Jeremy Davies Betancourt, Founder/CFO; Kristjan Koik, Founder/Managing Director; Oli Cavanagh, Founder/CCO, Flender
In our Ones to Watch section, we highlight some of the top movers and shakers in Ireland. This week we feature Flender.
What is it?
Flender is a ‘smart’ crowd finance platform which raises growth finance for SMEs along with some extra ‘value-add’.
The value-add is that Flender also brings in new customers for its borrowers, while increasing loyalty from existing customers of the businesses running crowd finance campaigns on the platform.
It’s the only peer-to-peer lender that focuses on relevant crowds for each fundraising campaign, which founder Oli Cavanagh calls ‘targeted crowdfunding’.
Flender has funded around 30 Irish businesses with more than €1M in the second half of 2017 giving an average of 10% return to its lenders, and in just six months Flender has attracted lenders from 27 countries who are investing in Irish businesses alongside the local targeted lending crowd.
Who’s behind it?
Oli Cavanagh (ex. ChangingWorlds, Brite:Bill), Kris Koik (INSTACOACH, DOCLINK) and Jeremy Davies Betancourt (DELL Financial Services), and the board is led by Philip Grant (Founder of Farrel Grant Sparks, now Grant Thornton).
The company has a number of high-profile investors including Mark Roden from Ding and Jonathan Quin from World First.
How is it funded?
Mostly through crowdfunding, fittingly enough. Flender was the first Irish FinTech to achieve equity crowdfunding success when it raised €590,000 in January 2017. In addition, it raised €400,000 from its own user base in a convertible loan note offering in December 2017 (see https://flender.ie/campaigns/834).
The company is lean (eight people in Dublin) and close to break-even.
The Irish market is very attractive to Flender and to its lenders who are earning great returns, and the founders believe they have a proven product and proposition to roll out in other markets.
Flender is the first Irish peer-to-peer flender to be awarded FCA authorisation for the UK and will expand there when the expanded team is in place, for which they are seeking €2 million in equity funding. The founders have identified around half of that already and are inviting other investors to join this round with a view to completing in Q1 2018.
In addition, the company is seeking up to €50 million in debt funding to fund the pipeline and accelerate growth.
Business & Finance, Ones to Watch
Business & Finance, in association with Comtrade Digital Services, recognises Ireland’s most dynamic emerging businesses in ‘Ones to Watch’.
Ireland is alive with a vibrant start-up scene and the entrepreneurs featured are shaping the country’s economic landscape.