German SME lender creditshelf Aktiengesellschaft has launched a debt fund for institutional investors, with the European Investment Fund acting as a cornerstone investor.
The creditshelf Loan Fund is seeking €150 million to provide senior financing to SMEs and companies in the lower-mid-cap segment in Germany, with loans originated via creditshelf’s online platform.
The vehicle is closed-ended and available to qualified investors. It will aim to invest in more than 150 loans to SMEs and invest alongside the institutional investors already supporting creditshelf’s platform.
A cornerstone investment of €30 million has been provided by the EIF using resources from the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the main pillar of the Juncker Plan.
EIF said creditshelf is the first online lending platform specifically focused on the German market that it has looked to support and that its investment was made following a thorough commercial and risk review process.
Under a new investment programme for debt funds within the Juncker Plan, called “Private Credit Tailored for SMEs”, the EIF is looking to invest in diversified pools of SME credit supporting its mandate to foster the capital markets across the EU.
EIF chief executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “Our co-operation with creditshelf – with the support of the Juncker Plan – demonstrates Europe’s strong commitment to improving access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses in Europe. This will also help to strengthen the alternative private credit market in Germany, which is still lagging behind compared to some other EU economies.”
Daniel Bartsch, creditshelf founding partner and COO, added: “We are very glad to welcome the EIF as an additional investor providing credit funding to our SME clients. Convincing a renowned investor like the EIF demonstrates the quality of our platform and our data-driven credit selection and origination process.”
The firm hopes the backing of EIF will help to pull in additional investors to help its reach its €150 million target.