Funding Circle expands into Europe with rival acquisition

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The unicorn peer-to-peer lending platform has acquired its European rival, Zencap,  in a deal that will see it expand into Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, alongside its existing operations in the UK and US.

The startup has had a particularly strong year: in spring it secured a $150m funding round and was valued at $1 billion. It says that over the last five years it helped 12,000 businesses access more than $1.5 billion of finance in the UK and US.

Zencap, created by Rocket Internet, the German startup builder, also had a strong 2014/2015 outing, lending roughly €35m to over 500 businesses across Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Europe is naturally a very lucrative market, with Funding Circle saying the market opportunity across continent is larger than both the UK and US markets combined, with more than €1 trillion of outstanding loans for small businesses.

“Our vision is to help millions of businesses across the world sidestep the outdated and inefficient banking system and borrow from investors. Today’s news is the next exciting stage of this journey,” said Samir Desai CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle.

He went on to say the deal transforms Funding Circle into a company with a global reach. The makeup of Zencap will remain the same and will continue to be run by the co-founders Matthias Knecht and Christian Grobe under the Funding Circle name. They will now be co-founder and COOs of Funding Circle in Continental Europe.

Grobe echoed Desai’s global sentiment, saying the deal “sees us become a truly global player under the strong Funding Circle brand, allowing us to leverage synergies, professionalize processes and grow even faster”.

The terms of the deal have not be disclosed.

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