Britain is honouring the founder of one its hottest fintech businesses

Funding CircleFunding CircleFunding Circle’s co-founders, from left, Andrew Mullinger, Samir Desai, and James Meekings.

Fintech, or financial technology, is so hot that its even attracting the attention of the Royal Family.

On Wednesday night, the Queen’s annual New Year’s Honours list was published, and included one of Britain’s biggest fintech stars.

Samir Desai, one of the co-founders, and the current CEO of fintech “unicorn” Funding Circle, has been awarded a CBE by Buckingham Palace.

In the list, Desai is described as a “Peer to Peer and Financial Inclusion Innovator.” His award is “for services to Financial Services.”

A CBE, short for Commander of the Order of the British Empire, is one of the UK’s most prestigious awards, and sits just one rung below a knighthood in the order of heraldry in the UK. CBEs are usually given to long established business leaders, and politicians, so to be awarded the honour in your early 30s is pretty impressive.

Neither of Desai’s co-founders, Andrew Mullinger, and James Meekings, have been given an honour.

The honour caps off a pretty good week for Funding Circle in general. On Tuesday, the company surpassed £1 billion ($1.5 billion) in total lending to British businesses through its platform, after just five years of existence.

Funding Circle has had a rapid rise since it launched in 2010. It has already expanded its operations into both the USA, and Europe, and, according to a recent interview with Business Insider, the company’s bosses want to be lending $100 billion a year.

As well as recognising the rising importance of fintech, the New Year’s Honours list provided loads of good news for businesses, and entrepreneurs in general. These are some of the prominent business leaders given awards in the Honours:

  • Ian Dormer, former Institute of Directors chairman — Knighthood
  • Carolyn McCall, EasyJet CEO — Made a Dame
  • Jacqueline Gold, CEO of Ann Summers — CBE
  • Anthony Preston, founder of Pets at Home — CBE
  • Amanda Boyle, CEO of Bloom Venture Capital — OBE
  • Giles Andrews, co-founder and CEO of Zopa — OBE

You can see the full list of honours on the government’s website.

Business Insider has reached out to Samir Desai for comment on his award, and will update this story if, and when we hear back.


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