While rumors have been circulating for days, Zopa confirmed today that it has raised $182 million (£140 million) in its largest fundraising to date. The capital comes from IAG Silverstripe, the investment division of IAG Capital, and will, in the words of Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana, enable the P2P lending pioneer to fulfill the regulatory capital requirements and lift restrictions on its banking license.
“This new funding means we have concluded the fundraising phase of our bank mobilization,” Janardana said. “Definitive agreements to provide the funding have been finalized and are subject to final approvals including regulatory change of control.”
IAG Silverstripe has been an investor in Zopa since the fall of 2018, and holds a minority stake in the company. Zopa noted that its bank will operate along with its current P2P financing business (Zopa Limited) as part of the larger Zopa Group.
The funding for Zopa arrives at an opportune time for the company, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary next year. Granted an “Authorisation with Restriction” by U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority on December 4, 2018, Zopa had twelve months to meet the capital requirements that would enable the company to go ahead with a full launch. Even as the deadline drew near last week, Zopa representatives expressed confidence in the company’s ability to raise the necessary capital.
“We continue to hold our bank license with restrictions and are working closely with the regulators to gain our full license,” Janardana explained. “We are excited that, once approved, Zopa will be able to launch its bank alongside its peer-to-peer business and offer a broader set of products to our customers.”
One of Finovate’s earliest alums, the company demonstrated its P2P lending platform at FinovateSpring 2008, billing itself as the “world’s first social finance company,” In the years since its founding in 2005, Zopa has lent 5 billion pounds in unsecured personal loans to customers in the U.K. Headquartered in both New York and London, the company launched a new savings solution last month that offers a fixed-term account with 4% interest as part of its entry into the world of banking. In October, Zopa introduced Borrowing Power, a new offering that uses AI to help customers see what determines their personal borrowing power.