Zopa meets Rob Hailstone, borrower of the billionth pound

Peer-to-business Loans

Rob Hailstone, a legal expert and business-owner from Chudleigh in Devon, became the borrower of the billionth pound advanced through Zopa’s peer-to-peer lending platform.

The landmark was reached on 18 August after just over 10 years in business. For Rob, though, the loan containing the billionth pound was his first experience of borrowing through Zopa, or any other P2P lender for that matter.

Becoming the billionth-pound borrower

“I was looking to consolidate some of my existing debts and my financial adviser rang up three or four weeks ago and suggested looking at Zopa,” says Rob, 57. “In fact I had ne...

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Zopa Meets 'Create my Case' Owner - Daniel

Peer-to-business Loans

At Zopa we don't just help out everyday consumers with personal loans we also help some of the 3.5 million sole traders in the UK to get a better deal on a business loan.

We understand how important access to finance can be in growing a business as well as the speed in which you get a loan approved and how quickly funds appear in your account.

Business loan reasons are as varied as the businesses that we lend to. These can range from a new car/van, funds to renovate an existing business, new tools/equipment or even a set of new phone case printers like Create My Case bought with their Zopa loan.

Business owner Daniel took a sole trader busine...

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ESF Capital Acquires Controlling Stake in ThinCats

Peer-to-business Loans

The M&A “hokey cokey” – as David Stevenson recently termed it – has well and truly begun.

ESF Capital has acquired a 73.4% equity stake in secured business lending platform ThinCats. ESF Capital was spun out of ESO Capital, a European specialist investment firm which was founded in 2006. In February, ESO committed to deploying £20-£50 million through the ThinCats platform. ESF Capital invests in and underwrites loans on a select crop of European peer-to-peer lending platforms. The vehicle is also focused on taking minority and majority equity stakes in peer-to-peer platforms that target the European SME space. In con...

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​Radii Skatepark Repairs Ltd

Direct Business Lenders

Radii Skatepark Repairs Ltd is run by lifetime BMX rider Rob Steele. Semi-professional in the early 80s, Rob took a 10 year break from riding and began building ramps with a friend. After a brief flirtation with commercial construction and fuelled by his recent return to riding, Rob spotted a gap in the market for skatepark repairs and took the opportunity to return to an industry that he was passionate about. He founded Radii Skatepark Repairs in 2011 because, in his words: “the industry needs a repairer with a conscience – that’s me. Rider first, ramp builder second.”

As a lifelong expert in the field, Rob was aware there were very few companies around who were repairing ramps for re...

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Rushforth Media

Direct Business Lenders

Founded in 2010, Rushforth Media is a fast growing media business, producing audio, video and television content for clients in the UK and USA. With a turnover approaching £2million, Rushforth Media is the UK’s biggest producer of audiobooks, with customers including publishers, consumer brands, rights owners and literary estates. Simon founded the company in 2010 after a successful career in law and media and now employs 15 people. The company was initially funded through the sale of a previous business. Simon started with just £10,000 of initial capital, made £600,000 turnover in year one, £1.2m in year two and has never looked back.

Rushforth Media is a self-funded business, in good financial shape with regular, fixed...

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Merritt Decorators Ltd

Direct Business Lenders

Family run business, Merritt Decorators Ltd. is based in the South East of England, and has a range of customers including Specsavers, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon Homes, Charles Church and Rollalong (working on Army Barracks and RAF Camps). This is in addition to many other building contracts both nationally and within the local area. Steve Merritt founded the company in 2003 and runs it with his son James.

Covering the whole of the South of England means that Steve spends the majority of his time travelling. When he does get to spend time in the office there is little time for form-filling. As is common for many businesses within the industry, cash flow sometimes becomes an issue when unforeseen costs are...

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Worldpay Business Finance Goes Live

Revenue-based Loans

Liberis has tied up with one of the world’s leading payment processors.

Worldpay has joined forces with merchant cash advance provider Liberis to launch a new funding scheme by the name of Worldpay Business Finance. Liberis specialises in short-term advances which are repaid as a pre-set proportion of credit and debit sales. A quiet month of business will result in lower repayment amounts – as borrowers only pay back their loan when they themselves are earning.

Worldpay’s vast customer base now has the ability to seamlessly access this product. The partnership is quite the coup for Liberis, which is perhaps the largest of the UK’s direct lenders. Worldpay proce...

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Crowd2Fund Investors to Benefit from Crowdfunding Coin

Peer-to-business Loans

Crowd2Fund has never been a stranger when launching new products and last week the platform introduced the first ever crowdfunding coin into the sector.

The ‘Smart Money’ coin will be exclusive to Crowd2Fund’s investor club and will initially be similar to that of a loyalty scheme where individuals who have invested a significant amount on the platform will benefit. Members will be rewarded with special offers and gifts from businesses that have been funded via the platform.

The long-term aim is for Crowd2Fund investors to link their Crowd2Fund account to the coin so that funds can be spent directly fro...

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Folk2Folk Help Fund Pub Conversion

Peer-to-business Loans

In 2009, I, together with my husband Robert and daughter Robyn, bought a pub which I had previously owned with my husband and sister in law and brother in law and sold in 2001. Since then it had had two other owners and the whole pub business had completely changed. When we first ran it, people could still smoke inside and most of our profits came from the drinking trade which was phenomenal.

The drinking trade is no longer viable as a business model on its own. The “pub” business is now as much about the food and accommodation. We had taken a loan with NatWest to buy the pub for our daughter, Robyn, who was keen to run it. She had worked as a waitress for us when w...

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Sharp & Tappin

Peer-to-business Loans

"Sharp & Tappin is a precision engineering company and has been going for 11 years. The business has two parts: one is onboard cameras for ships and the other is composite blade saws for the aerospace industry. The business was set up by one of my sons and one of his friends' fathers and I joined it. The business was expanding and we desperately needed more space. We were renting units but we didn’t want to rent more space as this was dead money, instead we wanted to buy some land and build on it.

In 2007, we bought development land, Natwest were going to lend us the money but they changed their mind. We went to Parnells Solicitors who put us in contact with a local farmer which enabled us to take out a private mortgage. W...

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New Furniture Business Sets about Preserving Success

Invoice Funding

How do you go about preserving established furniture brands when their owner wants to diversify in another direction? This was the challenge for newly formed Nathan Furniture Group as it sought to continue the success of H Morris & Co Limited.

Needing an inflow of working capital to help fund stock purchase, it created Morris Furniture Brands Limited who turned to business financier, Bibby Financial Services.

With an initial £400,000 funded against existing stock, the business has now secured long-term funding from Bibby made up of a £1.4m invoice discounting agreement and £500,000 in trade finance.

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Liverpool-based Car-care Manufacturer Reveals Ambitious Growth Plans

Invoice Funding

Turtle Wax, the global car-care product manufacturer based in the North West of England, is looking to grow aggressively across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) with a new finance deal in place. The fast growing business plans to double its turnover in 5 years to over £30 million, with 15% dedicated to the UK and 85% to export.

Incorporated in Chicago in 1946, Turtle Wax remains a family-owned and operated business with sales in more than 90 countries.

The iconic brand started its European business in the 1950s followed by establishing a UK based company...

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Garment Quarter

Direct Business Lenders

Growth Street helped Garment Quarter invest in stock and inventory to support their growth both online and offline.

Who are Garment Quarter?

Garment Quarter was founded in 2010 by John Reid, a former buyer for a successful Vivienne Westwood franchisee; and Peter Lake, a former IT consultant. Having recognised the strong potential within online retail the initial aim was to establish a multi-brand fashion business and Bristol was chosen as the base and location for the first store.

Their youthful yet inclusive approach to luxury fashion has seen them operate franchise stores for both Vivienne Westwood and Unconditional in addition to their own multi-brand, multi-channel store.

What was their challenge...

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Lunchtime Company

Direct Business Lenders

Growth Street acted quickly to support Lunchtime's seasonal cashflow as their business grew.

Who are Lunchtime Company?

Lunchtime Company was incorporated in 1997. In 2010 they pulled out of contract catering for university departments and businesses, reverting to schools-only catering. They decided in 2013 to concentrate purely on primary schools and now operates 37 schools in South East England with an expected turnover of £4.5 million for this current year.

Their purpose is to use their skills and talents to provide the next generation with a love for a diverse range of food and an appreciation for the great joy that can be gained from eating together with friends, family and colleagues. They spec...

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Squint

Direct Business Lenders

Growth Street enabled Squint to reach new markets and customers with their bespoke, hand-crafted products.

Who are Squint?

Squint is a British luxury design house. It was founded in 2005 by Lisa Whatmough with only a credit card and a vision for the future. Coming from an art background she felt divorced from her audience by the gallery system. Her motivation comes from creating products she loves and that she is proud of putting into the world. Her goal when starting her business was to grow her own brand and company, while maintaining the feel of a small business.

They started with a small space in Shoreditch and have now grown to serving international markets. With Lisa leading the way Squint is an ambitious and developing business, c...

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B&K Beauty Boutique

Direct Business Lenders

When Yuliya’s business was growing fast and she needed a larger premises to meet demand, iwoca helped her to cover the moving costs.

B&K Beauty Boutique is a luxury salon located on a leafy suburban street in St John’s Wood, North London. It’s an obviously popular spot with a loyal following – the light and airy establishment is often packed with customers receiving a large range of beauty treatments. It offers the latest state-of-the-art procedures and has a charming garden area which clients can enjoy in the summer months.

Yuliya Price took ownership of B&K in 2012. The salon was previously based in a cramped shop in Marylebone, where she had been working as the manager for a number of years. Aft...

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The Vehicle Finance Network

Direct Business Lenders

The Vehicle Finance Network (VFN) is the brainchild of Chris Nickson, an experienced operator in the car finance industry. Chris founded the company after noticing that people were finding it increasingly difficult to obtain credit for a new car, despite the vehicle being available as security. The VFN is dedicated to matching customers with the right finance company for their needs.

Chris aims to give every customer a truly personal service, and unlike other providers, doesn’t have a restrictive ‘stock list’ of cars from which they have to choose. Chris now has five employees working from his Merseyside office and has been very happy with the company’s first year growth.

In order to...

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iwoca

Peer-to-business Loans

UK Bond Network investors helped the company to raise their full funding requirement, enabling them to extend new loans to borrowers and to refinance short-term bonds as they mature.

iwoca provides credit facilities of between £1k and £100k to small businesses across the UK, Germany, Spain and Poland. Founded in 2012, iwoca has issued over £45m in loans and has recently completed a $20m Series B equity raise.

Michael Elalouf, CFO, iwoca

“UK Bond Network’s tech-enabled approach helps us diversify our financing options and will be crucial to supporting growth amongst European SMEs.”

Michael Elalouf, Chief Financial Officer at iwoca, commented:

“We aim to offer a flexible financing solution to Europe’s twenty million small business...

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3DD

Invoice Funding

Established 20 years ago, the 3DD Group produces TV programme series with a focus on music and the arts. Based in London, 3DD has built a reputation of delivering long running music series including Later with Jools Holland from the BBC.

Producing work for international buyers, such as Sky, the 3DD team saw lengthy payment terms that meant gaps in cashflow.

Jennifer Bentley, Finance Director commented:

"The main difficulty for 3DD before MarketInvoice was in the typing up of cash in sales contracts to cable and satellite channels, against paying production suppliers on standard terms."

Using MarketInvoice

Dominic Saville, 3DD's CEO, heard about MarketInvoice on BBC Radio 4's The Bottom Line and realised that selling invoices wo...

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MyPlanet Life

Invoice Funding

The MyPlanet LIFE team is behind a new social media software solution for business. The company has a 12 person team based in the UK and New Delhi, India.

Guy Flintham, CEO commented:

"We identified a clear gap in the emerging 'social media for business' market.

With zero budget initially, we built a prototype social media platform which quickly gained attention."

We secured initial angel investment and were able to turn MyPlanet LIFE from a project into a company.

Using MarketInvoice

Selling their software to large corporates, MyPlanet LIFE saw typical payment terms of 45 days.

Guy Flintham, CEO, read about MarketInvoice in The Sunday Times and quickly understood that the flexibility of usage...

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