Plend, the UK’s first social lending marketplace, has secured £700,000 of investment from early-stage VC’s Tomahawk, Ascension, and Haatch, as well as backing from NBS Ventures, a part of Nationwide Building Society’s Incubator. The investment will be used to disrupt the £24 billion consumer lending market and bring affordable loans to 13 million people in the UK with unreliable, inaccurate or non-existent credit files who are virtually invisible to traditional financial credit scoring systems and therefore vulnerable to financial hardship and exclusion.
Plend’s ground-breaking use of Open Banking technology to securely access a person’s bank transaction history gives it a unique understanding of a person’s finances. This means more insightful, informed and personalised lending decisions. Plend’s innovative approach will enable retail investors to become ‘Lending Heroes’ by funding loans to those of us that are part of the 13 million who are locked-out from affordable credit. Plend is the only platform in the UK that allows everyday investors to back people directly, making faceless portfolios a thing of the past.
Rob Pasco, CEO and co-founder of Plend, said: “We’re on a mission to personalise credit scoring and create a fairer way to assess creditworthiness. By making smarter lending decisions based on a person’s actual behaviour and current financial position, we will be giving financial independence to millions of people currently excluded from life-changing loans. I’m one of the ‘13 million’ and I have a deeply personal experience with the blunt instrument that is our current outdated and odious credit scoring system. This investment is a big step towards creating a world where everyone is treated fairly and can access affordable finance.”
The consequences of financial exclusion are widespread and can severely affect people’s health, housing, education and career. According to the Financial Inclusion Commission, over 13 million people in the UK are held back by a lack of affordable credit with 5.8 million people having ‘thin’ or non-existent credit files that makes them virtually invisible to the financial system and vulnerable to a spiral of dangerous debt. Plend is a fairer way to assess an individual’s creditworthiness; removing bias, fighting exclusion and building a more equal world based on people’s actual financial behavior.
Image: James Pursaill, CTO and co-founder (right) and Rob Pasco, CEO and co-founder of Plend (left)
James Pursaill, CTO and co-founder of Plend, added: “Financial wellbeing is crucial to living a happy and healthy life. Whether you’re young or retired, returning expat or immigrant, unbanked or just trying to make ends meet, we’re determined to better understand your financial situation and offer a more affordable loan so you can get on and do more with your life. We’re also excited to be building a community of retail investors who want their money to have an impact and make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Jeremy Luzinda, Investor at Haatch, added: “We are thrilled to be supporting Plend at this time. The team have spotted a gap in the market through its use of Open Banking to create a proprietary credit scoring mechanism to make loans more accessible to all. Plend is a social lending marketplace that brings value to both lenders and borrowers and offers far better rates than others around. We are excited to work with the team as they start their journey.”
Connor Benoit Milner, Investor at Tomahawk, commented: “Plend shares our vision that financial services should be available to anyone, anywhere and at any time. We are excited to team up with Plend in order to disrupt traditional credit scoring and make low-interest loans more widely accessible.”
Emma Steele, Investment Director at Ascension, said: “Plend’s business model is based on building a more humane and ethical credit environment, which aligns with Fair By Design fund’s thesis. We are excited to be part of their journey and back this innovative and mission driven social lending marketplace, focusing on making credit, fundamentally, more inclusive.”
People can pre-register to gain early access to Plend with the full service due to launch in early 2022.