New loan opportunity : Lextan Limited

We’re pleased to announce that a new loan is now live on the FundingKnight crowdlending auction site, offering the chance to lend to Lextan Limited.You’ll find full details of the loans and all the usual financial information available on our website, but to wet your appetite, here’s a quick summary:

Loan opportunity:

Lextan Ltd provides professional tanning, fitness and health and beauty products across its six salons in South Wales, the business intends on increasing its salon network and has identified a number of location for expansion.

It needs the funds to expand its salon network across South Wales.

We also have an existing auction running for Red Advertising Limited and another auction will launch imminently.

You can find more details by logging on to www.fundingknight.comand choosing Find a Loan.

Add funds to your account:

You may only place a bid out of available funds in your FundingKnight account. If you need to transfer funds to your account, click here to do this now and go to Add Funds in your My Money account. Remember you can invest as little as £25.

Bid now:

Once funds are added please go to Find a Loan for further details on the business opportunity and to make a bid.

And now you can ask questions:

As part of our continued improvements to the FundingKnight website functionality and user experience we are launching Q&A facility to enable lenders to submit questions to borrowers.  Questions will be sent directly to the borrower.  This facility will help lenders gain the additional information required when making a decision on whether to bid on a loan.

New loan opportunity: Red Advertising Limited

red advertising logoWe’re pleased to announce that a new loan is now live on the FundingKnight crowdlending auction site, offering the chance to lend to Red Advertising Ltd.You’ll find full details of the loans and all the usual financial information available on our website, but to whet your appetite, here’s a quick summary:

Loan opportunity:

Red Advertising Ltd provides cloud based recruitment advertising and candidate management software for recruitment agencies and employers throughout the UK.

It needs the funds to expand its call centre in Cannock.

You can find more details by logging on to www.fundingknight.com and choosing Find a Loan.

Add funds to your account:

You may only place a bid out of available funds in your FundingKnight account. If you need to transfer funds to your account, click here to do this now and go to Add Funds in your My Money account. Remember you can invest as little as £25.

Bid now:

Once funds are added please go to Find a Loan for further details on the business opportunity and to make a bid.

And now you can ask questions:

As part of our continued improvements to the FundingKnight website functionality and user experience we are launching Q&A facility to enable lenders to submit questions to borrowers.  Questions will be sent directly to the borrower.  This facility will help lenders gain the additional information required when making a decision on whether to bid on a loan.

Crowdlending helps North West business grow

scanning machine

Whilst the UK digests the news that Britain may be heading for a triple-dip recession, Secure Archive Solutions are proving that it doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom for the UK’s small businesses. The business is going from strength to strength proving viable businesses throughout the UK need investment for growth.

Mick Collins, Founder of Secure Archive Solutions said,

“It’s great that small businesses like us can find new ways to get the funding we need. We’ve got big plans for the future and know we can grow profitably with the right small business finance in place.  FundingKnight provide a fast, flexible service. Our loan was live on their website within a week and is already nearly 40% funded.”

Secure Archive Solutions credits expansion into new areas such as scanning as being a key source of growth, and are backed by a strategic vision to find innovative ways to help the company grow profitably and sustainably.

Secured Archive Solutions launched a new round of funding on www.fundingknight.com at the end of last week and the loan is already 40% funded, demonstrating a healthy interest from investors.

The loan still has nine days left to run so if you’d like to get involved simply add funds to your FundingKnight account and go to Find a Loan to place a bid.  If you’ve not yet signed up with FundingKnight head over to register as a lender.  It’s entirely free to join, there are no fees for taking part in a loan and you can start lending with an investment of £25 or more.

New crowdlending opportunity: Secure Archive Solutions Ltd.

SAS Ltd logoA new investment opportunity is now live on our website for all registered lenders to bid on.  If you’re already registered with FundingKnight you can log straight into the website to read all about the loan opportunity, review the financial information and, if you wish, place a bid.  If you’re new to crowdlending or not yet signed up with FundingKnight simply go to www.fundingknight.com to sign up as a lender.  You can start investing with £25 and we charge no fees for taking part in a loan.Whilst it’s early for us to predict rate which potential lenders will achieve, our first auction-based loan provided lenders on average with a rate of 9.98% p.a.

New borrower: Secure Archive Solutions Limited

Amount: £50,000

Period: 2 years

Auction duration: 14 days

Based in Altrincham, Cheshire, Secure Archive Systems provides document storage and archive facilities, offering bespoke solutions in the document management service sector, with a turnover of over £400,000 in the last financial year.It needs the funds to extend its storage capability, installing racking in its newly acquired warehouse, building an extension to its vault, and upgrading its IT.

Once registered, you can find more details by logging on to www.fundingknight.com and choosing Find a Loan.

 

Crowdfunding accountants: Invest in abacus Franchising

abacus franchising logo

New loans are now live on the FundingKnight website, offering the chance to start investing in abacus Franchising.

Abacus is a national network of qualified accountants, supporting small businesses in all aspects of accountancy and taxation.

There are two separate auctions providing a chance to invest in British business:

1 – year loan of £20,000

3 – year loan of £30,000

Each loan will be crowdfunded, using the FundingKnight investment community to attract investors.

You can start investing with as little as £25 and peer to peer lending is fee free with FundingKnight.

To lend to British business you need to register as a FundingKnight investor.  Once that’s done, you simply log onto www.fundingknight.com and choose Find a Loan to start investing.

You decide what to invest in, you decide the rate that you want to bid and you have the chance to access your cash whenever you need it by selling or all or part of your investment to a new lender via the FundingKnight loan exchange.

Read about the abacus loans below, or for full financial analysis and information log onto the FundingKnight website.

Business seeking funding: abacus Franchising Company Limited

Loan 1:

Amount: £20,000

Period:  1 year, repayable in 12 installments

Loan 2:

Amount: £30,000

Period:  3 years, with a 3 month repayment holiday

Auction duration:

Fast track auction of up to 14 days, to close when both loans have been filled at the reserve interest rate.

Reason for loan:

Expansion, following new contract awarded by Scania GB.

Business background:

Incorporated in 2004, abacus has developed a national network of qualified accountants who support SME businesses with all aspects of accountancy, taxation and administration functions.  The network has over 3,000 clients. Its collective fee income would make it one of the top 100 accountancy firms in the UK. Abacus is the only national accountancy franchise for qualified accountants approved by the British Franchise Association.

The loan is to provide finance to support the expansion of the business following an award of a new alliance with Scania GB to provide services to its customers.

Find out more, or search for new loan opportunities by registering as an investor with FundingKnight.

Our next online peer to business lending auction: LeisureBench Ltd.

online auction

We are pleased to announce that the next online auction has just gone live on the FundingKnight peer to peer lending website

This time we’re offering our registered lenders the chance to invest in LeisureBench Ltd.  LeisureBench were our first loan customers and have already successfully paid off their first loan.  We are delighted that we can now offer them the benefit of a full live auction process.

You can read more about the investment opportunity below and, if you haven’t already registered as a lender, please do take the time to sign up as a peer to business lender with FundingKnight.  You never know when an opportunity might pop up that’s just too hard to resist…

Business looking for funding: LeisureBench Ltd.

Amount: £50,000

Period: 9 months, with 4 month repayment holiday

Auction duration: 13 days

Reason for loan: Stock purchase – Garden Furniture

Business background:

Established in 2004 as a specialist furniture supplier and garden furniture retailer, LeisureBench has built a niche in importing outdoor furniture and buildings for the commercial sector, particularly the pub and public sectors.

LeisureBench is a fast growing dynamic company able to adapt quickly and efficiently to new trends and markets.  As direct importers with partners in China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, LeisureBench develops its own unique product ranges at very low cost price enabling them to compete at every level.

We lent £110,000 to LeisureBench in January this year, which has been fully repaid. This is the second of three loans we are arranging for LeisureBench to fund stock purchases for the 2013 season.

Add funds to your account:

You will need to allocate the appropriate funds to your account to complete your investment. Log on to FundingKnight and go to Add Funds in your My Money account. Remember you can invest as little as £25.

Bid now

Once funds have been applied to your account (It typically takes 24 hours for the bank to transfer the money) simply go to Find a Loan to find further information on the business and the loan opportunity and to make a bid.


Who does FundingKnight lend to?

As a complete beginner to the world of finance and loans, I am going back to basics again with this post. I want to get right to the very core of what FundingKnight can offer businesses looking for a loan.

Looking at the FundingKnight website, it seems like a very straightforward process but in my mind there must be huge amounts of criteria that you would need to meet before even beginning to think about applying let alone the actual paperwork that organising a business loan must entail.

I am endeavouring to find out more, so I asked FundingKnight a few questions about what their basic principles were behind their lending offer.

FK: We specify the following three points for companies looking to borrow money from us:

  • The business must have at least two years trading history
  • They must be limited companies registered at companies house
  • And finally, they must be UK based businesses with a UK bank account

KK: It all sounds pretty reasonable to me and extremely straightforward, but there must be more things to consider beyond approaching FundingKnight as a legitimate business enterprise? Surely you would want to ensure that you are investing in something that is a sound prospect with a solid financial future? As otherwise couldn’t any old debt ridden business be able to approach yourselves in dire straits?

FK: Yes, that’s completely true, lenders come to FundingKnight to get a good financial return and in our approach, there are three key things we look for and to balance applications against, ensuring we lend to the right companies:

  • Is your business well managed?
  • Are you realistic about risk?
  • Will your business generate enough cash to repay our lenders?

KK: Ah ok, that’s more like it – still, it seems very simple and straightforward and basically clear, common sense which has got to be a good thing.

FK: Yes, we think so and we want to make the process as clear and easy as possible as after all, we want to lend money in the same way that businesses wish to borrow money. It’s a win-win situation!

Many of our lenders also want to give the economy a boost and no doubt as FundingKnight grows many will also use it to lend locally but first and foremost people expect a sound return on their money so it’s important to have some good ground rules governing who can apply.

KK: So you don’t offer loans to start-ups?

FK: No we don’t. That’s not intended to suggest that start-ups aren’t a good investment – some are – it’s just that they typically need a different type of funding and benefit from a different type of investor.

KK: Excellent work. Thanks to FundingKnight for idiot friendly responses and I hope that my ignorance will help other people get involved and take advantage of the clear benefits that FundingKnight offer.

Could a child fund your next business loan?

Monopoly board

How news of a new debit card for children has raised fears for the future of pocket money.

OK, I admit that today’s title is slightly provocative.   After all, it’s not very likely that children will be helping to supply business finance any time soon, but – depending on the nature of your business – they might be some of your online customers and now they won’t even need to badger mum or dad for a debit or credit card number to use.

A story in today’s Guardian tells how children as young as eight will now be able to get their hands on their very own Visa debit card.

The card, developed by PKTMNY is aimed at children who want to shop online, buy certain items on the high street or withdraw cash, although without their parents needing to lend money.

Before too many alarm bells start ringing, I should make clear that parents will be able to set controls to restrict usage and that the card won’t be able to be used to buy alcohol or cigarettes or similar ‘adult-only’ items.

In return for giving their child financial freedom, parents will be asked to pay a £5 joining fee and a monthly membership fee of £1 per child, plus 50p for every cash machine withdrawal carried out in the UK.

Speaking to the Guardian, Mark Timbrell, the company’s founder said, “as a parent I know just how difficult it is to teach children about money, especially as the school curriculum focuses on using cash and visiting banks, neither of which reflect how children see money being used.”

Financial education is an honorable objective, after all, most of us would agree that it’s never to early to start learning the value of money and good financial management but is a plastic card the best way to go?

FundingKnight asked Daniel Britton, author of The Financial Fairy Tales series  what he thought about debit cards for children, here’s his response:

“In my experience initiatives which attempt to teach children about money are most successful if they underpin the mechanics with the key principles such as where money comes from and the implications of spending more than you have. It might seem cute to give an 8 year old a cash card but not if it sets them up for a lifetime of credit card debt”

As a parent, I can see the attraction of letting a child feel independent enough to buy something they’ve saved up for, but I’d worry about severing the ties between hard cash and the things it can buy.

In What’s Mine is Yours, Rachel Botsman shares research carried out by Richard Feinberg, a consumer psychology professor, who studies the influence that credit cards can have on financial decision making.

Amongst other things, Feinberg found that:

  • People who paid by credit card left tips 2% higher than those who paid by cash
  • People who had been exposed to credit card branding bid higher amounts in auctions than their peers who had been exposed.
  • Participants who had agreed to pay for an item by credit card placed bids 113% higher than those who had agreed in advance to withdraw cash for payment
  • Of those who paid by credit card, only 35% could recall the amount

Now, I’m not advocating a return to bartering at the village gates.  Credit cards have their uses and they are part of a healthy financial economy.

I also realise that the new children’s card is a debit card rather than something that extends open lines of credit to children…. but, still, I worry a bit about disconnecting a child from the actual act of parting with money.

If there are no real coins saved up and handed over, does it really have the same benefit for financial education?  Or am I just being over-protective or a barrier to change?

What do you think? Leave us a comment below with your opinion.  Or to help kickstart your own child’s financial education head over to www.financialfairytale.com

A simple guide to peer to business lending: Timescales and security…

So I’m beginning to understand the basic processes and some of the jargon behind crowdlending. As a complete beginner to all this, its not actually as complicated as I first thought.

Last time we established it wouldn’t cost me anything to lend money and invest into FundingKnight. In fact by investing, I would hope to see some returns on my investment. There are no fees to become a peer-to-peer lender and I can set my own interest rates for those to borrow against. On the other side of the process, as a borrower, I would expect to pay between 7 – 12 % interest on a loan I take out plus their arrangement fees (check out www.fundingknight.com for full details). So far, so good. Learning is good.

Now what about timescales? If I lend to FundingKnight, how long would I need to invest my money for? Is there a set amount of time? Or can I access my cash whenever I need it? I asked the bigwigs for some answers…

FK: Our loan exchange will let you sell all or part of your investments on to other people.  So that means you get to combine the benefits of making your cash work harder (than it typically would in an easy access savings account) with access to your money – selling your loan can help you get at your cash if you need it.

KK: so I can basically forward my investment onto someone else and get my money back if I need it. What about security? With all the crazy happenings of the past four years, would my money be protected against an unpredictable market?

FK: The Key difference between crowdlending and bank or building society accounts is that there is no safety net so, however successful crowd lending becomes it will never be the same as putting your money in the bank.  What it does do is offer you a chance to invest in businesses you believe in, support values you want to promote or choose to lend locally within your own community.

In all honesty you shouldn’t use peer to peer lending to invest money you can’t afford to lose but, that said, all of our borrowers have to supply all sorts of financial information and are put through external credit checks in addition to our own in-house analysis.  The FK management teams are investing in all early loans themselves so they have an added incentive to get things right.

KK: Ok, fabulous, I can see how crowdlending makes much more sense to me as someone who tries to live ethically, pursues an active interest in their community and local businesses. It ticks many boxes that you wouldn’t find elsewhere, especially not at a run of the mill high street bank. It seems to me that there is a whole world of opportunity out there that I am beginning to learn about. Stay posted.

Peer to peer lending: Why Borrow from FundingKnight?

As a small business owner it makes sense for me to ask why would I approach FundingKnight rather than a bank to borrow some funds? I struggle to borrow books from the library so a business loan from anywhere seems like a crazy notion to me but many, many people and companies do it all the time so maybe it’s about time I learnt a little bit more about it.

I asked FundingKnight to explain a bit more about the whys, hows and advantages of going down the crowdlending path.

FK: Here’s a simple answer: a lot of banks say no – they have been advised by the government to build up their capital bases (keep more cash in reserve) and that doesn’t fit very well with lending more money out!

KK: What about the process of approaching FundingKnight compared to a bank?

FK: Lots of businesses don’t like the red tape and bureaucracy of banks – we try to treat people likes names not numbers

KK: Are there other advantages that businesses can benefit from?

FK: Flexibility is a big advantage with borrowing from us. Often business loans let you choose build your own loan.

KK: Like a lovely financial menu?

FK: Exactly. You can borrow for any number of months between 6 and 36 (3 years) rather than choosing between 1 or 3 year products, typically on offer. This could save you a lot of money if you have a decent sized loan that you only need for a few months to cover stock purchase.

Even when loan providers don’t charge early repayment penalties, interest is usually charged for the full period of the loan so it always makes sense to borrow for as short a time as possible.

KK: What about if I need to take a break from paying the loan back?

FK: If you want you can take upfront payment holidays, i.e. you don’t start to repay the loan until after the first three months.

KK: That’s fabulous, and great if I needed an initial investment in my top secret manufacturing venture I am currently thinking about. This would be a perfect solution to any cash flow issues that are bound to happen.

FK: Well, perhaps not.  We only lend to Limited Companies who are registered with Companies House and have been trading in the UK for at least 2 years.  We also take quite a close interest in cash flow projections, but good luck anyway!

So my journey into the rather marvelous world of crowdlending continues. There’s still more to learn but the pieces are beginning to come together nicely.