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Small Business Lender Funding Circle Raises $150 Million

Like other online lending marketplaces, the company is growing fast, and becoming a magnet for investor cash.

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Another marketplace lender, another massive funding round. The U.K.-based lender Funding Circle has raised $150 million from investors DST Global, run by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, Baillie Gifford, Sands Capital Ventures, Temasek, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, and an investment fund managed by the asset manager BlackRock.

Funding Circle, founded in 2010, has originated over $1 billion of small business loans in the U.S. and the U.K. and is lending some $75 million a month. The company is projecting that it will lend over $1 billion this year. It did not disclose its valuation in today's announcement.

The money will be poured back into the company's operations, including its technology.

Funding Circle expanded to the U.S. in 2013. Like other marketplace lenders, it makes loans and then sells them to investors, collecting fees in the process. Prosper, which lends to individuals, raised $165 million from investors earlier this month, while OnDeck, which makes loans to businesses, raised around $200 million in IPO late last year.

"Small commercial credit is a massive market that's poorly served," Sam Hodges, Funding Circle's U.S. managing director, said in an interview with BuzzFeed News.

Like many quickly growing companies that feed on venture capital, this latest massive round comes soon after another sizable fund raise. The company raised $65 million last year in a round led by venture capital firm Index Ventures.

Funding Circle's loans have terms of up to five years and interest rates between 6% and 21%.

"We're in a fortunate position. We didn't need to raise the money at all; we had a meaningful amount of capital left on the balance sheet," Hodges said. "If we wanted to, we could take the company cash flow positive, but we see the opportunity to accelerate and the opportunity is massive. We want to make sure we can realize that. This makes us one of the best-capitalized marketplace lenders in the world."

Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.

Contact Matthew Zeitlin at matt.zeitlin@buzzfeed.com.

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