The P2P lending service Bondora raised US$5 million (about €4.5 million) from the US-based investment firm, Valinor Management.
Bondora, based in Tallinn, is a peer-to-peer (P2P) online loan service in which the loans are funded directly by investors. The company started in 2008 as Sõbralaen and launched under the same brand in February 2009, later rebranding itself as Bondora. The current platform was launched in 2012. The company was among the first cross-border P2P lending services. Currently, it has borrowers in Estonia, Finland, Spain and Slovakia, but lenders in all European countries.
The company said it plans to use the money for global expansion plans and use Valinor’s expertise as the early backer of Lending Club, the US peer-to-peer lending company. Valinor’s Phil Austern will also join Bondora’s Board.
“We plan to use the funds and the expertise of our new investors to attract more institutional investors to the platform and start lending to borrowers in new countries,” Pärtel Tomberg, the CEO of Bondora, said to Estonian World.
Tomberg said that their plans are very ambitious – to make Bondora the largest P2P lending platform in Europe, and he sees a synergy in using combined European and American expertise, in order to achieve this goal.
“Uniting European markets under the roof of a single platform creates a huge opportunity given the size of the population in the continent and the volume of outstanding debt. Thus, eurozone countries alone account for 340 million people. With its €1.1 trillion in outstanding consumer credit debt, it is a market equivalent to US. Lending to borrowers in markets that are independently relatively small (even Germany, the largest economy in Europe is only approximately twice the size of California in terms of GDP) allows earning premium returns due to lack of competition among traditional lenders,” Tomberg said.