New investment values UKBN at £15m – double its value of last year
UK Bond Network, the UK’s first peer-to-peer bond auction platform announced over £500,000 of new investment. Two of UK Bond Network’s key shareholders, have increased their stakes, alongside fresh investment from a new and strategic shareholder, Michael Baptista. The UK Bond Network valuation of £15m is double that of last year.
Existing shareholders GLI Finance (GLI) and Scott Fletcher, UK Bond Network Chairman, exercised warrants held in the business to increase their stakes to 15.84% and 7.27% respectively. At the same time, Michael Baptista, founder and CEO of Assembly Capital Advisors (Assembly) – which will soon launch as a specialist FinTech VC – enters the UK Bond Network capital structure; he intends to roll up the UK Bond Network investment into Assembly upon launch.
Baptista is creating Assembly on the back of decades of knowledge, experience and networks in financial services. Speaking of the investment, Baptista said: “I am impressed not only with UK Bond Network’s business model, but also the focus and integrity of the team. UK Bond Network delivers financing to SMEs, who are beginning to turn away from the Banks; UK Bond Network is equally focused on delivering outperformance to investors. The care taken with underwriting suggests sustainability, and this new funding should help deliver a strong H2 in 2015.
“Long-term, there are immense growth opportunities both with SMEs and as a provider of funding to other FinTech platforms. Financial services as an industry is undergoing structural disruption driven by revolutionary changes in technology, regulation and consumer behaviour. Whilst incumbents are responding slowly, and often with more focus on PR than real change, the industry giants of the future are being built. SME financing and services will be one of the pillars on which Assembly focuses.”
Speaking of the investment, Chris Maule, Chief Executive and Founder of UK Bond Network, said:
Although we were not seeking further funding, the strategic value offered by bringing Michael in to our business was clear. We are delighted to welcome him as a shareholder; he brings a wealth of experience, and a fantastic network of contacts. We have now reached a stage in our development where we are looking to accelerate our growth, and the investment we have received from Michael, as well as Scott and GLI, will not only enable us to expand our lending capabilities, but will allow us to strengthen our in-house legal expertise, further increasing the speed with which we can deliver funds to our borrowers.”
In addition to Michael’s support, GLI has increased its stake in the business. GLI, a leading investor in the alternative finance sector, had invested £1 million in UK Bond Network in return for a 13.99% equity stake in the business in October 2014.
Geoff Miller, Chief Executive of GLI, said:
“UK Bond Network has made excellent progress since GLI became an investor as its model continues to be highly relevant. Growing businesses are still looking for flexible finance and investors are still hunting for attractive risk-weighted yields. Our confidence in the business is demonstrated by our increased stake and the increased capital should help the platform to continue on its growth trajectory.”