Make way for another large fintech investment out of Europe. Funding Circle, the London-based peer-to-peer lending platform that lets small businesses connect with investors willing to lend them money, has raised another $100 million in funding of its own, led by Accel with participation from other previous investors Baillie Gifford, DST Global, Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Rocket Internet, Sands Capital Ventures, Temasek and Union Square Ventures.

The startup says that this is the largest funding round for a financial tech company out of Europe since April 2015 (a record set by none other than Funding Circle itself, which raised $150 million that month). All in all, 2017 appears to be starting on a funding roll for the fintech sector: just this week, mobile payments startup iZettle announced a $63 million raise; and CompareEuropeGroup raised $21 million.

This latest round, a Series F, brings the total raised by Funding Circle to around $375 million.

On one hand, the company itself has been growing at a rapid clip. In 2016, some £1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) was lent globally (it has operations in Europe and the U.S.; the U.K., which is now profitable for the company, is its biggest market, Desai said). And of that, £400 million came in Q4 alone, working out to 90 percent year-on-year growth.

On the other hand, Funding Circle didn’t actually need the money, but this is a critical time for lending startups, given some of the scandal we’ve seen around some like Lending Club and Wonga.

Currently, Funding Circle works with some 60,000 individual accredited investors on its platform — including individuals, local and national governments, the European Investment Bank and financial institutions such as pension funds — which have loaned to some 25,000 businesses. The intention is to build this out to also include retail investors, Desai said. As for returns, he said that in the U.K. the company has paid out more than £100 million, working out to an annual return of 7 percent.

As for what Funding Circle will do next as a business, the plan is to continue growing in its own markets, and perhaps acquire operations in other markets as a route to expanding to new places, which is how Funding Circle entered the U.S. when it acquired Endurance Lending Network in 2013.

via -TechCrunch

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