Funding Circle, the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lender in the UK, is planning to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) that will see it float at an estimated valuation of £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion), according to a report by Britain’s Sky News.
Funding Circle’s last round of funding in January 2017 saw it raise $100 million at a valuation exceeding $1 billion. That round was led by Accel Partners and joined by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings. Other major shareholders in the firm include Baillie Gifford, Edinburgh-based fund manager DST Global, Index Ventures and Rocket Internet.
Data compiled by Crunchbase indicates that the firm has raised $413.2 million in equity funding across eight funding rounds since its inception.
The lender is expected to appoint financial services firm Morgan Stanley to spearhead its public float in what is expected to be one of the largest initial public offerings (IPOs) by a UK-based financial technology (fintech) firm. The IPO is expected to occur in H2 2018, with the firm set to raise hundreds of millions of pounds, the Sky News report said.
Funding Circle was founded in 2010 by Samir Desai, Sam Hodges and James Meekings, and has been chaired by Andrew Learoyd, a former Goldman Sachs banker, since its launch. Eric Daniels, the former chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, also sits on the company’s board as a non-executive director.
The technology platform connects investors directly with small businesses seeking capital and claims to have helped more than 40,000 small businesses borrow in excess of $5 billion from investors in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands since 2010.
Other European fintech unicorns – firms valued at $1 billion and more – such as TransferWise are reportedly planning to conduct IPOs in the 2018-2019 period.
Funding Circle already has exposure to public capital markets, having listed its SME Income Fund on the London Stock Exchange in 2015 and has established partnerships with financial institutions such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander UK.