P2P lender Zopa attracts €400m price tag

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
Zopa Group, the peer-to-peer lender that is one of Britain's fastest-growing fintech companies, is in advanced talks with investors about a fundraising that will value it at up to ?400m.
Sky News has learnt that‎ Zopa is close to finalising a €50m funding round that will take the total sum it has raised since launching in 2005 to well over €125m.
Sources said the latest equity funding was likely to be led by existing shareholders including Wadhawan Global Capital, an India-based investor, although discussions with prospective new backers are also continuing.The new funding, which will propel Zopa into the ranks of the UK's biggest fintech start-ups, is intended to serve as a pre-IPO round of money, meaning it is likely to pursue a public listing of its shares in the next couple of years.The company plans to use the new money to support regulatory requirements relating to the launch of a "next generation bank", which it has so far declined to discuss in detail.On Thursday, the company announced that it was creating separate boards for its pee‎r-to-peer (P2P) and banking arms as part of a corporate governance shake-up.Among the newly recruited directors to the bank board are Richard Goulding, a former Standard Chartered chief risk officer, and Peter Herbert, a former chief executive of the less successful UK fintech company Tandem.Christine Farnish, a board member at the water and e‎nergy regulators, is to become chairman of Zopa's P2P board.Sources said that Zopa Group's chairman, Giles Andrews, planned to step back from the company in due course and was unlikely to be more than peripherally involved in a future IPO.
Mr Andrews described the new directors as "another major building block in our ambition to make Zopa the best place for its customers' money".Zopa's last funding round, just under a year ago‎, involved raising €32m from investors including Wadhawan and Northzone, a prominent European venture capital investor.While its new round will catapult it up the ranks of Britain's biggest fintech companies, it will remain much smaller in valuation terms than Revolut, which is close to finalising new funding, and TransferWise, the payments app.Last year, Zopa became the first big peer-to-peer lender to be authorised by the City regulator, breaking a logjam which had threatened to undermine the sector's development.Peer-to-peer lenders provide a direct link between consumer savers and borrowers, tempting customers with generally more competitive interest‎ rates.
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The company has issued more than €3bn in consumer loans since its launch.Zopa declined to comment on its forthcoming funding round.
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