Buzzbnk & Trillion Fund launch first white-label peer-to-peer lending initiative

LONDON 05.12.14

Trillion Fund ltd. launches UK’s first white-label peer-to-peer lending initiative

Move clears way for major brands to join crowdfunding revolution

Trillion, the UK’s biggest social crowdfunding platform, is to white label its peer-to-peer lending platform, enabling a range of brands to offer crowdfunding to customers or business users.

The white-label scheme is the first of its kind in the UK and follows the UK Government’s Autumn Statement on 3rd December, which unveiled new support for alternative finance.

Trillion is in talks with leading brands and City institutions about being the inaugural brand to use the white-label scheme.

Julia Groves, Trillion Chief Executive, said: “This white-label platform will enable businesses to offer crowdfunding and redefine their relationship with their customers. Brands that stand for trust and reliability have a unique opportunity to allow their customers, neighbours and employees to co-invest, sharing risks and returns and aligning interests in the next generation of brand relationship.

“We believe that those brands that use their scale and network to the advantage of their customers as well as their shareholders will gain additional brand loyalty. Lenders and investors are actively seeking alternatives to the banks but still want the reassurance of a brand and an existing relationship so they feel confident lending and investing their money.”

Crowdfunding is increasingly popular with investors and businesses, with £1.74bn raised through alternative finance in 2014 according to a recent Nesta report, [1] which also forecasts that £4.4bn could be raised in 2015 based on current growth rates.

The expansion into white-labelling follows research by Trillion with Penn Schoen Berland, the leading pollster, which showed that consumer brands could play a key alternative to bank-financing in establishing trust.

Theresa Burton, Co-Founder of Buzzbnk and now CTO Trillion Fund Ltd., said: “We built the platform with white-labelling capability from day one, so that businesses can launch crowd-funding in as little as six weeks. We can take care of the technology, operations, customer service and compliance, and provide an entirely branded customer journey that fully integrates with a corporates own customer communications plan. We have successfully completed our white-label development and services and our first pilot client, Thundafund.com, has been live in South Africa since June 2013.”

Measures to support crowdfunding in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement included:

–       the ability to offset losses on peer-to-peer loans against any gains so tax is only paid on the net gain;

–       a consultation on opening up ISAs to crowd-funded bonds; and

–       an increase in the social investment tax relief to £5m, matching the EIS scheme and offering the same level of tax benefits for socially motivate businesses and investors.

Burton continued: “The increase in the cap for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) eligibility to
£5 million per organisation shows that social lending and investing is coming of age.” Groves adds: “The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) are the bedrock of equity crowdfunding in the UK, which grew by 250 per cent this year. SITR now offers the same level of tax benefits for socially-motivated lenders and investors, and will boost the social investment sector significantly.”

The consultation on peer-to-peer ISAs was announced last April and is expected to become policy in March 2015. Legislation will follow the general election making September 2015 the earliest likely date when everyday investors can start to use their ISA allowance for loan-based crowdfunding.

http://www.trillionfund.com

Trillion Fund ltd.

80 Haymarket

London, SW1Y 4TE

For more information, please contact:

Rowan Pereira at Trillion Fund, rowan.pereira@trillionfund.com, 07818542523

Notes to Editors:

Trillion Fund is a crowdfunding platform authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, listing peer-to-peer loans, community share raises, bonds and funds for environmental and social projects. Trillion Fund recently merged with Buzzbnk to create the UK’s biggest social crowdfunding platform.

Julia Groves is founding Chair of the UK Crowdfunding Association, sits on the DECC community energy finance working group and is a member of HMT’s consulting group on peer-to-peer ISAs. In June, Julia won Business Green Entrepreneur of the year, and Trillion Fund was named Funder of the year by Community Energy England.

Prior to merging with Trillion Fund, Theresa Burton was CEO and Co-founder of Buzzbnk, the UK’s first crowdfunding platform specifically for lending or donating to social enterprises and charities. She is also a Director of the UKCFA, and sits on the Social Economy Alliance Finance working group. Theresa was also recently shortlisted for the 2014 Social Enterprise Women’s Champion Award.

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