Linked Finance hits €200m milestone in lending to SMEs

Posted by on 21st September 2022


Linked Finance hits €200 Million milestone in lending to SMEs

  • €200 million in lending since its inception in 2013.  
  • Linked Finance lending to Irish SMEs more than doubled in under 2 years despite Covid 
  • Over 3,300 Irish SMEs have now funded by the platform
  • Forecasting to lend €100m in 2024 
  • Lenders on the platform have earned more than €19.4m in interest since 2013 
  • Linked Finance platform now has over 28,000 registered users on the platform.
Linked Finance, the fastest growing new lender to Irish SMEs, has hit the milestone of lending over €200m since its launch. The SME lender has doubled its annual lending levels in less than 2 years, despite Covid, and is forecasting to lend €100m to SMEs by 2024. Schoolbooks.ie is one of the first SME businesses that borrowed through Linked Finance to grow. Pictured (L to R): Andy Byrne, co-founder, Schoobooks.ie; Niall O’Grady, Chief Executive, Linked Finance.

 Linked Finance, the fast growing alternative lender to Irish SMEs, has hit the milestone of lending over €200m since its launch. It took the lender 6 years to reach the first €100m in annualised lending in 2024, as banks tighten their risk or exit the market completely.

Companies borrowing through the platform are attracted by the fast pace of decision making, with end-to-end process from initial application to receipt of funding taking as little as 24 hours.

Linked Finance has now provided 3,300 loans to ambitious local businesses in every county in Ireland. Strong demand for loans this year across retail, transport and construction were supported by Linked Finance expanding its product portfolio through the introduction of its new Merchant Cash Advance in February 2022 and increasing the maximum loan size to €500,000 in May.

This followed a successful participation in the Government Credit Guarantee Scheme in which Linked Finance was able to deploy over €30m in loans to businesses affected during the pandemic.

Linked Finane demonstrates that the peer to peer lending model works and offers excellent returns to retail investors who have earned more that €19.4m in interest and typically earn annualised returns more than 8% across a diversified portfolio of on average 50 loans. 

Some key recent trends for Linked Finance include:

  • Supporting Irish SMEs throughout COVID with access to the loans under the credit Guarantee Scheme   
  • Launching the Open Banking credit application process for SMEs eliminating the need for paperwork 
  • Launching Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) to allow businesses to unlock daily cashflow from card payments as a source of finance
  • Expanding lending from €300,000 – €500,000

The next 12 months will see continued focus on digitisation and automation further enhancing the offering to both investor and borrowers with better decision times, faster access to their accounts, enhanced offerings supported by open banking capabilities.

Lending over the last 9 years has focused on the capital and major cities: Dublin (€72m), Cork (€17m), Galway (€8m), and Limerick (€7m). Other counties of high demand including those surrounding Dublin – Meath (€10m), Kildare (€10m) and Wicklow (€8m) – also Wexford (€7m), Tipperary (€7m) and Kerry (€5m).

Commenting on the €200m milestone, Niall O’Grady, CEO of Linked Finance said: 

“Hitting the €200m milestone in loans clearly demonstrates the success of a simple, fast SME lending model. This is particularly important when the banks are either too slow for SMEs or leaving the country completely. Our platform regularly connects Irish SMEs with retail lenders who recognise their enormous potential and want to invest in them. Linked Finance is introducing new products and increasing limits on existing loans to ensure we stay ahead of the banks. We pride ourselves on providing a model that is efficient and transparent, allowing Irish businesses to take control of their finances and meet their objectives”.
Niall O' Grady
CEO, Linked Finance

At present, 57% of business loans issued bu Linked Finance are to repeat customers, with a strong return rate. Schoolbooks.ie is one of Linked Finance’s original borrowers, having taken multiple loans that it has used to grow and scale its business. 

“Linked Finance has been our go-to stocking loans provider in recent years. When we needed to scale up art & craft supplies and school-book stock to meet homeschooling demands during the lockdown they were there to provide the finance we needed. The process of raising the funds is quick and easy to understand with minimal paperwork and bureaucracy. This has allowed us to match our requirements with the needs of the customer and grow our operations at the right pace.”
Andy Byrne
Schoolbooks.ie

With €200 million in funding already provided to local businesses and a growing list of happy clients, Linked Finance is primed to continue its growth and presence in the Irish market. Notable companies that have raised funding with Linked Finance in the past include The Rolling Donut, Kokoro Sushi Bento, Lolly & Cooks, Murphy’s Ice Cream and the Irish Fairy Door Company. 

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