LendingCrowd in top 30 fast-growing tech startups – Interview with CEO Stuart Lunn
Stuart, well done on being named among the top 30 fast-growing tech startups to watch by Tech Nation. What do you think is the main thing that led to this recognition?
“Thank you! I think the Upscale team have recognised the progress we’ve made since we launched in late 2014, and potential we have to really take this business to the next level. It’s also great to see that 20% of the Upscale 4.0 cohort are fintech businesses.”
What does joining the 2019 cohort of Tech Nation's Upscale 4.0 programme mean for LendingCrowd?
“This is further validation of our work in building a sustainable business capable of being scaled in a high-growth sector. We founded LendingCrowd to help bridge the funding gap facing so many small businesses, and the experience gained through Upscale and working with Tech Nation will be invaluable. We are proud to be based in Scotland, so it was pleasing to be selected as the only Scottish company to join this year’s Upscale programme. We hope this paves the way for more great Scottish businesses to be recognised.”
How is your firm transforming from being a start-up to being a scale-up business?
“Since our launch, we’ve always been focused on creating robust in-house infrastructure that can scale and underpin growth. This business is built on solid foundations of technology, financial services and regulatory experience, and we’ve proven the benefits of our business model in terms of enabling hundreds of SMEs to access the finance they need to grow. As we continue to bring in larger funds, we’re able to deliver higher levels of funding – helping our borrowers create more jobs and generating real knock-on benefits for the economy.”
You on-boarded some very high profile collaborators last year on your board and in your marketing team. Are you planning on growing significantly more in 2019?
“We announced the appointment of Sir Sandy Crombie as our Chairman in November, and the following month Darren Cairns joined us as CMO. We hope to announce some more additions to the senior management team as we scale this year. In January alone, we’re advertising for seven roles on our careers page. Our team currently numbers 25 and I expect that figure will be close to 40 by the end of this year.”
What are your plans and objectives for 2019?
“To keep growing our investor and borrower base. We’ve now helped more than 570 businesses access over £50 million in funding, including more than £12 million in Scotland. As we attract more investors looking to make their money work harder, we’ll continue making a positive impact for our vital community of SMEs. We want to be the go-to company for Scottish SMEs that are being failed by traditional lenders.”
What's your view on the future of P2P lending?
“We’ll see increasing levels of institutional money flowing in as the sector matures. Individual investors remain an important part of the mix, and I believe that financial advisers will increasingly recommend this market to their clients as an alternative to traditional savings and investments.”