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Funding Circle’s $1.5B Breakthrough

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Funding Circle hit a major milestone just in time for the New Year.

According to reports in the Financial Times on Tuesday (Dec. 29), the alternative lending platform has now reached the £1 billion mark in small business loans (about $1.48 billion) since its 2010 launch.

“Over the last five years, the Funding Circle marketplace model has proved to be a more efficient way for businesses to access the finance they need to grow and expand,” the company’s U.K. managing director and co-founder James Meekings told the publication, adding that more than 12,000 U.K. businesses had used Funding Circle services during that time.

It’s been a year of milestones for Funding Circle, with 2015 also being the year it became the first P2P lender to float a fund. The company raised more than $227 million in November by floating its SME Income Fund on the London Stock Exchange. Other alternative lenders are now planning similar moves, according to reports.

The year was also a time of change for Funding Circle. The company decided to overhaul its business model in September, shifting from an auction model for small business loans to a fixed rate model.

The change was announced in a letter to investors, reports said at the time, adding that loans would be first-come, first-serve.

“Once you bid, there is no way other investors can knock your bid out with a lower interest rate, which means you don’t have to bid multiple times on a loan. Subject to the business accepting the loan, your bid will be successful,” the company explained.

According to the Financial Times, Funding Circle’s latest achievement is proof of the rising popularity of the alternative lending space for small businesses. Reports added that the platform anticipates a threefold increase of its sales, and expects its U.K. operations to yield a profit in 2016.

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