

“Orchard Provides Feedback on Recent US Treasury Interest in Marketplace Lending,” Crowdfund Insider

Crowdfund Insider interviewed Orchard CEO Matt Burton, who will be attending a panel hosted by the U.S. Treasury Department on August 5th as part of the department’s efforts to gather more information about microfinance, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. He says:

“I think this is a great opportunity to show the Treasury how our industry operates within the existing regulatory framework, and educate them on the core principles of marketplace lending — the three T’s: technology, transparency, and trust. Regulatory agencies in other countries, such as the U.K., have actively embraced marketplace lending and created frameworks to facilitate its growth and adoption. More regulations could certainly hurt consumers if it limits their access to credit, but I think we’ll find a way to work together with increased transparency for all parties.”

29th Jul, 2015

Win an interest-free business loan

rebuildingsociety.com is offering an interest-free business loan to one company this summer

Since we launched in 2012, we’ve helped over 120 businesses successfully obtain loans via our community of private investors. This summer, we’re offering one lucky business the chance to win a completely interest-free loan up to £25,000.

How will it work? All loan applications received by rebuildingsociety.com before August 31 will be eligible. The loan that completes with the lowest interest rate will have its interest payments for the first £25,000 of the loan covered by rebuildingsociety.com — lenders will still receive their interest at the rate offered.

Borrowers that extend their loan periods are not eligible, and loans must be fully finalised by October 31st (the draw date) to qualify.

We’ve run this offer before with great success. In April 2014, Hippoprint.co.uk won an interest-free loan to be used for a guerilla marketing campaign.

Hippoprint co-owner Anthony Wood said: “Our new lenders include family and friends and other people who have had the opportunity to contact us directly with their questions. People are taking control of their finances more than ever and peer to business lending platforms are allowing them to make logical, ethical and moral decisions about how their money is invested.”

Apply today to be in with a chance

If you’re in the market for a loan for your limited company, LLP or PLC, there has never been a better time to turn to rebuildingsociety.com to make your financial goals a reality. More than 90 percent of the loans listed in our marketplace achieve their goals, and most do so in just 4-6 weeks.

Read more about the competition’s eligibility criteria »
Apply now »

To discuss a potential application with us please call our team on 0113 8150 244 or email us at apps@rebuildingsociety.com

28th Jul, 2015

Pursuit Training Turns To P2P To Expand

In its work providing apprenticeship training for people interested in health and social care professions, Pursuit Training aims to raise standards of care by providing the best education possible.

The apprenticeship market continues to grow — the government just committed to support another 3 million apprentices through contracts like those at Pursuit Training. And Pursuit’s commitment to positive values informs every aspect of their work. With a loan through rebuildingsociety.com, Pursuit Training hopes to refinance two loans that are slowing the business’s growth because of their high interest rates.

A Secure Opportunity

Because Pursuit receives both funding and extensive auditing from government organizations, its directors are confident that it is a well-vetted and secure opportunity. And their finances are in good shape.

“We currently hold yearly rolling contracts, with 2 direct contracting organisations, and one held directly that total over £2 million and have the opportunity to increase these depending on our ability to deliver increased volumes,” explains Managing Director Steve Horler. “All of our work in 2015 will secure income for 2016 as income is secured for 12-18 months at a time.”

In addition to government contracts, Pursuit has commercial revenue streams from its large customer base together with contracts held with national organisations and a direct Advanced Learning Loan contract.”

And, Pursuit can offer security by the way of a commercial property or directors guarantee. Pursuit is offering a second charge to support the loan.

A Growing Industry

The government continues to invest heavily in the apprenticeship sector, and Pursuit sees strong opportunities for growth in the next two years.

“It is well publicised that this is one government department that will go against the grain and be increased rather than cut as part of the upcoming spending review,” Horler said. “The Advanced Learning Loan contract allocation is currently both under-allocated against government budget and underspent by those with a contract meaning massive headroom for growth of these contracts.”

Our lenders are excited about this application — it has been more than 95 percent funded in under a week. It has 7 days left in the marketplace for bids to be placed, so head over to find out more about this opportunity.

24th Jul, 2015

P2P Weekly: UK to create trustmark for crowd-based businesses, and other news

“UK to create trustmark for app businesses in ‘sharing economy’”, Financial Times

“Minimum requirements for the UK trustmark will be set by a team from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford university’s Said Business School, working in partnership with the recently created trade body Sharing Economy UK,” the FT reports. Business secretary Sajid Javid backs the move, noting his commitment to making the UK a friendly place for a robust crowdfunding economy. The trustmark would aim to give users of services like taxi-alternative Uber and crowdfunding and peer-to-peer sites more confidence in which services to choose.

“Kiva Co-founder on the Future of Microfinance,” Mic

In a Q&A, Jessica Jackley sounds off on Kiva’s success, the future of microfinance and her new book. Of the industry’s future, she says: “As it is with many things these days, it will be more mobile and lighter weight. There will be different ways of categorizing and weighting reputation, not just in terms of credit scoring.”

“Smithsonian Resorts To Kickstarter to Restore Armstrong Spacesuit,” Buzzfeed

The Smithsonian, the United States’ premier historical and preservation organization, has turned to Kickstarter to fund the restoration and display of the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore on the moon. The institution has funding to preserve the suit, but hopes to raise $500,000 to prepare the suit for display during the moonwalk’s 50th anniversary in 2019. It’s the first of several planned collaborations with Kickstarter, museum officials stated.

“Crowdfunding as a vehicle for protest,” Los Angeles Times
Individuals supporting both liberal and conservative causes and individuals have turned to crowdfunding to show their support, in addition to or even instead of other forms of protest and solidarity. The Times sites several high profile examples of campaigns, successful and not, to use crowdfunding to support anti-gay businesses and police officers accused (and in some cases convicted) of racist violence.