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Zopa Seals Series G Investment En Route to Bank Launch

U.K.-based P2P lender Zopa added another $20.7 million (£16 million) to its latest Series G investment round this week. The company has built upon its $57 million (£ 44 million) August fundraising and now has more than $77 million (£60 million) in new capital to pursue its current objective: building a bank.

“This new funding takes us a step closer to realising our vision of being the best place for money in the U.K.,” Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana said. “Having served half a million customers to date, Zopa is set to redefine the finance industry once again through our next generation bank to meet a broader set of U.K. customers’ financial needs.”

Participating in the Series G were Bessemer Venture Partners, Northzone, Augmentum Capital, and Wadhawan Global Capital. Zopa’s total funding is $190.2 million (£152.9 million).

The round was the largest yet for the innovative peer-to-peer lender, which applied for a banking license in 2016. The company noted at the time that the application process can take between 15 months and two years – making this week’s investment and the company’s return to profitability for the first time since 2012 timely news for Zopa.

“2017 was a landmark for us,” Janardana said in a statement this summer, reporting the company’s good financial fortunes. In addition to revenue gains of 40% and a 43% increase in funds loaned, Zopa earned full FCA authorization last year – the first major P2P lender to do so. This enabled the company to launch its Innovative Finance ISA, bringing the tax efficiency of ISAs to P2P investments.

Zopa’s digital bank, which the company says it expects to launch “soon,” will initially offer FSCS-backed savings accounts and P2P investments such as ISAs, as well as credit cards, personal loans, and auto financing. Janardana told the Independent in October that he hoped to reduce the stress for people trying to manage their finances and “extend the ethos of peer-to-peer into retail banking.”

One of Finovate’s earliest alums, Zopa demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2008. Janardana, along with the company’s board chairwoman, Christine Farnish, was named to the Peer2Peer Finance News Power 50’s Top 10 earlier this month. Zopa has lent more than £3.78 billion to customers in the U.K., with more than 60,000 active individual investors and more than 311,000 borrowers approved via the company’s platform.