Funding Circle Amps Up U.S. Growth with LeapPay Purchase

  • Ian Kar
  • September 2, 2014
  • 0

content_Sam_Hodges_headshotU.K.-based Funding Circle is expanding its U.S. business with the acquisition of New York-based LeapPay.

Last week, it was announced that the based person-to-business lender Funding Circle had acquired LeapPay for an undisclosed sum. Sam Hodges, Funding Circle co-founder and head of its U.S. division, told Bank Innovation about expansion in the U.S. as it relates to the LeapPay acquisition.

Hodges mentioned that a number of services, such as commercial property loans were available to U.K. customers but not yet for existing Funding Circle customers in the U.S. Much of the funding acquired earlier this year in a $65 million round will help Funding Circle expand its operations here in the States. He added that Funding Circle was interested in expanding to other areas beyond the U.S. and the U.K., but the company has not established firm plans.

The LeapPay acquisition was made, in part, to expand Funding Circle’s presence in the United States. “LeapPay started as invoice factoring with a number of pilot customers and a number of interesting origination channels,” Hodges said. “It was attractive to us because it provided Funding Circle with great integration with a number of companies that provide financial information. It’ll help us streamline borrower experience and improve quality of information available. “

Hodges said Funding Circle has been growing rapidly, and especially in the U.S. Funding Circle is on track to process $550 million in loans in the U.S. and U.K. alone, and that it employs 200 people around the world. In April, the company raised $65 million, led by Index Ventures with help from other venture capitalists like Accel Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and Ribbit Capital.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Index Ventures and they led our series A,” Hodges said. “Four months ago, we started talks internally to raise expansion capital. Our U.K. business was growing and our operations in the US was expanding. There was a lot of validation and there were a wide range of folks who were interested, but we ultimately went with Index because Neil Rimer and our other investors are fantastic to work with.”

The decision to raise such a massive round of funding was, in part, to acquire companies. “It was a concerted decision to raise money,” Hodges said. “We want to expand and accelerate our success — by hiring more people, investing in technology that will help us automate more.”

With the Lending Club $500 million IPO slated for 2014, other alternative lenders must be paying close attention to the upcoming public offering. Hodges acknowledge that Lending Club’s IPO will be a watershed moment for the industry, saying, “Lending Club has an interesting position in consumer space and we’ll watching the IPO closely. We think that the IPO speaks to the growing maturity of the space and we’re excited about the prospect, because we carved a unique position in enterprise market.” However, Funding Circle does not have any “immediate plans” for an IPO.

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