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France Alt-Lender Catches VCs’ Attention

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Alternative lending has been popular among venture capitalists, but France may not come to mind when one considers the top alt-fin markets of the world. Unilend may help to change that.

The French alternative lending startup announced a $2.8 million investment round secured from NewAlpha Asset Management, reports said on Friday (Sept. 9). It marks NewAlpha’s third FinTech investment from its fund launched in Nov. 2015.

“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.”

According to reports, Unilend’s platform works with 10,600 lenders and became the nation’s first alternative lending platform to surpass €20 million ($22.5 million) raised. It hit that milestone last July.

France may not be the largest alternative finance market in the world, but as a whole, Europe’s alternative finance market is strong. Last year, analysts found the EU’s alternative lending market to have doubled its valuation compared to 2014 levels. While the U.K. came in first among EU markets in terms of alternative lending valuation, France came in second place, with a valuation of about $173 million.

That’s just a fraction of U.K. levels, however.

The data was released by the University of Cambridge and Ernst & Young last year.

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