Unilend, a Paris-based crowdlending platform, announced it has received an investment of €2.5mln from the French seeder NewAlpha Asset Management.
This is the second equity investment the peer-to-business (P2B) lender to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) receives in a year and a half. The first round amounted to €8 million and was provided from Ventech, Bpifrance and 360 Capital Partners.
Unilend was founded in 2013 and has a community of 10 600 active individual and institutional lenders in France. It provides small unsecured loans and so far has funded 270 French SMEs acorss all sectors. In July 2016 Unilend became the first platform to raise €20 million through P2P lending only.
According to a recently published report of the Cambridge University, in 2015 France was the second-largest European crowdfunding market after the UK, with a volume of €319 million and 49 platforms.
According to estimates of NewAlpha, the annual lending needs of France’s SMEs is around €90 billion.
“Welcoming a major investor such as NewAlpha to our capital is an acknowledgement of our commercial and technological success and a proof of the strength of our credit analysis model,” said Unilend CEO and Founder Nicolas Lesur. “NewAlpha’s investment confirms the validity of Unilend’s strategic choices and the growth potential of the platform among institutional investors.”
“A platform’s quality is determined based on the quality of the loans originated online and its ability to handle substantial transactions, while also developing a proactive relationship with its community of lenders and borrowers,” said Lior Derhy, Managing Director responsible for Private Equity at NewAlpha. “Unilend offers all of these aspects, together with a team, shareholders and technology able to ensure its development, in particular among institutional investors.”
Subscribed by institutional investors, in particular the Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe Group, the fund managed by NewAlpha aims to build and enhance a diversified investment portfolio in innovative Fintech and Insurtech companies.
Since its launch in November 2015, the venture fund has invested in two other fintech companies. In March this year NewAlpha invested €2.3 million in the capital of Heoh – a platform allowing users to make donations through payment terminals and in June invested €1.5m in the capital of ITrust, specialized in cyber security solutions.