Dublin-based crowdfunding facilitator Linked Finance has hit the €5m milestone in peer-to-peer lending pledges to SMEs.
The money raised to date — the company was only launched in March of last year — has helped businesses across the country in various sectors including retail, manufacturing, education, distribution, professional services, engineering, and agriculture.
The business has the backing of Enterprise Ireland and a wide range of entrereneurs, including Bobby Kerr and senator Feargal Quinn, and allows borrowers to access cash flow from a pool of potential lenders.
Yesterday, founder Peter O’Mahony called the €5m mark “a key milestone in our own growth”.
“But, more importantly,” he added, “in the continuing confidence in peer-to-peer lending in Ireland.
“With the economy in growth mode again, companies of all sizes are focusing again on their capital investment. Crucially, they need to move rapidly to avail of opportunities in their markets and traditional lending is simply too slow.”
Linked Finance plans to help over 5,000 SMEs to the tune of €250m over the next three years and has plans to lend at least €30m in 2015.
“As well as speed of loan turnaround, peer-to-peer lending provides complete transparency to both the lender and borrower combined with safety via a very rigorous check on the business plan of companies seeking to borrow,” said Mr O’Mahony.
“Banks, while still a traditional source of business lending, cannot react with the speed of turnaround that companies need in the current marketplace.
“Linked Finance bridges that gap and brings the added advantage of creating a community of active investors in Ireland’s recovery and the companies we have worked with across the country can attest to this.”
As well as helping established Irish SME businesses to grow, the pledges made via Linked Finance’s online channel have stimulated more than 900 direct jobs in the Irish economy and is now viewed as being a real alternative to traditional business lending.
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