Linked Finance secures €50m in backing from Portuguese digital bank

21 Jun 2018

Image: maradon 333/Shutterstock

Backing will boost liquidity for peer-to-peer lending platform to lend to SMEs.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Linked Finance has obtained €50m in backing from Portugal-based digital bank Banco BNI Europa.

The digital bank will deploy up to €5m over a two-year period to lend to Irish SMEs.

‘This arrangement with Banco BNI Europa will allow us to immediately increase lending to local businesses’

Linked Finance connects Irish SMEs who need loans with an online lending community of more than 19,000 users.

That community is made up predominantly of ordinary Irish people who wish to earn attractive returns lending to creditworthy local businesses.

The fintech-driven future

The agreement will further boost liquidity on the P2P platform, which has already provided more than 1,400 loans to Irish SMEs.

The company has demonstrated an impressive growth trajectory since its establishment in 2013, lending over €59m to date while recording its strongest quarter in Q1 2018.

“Banco BNI Europa’s decision to deploy capital on the Linked Finance platform is great news for Irish SMEs,” said Niall Dorrian, CEO of Linked Finance.

“It is yet more evidence of how the world is changing and through technology Linked Finance is making it easier for SMEs to borrow money. This arrangement with Banco BNI Europa will allow us to immediately increase lending to local businesses.

“It complements the funding available from our existing users – ordinary members of the Irish public – who will continue to play a crucial role in helping us to fulfil our mission of providing fast and affordable finance for Ireland’s SME sector.”

Banco BNI Europa is a digital bank and alternative lending investor that has partnered with alternative lending platforms across Europe since 2016.

These include leading P2P lending platforms in Germany, Belgium and Finland.

“As a fintech-driven bank, a partnership with Linked Finance is a natural fit for our business, supporting our strategy of growth and diversification within our European portfolio,” explained the bank’s chair Pedro Coelho.

“Over the past years, we have successfully built a network of strategic partnerships with fast-moving fintech companies across Europe. Ireland is a market we have been keen to enter and, as the leading P2P lending platform here, Linked Finance is the obvious partner.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years