Irish peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has partnered with Portugal's Banco BNI Europa to make €50 million available for lending to Irish SMEs over two years.
The digital bank has already linked up with a number of alternative investing platforms across Europe, including with P2P lending platforms in Germany, Belgium and Finland. The partnership with Linked Finance is part of a strategy to work with more platforms in key markets.
Linked Finance uses technology to connect SMEs with lenders who want to support Irish businesses and earn returns. Its community of 19,000 lenders ranges from individuals supporting the endeavours of family and friends to large investment groups.
Linked Finance chief executive Niall Dorrian said the Banco BNI Europa move was great news for Irish SMEs.
“It is yet more evidence of how the world is changing and through technology Linked Finance is making it easier for SMEs to borrow money,” he said. “This arrangement with Banco BNI Europa will allow us to immediately increase lending to local businesses. It complements the funding available from our existing users - ordinary members of the Irish public - who will continue to play a crucial role in helping us to fulfil our mission of providing fast and affordable finance for Ireland’s SME sector.”
The partnership boosts liquidity on the platform, which has loaned more than €59 million to date to Irish businesses.
The bank's executive chairman Pedro Coelho said the partnership with Linked Finance was a natural fit. "Over the past years, we have successfully built a network of strategic partnerships with fast-moving FinTech companies across Europe," he said. "Ireland is a market we have been keen to enter and, as the leading P2P lending platform here, Linked Finance is the obvious partner. We are very excited about the potential of this relationship."
Launched in 2013, Linked Finance has lent more than €50 million to Irish businesses since it was set up. Among the companies that have used the platform to raise funding are Viking Splash Tours, The Rolling Donut, Big Red Cloud, Lolly & Cooks, Murphy's Ice Cream, Iconic Offices and the Irish Fairy Door Company.