Spotcap to enter the UK market

The MPL, backed by Rocket Internet and Kreos Capital, provides finance to SMEs through its online platform and is already active in the Netherlands, Spain and Australia.

Marketplace lender (MPL) Spotcap is to begin operating in the UK.

The online lender, which provides loans of up to £150,000 ($186,600; €167,400) to small and medium-sized enterprises, is expanded its services to the UK, a move that Spotcap chief executive Jens Woloszczak described as a “milestone” in the development of the firm.

Established in 2014, the firm is already active in the Netherlands, Australia and Spain, where the platform was first launched.

Backed by Berlin-based incubator Rocket Internet, the firm has raised £56 million in equity and £45 million in debt, including a commitment of £5 million from London-based Kreos Capital.

“Our goal is to enable SMEs to embrace growth opportunities. We do this by offering credit lines to small businesses in markets that need alternative funding solutions,” Woloszczak said.

Heading up the firm’s UK base is Niels Turfboer, managing director at the firm. Before joining Spotcap, he was head of investor development at MarketInvoice and has held positions at Dutch banks ABN Amro and ING.

Despite the uncertainty in the UK economy at the prospect of Brexit, Turfboer said that the opportunities in the market are still there. “Spotcap understands Britain is ‘open for business’. The underlying dynamics of the economy are unchanged and capital will be needed to make the most of the opportunities in turbulent times.”

MPLs have been under the spotlight in the UK this year following concerns expressed by the former chairman of the now defunct Financial Services Authority Lord Adair Turner and Conservative MP Chris Philp about the viability of the business model. In the November issue of PDI, Philp affirmed his backing of a pari passu proposal for the MPL model – where firms will be required to include portions of the loans they originate on their own balance sheets.

The Financial Conduct Authority launched a consultation into the sector in July and a final report is expected by the end of the year, Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition at the regulator, confirmed at the recent LendIt conference held in London.