FundingKnight review and some more media mentions…

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As another loan successfully closes, this time giving Secure Archive Solutions the funds it needs to expand, it’s good to see that the word is spreading about how crowdlending can help boost business finance here in the UK.

TheBusinessDesk.com reported our recent P2P business loan to Secure Archive Solutions

We also got a mention on one of the Guardian blogs, courtesy of Modwenna Rees-Mogg who mentioned FundingKnight in her post about why crowdfunding is increasingly popular for SME financing

 

FundingKnight launch reviews:

Via the blog at p2pmoney: Launch of FundingKnight

P2PMoney founder, Ian Gurney, wrote:

“Looking at the website, it is well designed with clear graphics and colour schemes.”

 

On the wiseclerk.com P2P Banking website: FundingKnight launches auctions

 

Thanks to everyone who’s helping to shout about what we’re doing at FundingKnight.

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.


A Crowdlending Journey Begins…

Allow myself to introduce myself… my name is Katie Kennedy and I live on planet ignorant. There. I’ve said it and it feels good, thanks for listening.

Now just to get this straight, I don’t inhabit said world of ignorance all the time, it does however certainly apply when it comes to talking about the world of economics, business and investment. It would be true to say I have extensive knowledge of certain, extremely useful things. For example; I like to think I could sing you almost all of Belle & Sebastian’s back catalogue and equally you could test me on reciting large chunks of 1980s John Cusack movies word for word (go on, try me…) So yes, like I said, all useful stuff.

And yet surprisingly, the world of finance, investments, peer-to-peer lending, crowdlending, crowdfunding, kickstarting, starting-up, peer-to-crowd kicklending (and any other terms you may wish to insert here) still eludes me and I am fiercely illiterate in this language. I have no background, experience or helpfully stashed away knowledge to conveniently mine. I know little about what FundingKnight does or certainly could do. I am, you may say, an idiot in the land that you reside, the land I like to call Moneyland.

So while I may be an outsider in your lavishly funded Moneyland, I feel as thought it’s my responsibility, nay, my duty to endeavor to break down knowledge barriers, decipher jargon and become curious about financial practices. Systems that in fact would be incredibly useful to know and become acquainted with to lots of ordinary non-money minded folk who, by all accounts, can benefit hugely from what FundingKnight does and could, potentially, do for them.

I therefore agree to take on the weighty mantle of the economically ignorant and aim to translate what FundingKnight does, what they invest in and whom they lend to.

So please, join me on my crowdlending journey and as I learn a bit more, it’ll hopefully help answer some questions that us newbies need to understand and could actually benefit from. And in return for your esteemed company, I promise wholeheartedly not to sing.

We like… West Country Radio

One of the reasons we set up our crowdlending business was to provide a way for people to invest in the things that are important to them. You see a business model you like, an ethical standpoint you admire or simply a gap in the market and then invest into a company that fits with your beliefs. You have the power to make good things happen.

As we build up our business we hope to make that dream a reality but in the meantime, we’re keen to help local causes in whatever way we can.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at business models we admire, want to be involved in or just think are worth sharing. We’ll also follow progress as these companies grow, taking our readers, lenders and investors on a virtual journey.

First out the bag is West Country Radio. Just launched on 13 August 2012, their business is a not-for-profit radio station aimed at promoting the south-west, increasing tourism and promoting businesses, resorts and events. It is a local business aimed at improving the lives of local people.

Its uniqueness comes in the form of how the radio station is broadcast. All presenters broadcast from home studios, transmitting their shows live and pre-recorded. This of course reduces costs enormously and allows money acquired by the station to be used on other things such as marketing and promotion.

What’s more, the station is completely run and produced by volunteers, minimising costs and providing fantastic volunteer opportunities, internships and training for people keen to get involved and learn about how a radio station works.

Opportunities like these are incredibly valuable for a local community and are applicable to all ages, from young people looking to gain experience for the future through to retired volunteers looking to give something back in their spare time.

Whilst relying on volunteers and therefore reducing overheads considerably, West Country Radio are also looking for funders, advertisers and sponsors to aid and increase capacity and grow the station’s listenership. The hyper-local nature of the station means that local businesses and events would benefit enormously from getting involved in the station whilst also helping out in the early stages of growth and helping to benefit the local area.

Local ventures such as West Country Radio are exactly what Funding Knight want to promote. Sometimes, we’ll help by providing business finance via our crowdlending model, and when that’s not viable we’ll help spread the word about local people committed to helping local people. We believe life is about more than just business, it’s about getting back to the roots of community and the warm fuzzy glow you can get as a result.

Small business funding: Who really provides it?

One of the FundingKnight team recently stumbled across this great video from The Kauffman Foundation.  It’s called “Money Game” and sets out to answer the question, where exactly do young companies get their business funding from?

Well, it might surprise you to know that over half of young companies don’t need any external funding at all.  Over 50% rely on founder savings and then positive cash flow from the business to keep the growth wheels turning.

Of those who do need to tap up others for cash, the list goes something like this according to the Kauffman Foundation…

Credit cards – The single biggest source of business funding after founder savings

Family & friends – Once you’ve exhausted your own savings, next stop is your family and friends who know and trust you and want to help you succeed.

Banks – The video makes a good point that despite the facts that banks steal most of the attention when it comes to small business loans, they actually provide relatively few – you see the businesses that it makes sense for banks to lend to are quite often not the same ones that want to borrow… it’s a catch-22.

Venture Capitalists – VC funding hits the headlines every time a Google or Facebook floats but again, the reality doesn’t quite live up to the hype.  Less than 20% of the fastest growing companies in the US took no VC money at all.

Angel investors, new finance – This is where peer to business lending comes in.  There is a growing trend towards more people lending smaller amounts directly…. if you want to join in, sign up to stay in touch with FundingKnight

Thanks to the Kauffman Foundation for letting us share their video.

About The Kauffman Foundation It is the largest foundation in the US devoted to entrepreneurship.  “Every individual that we can inspire, that we can guide, that we can help to start a new company, is vital to the future of our economic welfare” said founder, Ewing Kauffman.

You can find “Money Game” and many other Kauffman sketchbooks to share here

Peer to business lending with FundingKnight… more than just a romantic notion

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My last post broached the subject of small business loans and the role that credit checks and scoring systems play when it comes to loans for business.  It was great to receive some comments in reply and one of them – pasted below – really got me thinking…

“Peer to business lending is based on everyday savers lending to everyday businesses” – This is a romantic notion. The reality is that a) Saver/Lenders do it to get a better rate of return and b) Getting a P2P loan requires that you pass some of the most stringent credit check criteria out there. Credit scores are there for a reason and while the system may not be perfect and could benefit from refinement, implementing something with even a small element of subjectivity or human interaction would be logistically very difficult and make it impossible to be consistent I imagine. I’m afraid I think what we have may be as good as it gets for now.

Sean O’Farrell

So – peer to business lending – Is it part of a wave of new finance that’s genuinely trying to shake up business funding in the UK… or is it really nothing more than a romantic notion?

It’s a valid question to ask.

After all, it’s easy for new entrants to criticise the status quo.  It’s tempting to get carried away in the quest to be different…

But actually, when it comes to the crunch, I really do think that peer to business lending is about more than financial performance, more than simple greed.

Of course, the figures have to stack up for both sides.  Savers do – quite rightly – want a better return on their hard earned cash and borrowers – understandably – want to get the business funding they need on the best terms possible.

But beyond that, all of us want to feel like we’re doing the right thing.

When faced with the choice of investing in unknown stocks and shares in unknown locations vs. the opportunity to lend to hand-picked British businesses, many people would opt for the latter.

There is a huge movement to support local communities, there’s a huge movement to invest in local trade.  That’s not romantic, that’s a reality.

If the global financial crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we need greater visibility about what our money is funding and how that investment is performing.  There is a growing band of people who want to invest in tangible businesses they can touch and feel… and through peer to business lending we hope to be able to help them invest locally.

History shows that greed is rarely the path to happiness.  Neither is a willingness to accept that what we have now is as “good as it gets”.

People want to protect their savings and feel like they are doing the right thing.  People want to help the British economy recover.  People want to be able to be an equal partner in setting the terms on which they borrow and people want to control their finances.

Those notions aren’t romantic and they aren’t unrealistic.  They’re evidenced by campaigns such as Move Your Money, they’re demonstrated by the willingness of customers to support their local high street or pay more for locally sourced, organic produce and they will become the reality with the growth of peer to business lending.

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