Irish P2P lending platform Linked Finance raises €2m

12 Oct 2017

From left: Niall Dorrian, CEO of Linked Finance, with Seán Murphy, co-owner of Murphy’s Ice Cream, which raised €75,000 through the platform. Image: Conor McCabe

Linked Finance wants to make peer-to-peer lending a mainstay of the financial landscape.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance has just raised €2m in equity funding.

The company will use the funding to support expansion plans locally and overseas.

‘These lenders are people who know the platform inside out, they know what it’s like to lend on the site and they really believe in what we do’

The funding round was led by Linked Finance’s original venture capital backers, Frontline Ventures. They were joined by a group of 28 individual investors who are all active lenders on the Linked Finance platform.

In recent weeks, it emerged that former Ryanair deputy CEO Michael Cawley was to become chair of Linked Finance, which last month secured its 1,000th loan to an Irish SME.

Tapping the power of the crowd

Linked Finance, which was founded in 2013, pioneered the concept of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Ireland where a community of members lend to SME at attractive interest rates.

The company has now lent more than €34.5m to Irish SMEs since its launch in 2013, with more than €14.2m already repaid to Linked Finance lenders.

“I’ve been actively lending to Irish businesses on Linked Finance for a number of years and I’m a big fan of the platform,” said lender-turned-investor David Holohan.

“So, when the opportunity arose to take a stake in the business and help drive the growth of P2P lending in Ireland, it was an easy decision. I firmly believe that this innovative form of funding will transform the SME lending landscape in Ireland over the next few years, making it easier for Irish business owners to access the capital they need to grow their businesses.”

Linked Finance now intends to establish P2P lending as a mainstay of the SME lending landscape in Ireland, similar to the progress of P2P lending in the US and UK.

“It is fantastic that we have been able to practise what we preach, harnessing the power of the crowd to open this investment round to some of our most active users,” said CEO Niall Dorrian.

“These lenders are people who know the platform inside out, they know what it’s like to lend on the site and they really believe in what we do. It’s great to have them on board, and also to have the continuing support of Frontline Ventures.”

Updated, 5.32pm, 12 October 2017: This article was updated to amend an incorrect photo caption and clarify that the person to the right of the main image is Seán Murphy, not Kieran.

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