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Funding Circle Taps PayPal Talent Ahead Of IPO

Alternative small business lending company Funding Circle has announced a strategic hire as the company moves closer to its initial public offering (IPO).

In an announcement this week, Funding Circle said Bernardo Martinez has been hired as the company’s U.S. managing director. He follows Sam Hodges, who will shift into the position of chairman of Funding Circle USA, the company said.

Martinez most recently served as head of U.S. small business lending at PayPal, and has also held positions at Banco Dominicano del Progreso and Bank of America.

“Bernardo’s deep experience and knowledge of small businesses in the U.S. makes him the perfect fit for one of our fastest growing markets,” said Funding Circle CEO and co-founder Samir Desai in a statement. “I am delighted he has joined the team to spearhead our next stage of growth. These are exciting times for Funding Circle in the U.S. Over the last five years, we have established ourselves as the largest small business loans platform, and we have ambitious plans for the future.”

In its announcement of the new hire, Funding Circle said it has facilitated more than $1 billion in loans to U.S. businesses since 2017. Half of that occurred in 2017 alone, the firm added.

“I have been impressed by Funding Circle’s accomplishments for small business around the world,” Martinez said. “They are doing more than just building a category-leading financial technology company. They are building a better financial world by supporting small businesses to grow, in turn creating jobs and revitalizing our communities.”

News of Martinez’s hire follows reports earlier this month in Bloomberg, which cited an unnamed source who revealed that Funding Circle has chosen Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Numis Corp. to aid its IPO in the U.K. Its float on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) could be the largest by a U.K. FinTech, reports said, with some analysts estimating valuation could be as high as $2.77 billion.

Funding Circle plans to list on the LSE in the second or third quarter of this year, reports noted.

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