For all the resilience the UK economy has shown, there is no doubt that this year's ISA season is set against a backdrop of uncertainty. Whatever the pros and cons, Brexit, and a lack of clarity on what our future economic relationship with the EU will look like, has left us at a crossroads.
The best of 2018 for Lending Works
As 2018 draws to a close, with our bellies full of Christmas turkey, it's only natural to look back on the past 12 months and reflect. No doubt, it's been a turbulent one economically and politically, and not everyone has had it all their own way. Then again, one could also hark back to that glorious summer of a few months ago, when the blazing sun beat down, and a nation dreamed of footballing immortality. Those were the days!
At Lending Works, we're equally prone to some good old reminiscing too, and for us, 2018 will unequivocally go down as one to remember. We came into it with good momentum off the back of a strong 2017, but this year is one in which we have genuinely taken things to another level. So much so, that narrowing our highlights of the year down to a digestible shortlist is no easy task. But, in the name of succinctness, we've done just that. Here are our five best moments of 2018.
1) Reaching the £100m milestone
There are a number of key metrics when assessing the progress of a peer-to-peer platform, but one which epitomises the confidence of both lenders and borrowers is that of loan volume. In April, we breached a significant barrier, as our 100 millionth pound was lent. That, just four years after the first pound was lent. The fact that we now find ourselves on the brink of reaching the £150m mark is a measure of our exponential progress since. But that heady day in April was one which meant a lot to us, and is a benchmark that looked a long way away when Lending Works first opened its doors on a rainy Sunday in Farringdon back in 2014.
2) Another year, another Moneywise Award
The Moneywise Customer Service Awards is an event which has seen Lending Works enjoy tremendous success, and 2018 was another feather in the cap, as we scooped the 'Best P2P Platform for Investors' gong for a third successive year in June. It's a feat which gives us enormous pride, not least as our fellow nominees on the shortlist included all of the UK's big hitters in P2P. But most importantly, these awards are allocated based on votes from consumers across the entire UK, and for us, that is the biggest vote of confidence there can be.
3) The Deloitte 2018 UK Technology Fast 50
Awards season didn't end for us in June, and, five months later, we added another significant honour to the collection: being included in Deloitte's UK Technology Fast 50. As one of the country's premier technology award programmes, Deloitte ranks the 50 fastest-growing tech companies, based on revenue growth over the previous four years. Lending Works not only made the cut; but with growth of nearly 3,000 per cent, we made it into the top 10 - rubbing shoulders with the likes of Deliveroo, and making us the UK's third-fastest growing fintech.
4) A new partnership with Kudos
With the advent of Open Banking in the UK, we saw an opportunity to get ahead of the curve, and in February launched a new partnership with challenger credit reference agency Credit Kudos. By leveraging their automated online credit application system - which negates the need for filling out forms or uploading documents - our customers can now populate forms, verify income and evidence their creditworthiness instantly. In turn, they'll receive an instant decision on their application. Such innovative partnerships underpin our strategy moving forward, as we continue to unlock new channels of loan origination by creating a world-class customer experience.
5) New investment in our future
In July, Lending Works announced a private equity boost to the tune of £2.8m as part of our Series B investment round. The funding comprised a significant contribution from NVM Capital Partners, who also played their part in the completion of our Series A investment round back in 2016. The remaining investment came from two new partners: Pollen Street Capital and Maven Capital Partners. Fulfilling our ambitions of becoming a leader in the alternative finance space wouldn't be possible without our investors, and we thank them for the faith they continue to show in our business model and growth strategy.
6) Behind the scenes
But it's not all quantifiable milestones and partnerships, there's also an ever-evolving behind the scenes here at Lending Works that we'd like to take this opportunity to share with you.
- After completing a beta test of our retail finance product, we've now onboarded 10+ firms who will offer finance via Lending Works to their consumers at check-out. In 2019 we hope to continue improving this user experience by utilising additional, comprehensive data from increased customer volumes. Our goal is to hit 2020 with hundreds of brands under the Lending Works umbrella.
- We've grown the team to over forty employees, including hiring specialists in areas such as brand, product, and customer service.
- Our board has also grown, with the warmly welcomed additions of Simon Waugh, former chairman of CMC Markets, Paul Noble, CEO of Honeycomb, and Melanie Goward, investment director at Maven Capital Partners.
- We upskilled the customer service team, increased opening hours, and introduced shift patterns. This enabled us to handle a largue volume of calls, and ensured smoother, faster resolutions for users.
The above six highlights provide an apt synopsis of what has been yet another fine year for Lending Works. We'd like to say a big thank you to our customers, without whom such success simply wouldn't be possible. We hope you enjoy the rest of this festive season, and that 2019 is one of health and prosperity. But, for now, here's a final word from our CEO Nick Harding.
"It's been another year to look back on with great fondness, and, with the continued support of both our customers and our investors, we find ourselves in a position of strength moving into 2019. This year, we've really moved the needle in terms of revenue growth, technology and innovation, while our team of employees has expanded by nearly 50 per cent.
"Not only have we made huge strides this year, but we’ve also laid the foundations for more exciting new ventures moving into 2019. A very bright future lies ahead for our platform, and we're thrilled that our customers will reap the benefits on this journey with us. On behalf of the entire team, we’d like to wish you everything of the best for the year ahead."
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As 2018 draws to a close, with our bellies full of Christmas turkey, it's only natural to look back on the past 12 months and reflect. No doubt, it's been a turbulent one economically and politically, and not everyone has had it all their own way.