LONDON — Online lender Zopa has raised £32 million from two new investors to fund plans to launch its own retail bank.
Indian financial services group Wadhawan Global Capital and European venture capital fund Northzone led the round, both investing in separate deals in recent months.
The investment means Zopa has raised over £80 million in equity funding to date. The company’s last funding round came in January 2014, when it raised £15 million.
Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana said in a statement on Thursday: “This investment gives us additional resources to continue our growth, support the launch of our next generation bank, and bring our award-winning products to even more people in the UK.”
Founded in 2005, Zopa invented the concept of peer-to-peer lending, where retail investors lend money directly to customers looking to borrow. Banks usually sit in the middle of this process. Zopa’s platform has financed over £2 billion
Zopa surprised the market last November by announcing plans to launch a retail bank alongside its core peer-to-peer operation. Janardana said at the time that a banking licence would allow Zopa to offer more choice of products to its customers.
Jeppe Zink, a partner at Northzone, which has also backed the likes of Spotify and iZettle, says in Thursday’s release: “We believe Zopa is a blueprint of what the modern, technology-first bank will, and should look like, based on transparency and customer service. Zopa is already a trailblazer in the market, and is in a strong position to build on this, with the launch of their new products.”
Last month Zopa became the first of the UK’s “Big 3” peer-to-peer lenders to be fully licensed by City watchdog the FCA, although Funding Circle quickly followed.
Zopa’s funding injection means all three of the “Big 3” have now raised money in 2017. Funding Circle raised £82 million in January and RateSetter announced earlier this week that it had secured £13 million.
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