P2P lender SocietyOne eyes growth in market share

P2P lender SocietyOne eyes growth in market share

SocietyOne, the nation’s biggest marketplace lender, has forecast it will be cash-flow positive within two years, confirming it had raised an extra $25 million to support its growth plans.

Completion of the Series C raising, revealed by The Australian last month, came as new chief executive Jason Yetton committed to a five-year goal to build a 2-3 per cent share of the $105 billion consumer finance market.

“The opportunities that lie ahead of us are immense,” said Mr Yetton, a former senior Westpac executive.

SocOne’s raising had a number of notable features, including a powerful consortium of billionaire shareholders taking a tighter grip on the company.

Mr Yetton said Kerry Stokes’s Australian Capital Equity, James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp had taken up their full entitlements, as had Westpac’s in-house venture capital fund Reinventure.

Two new institutional shareholders had also joined the register — the Sydney-based member-owned bank G&C Mutual Bank and another member-owned financial institution Maritime, Mining and Power Credit Union.

Mr Yetton confirmed he would invest about $1 million of his own funds to acquire a shareholding.

The raising is expected to value SocOne at about $95m, and takes the amount of money raised from institutional and sophisticated investors to $55m since March 2014.

SocOne said loan applications had been growing strongly, with loans funded now exceeding $100m. “We have moved well beyond the start-up phase and are now in the scale-up phase,” Mr Yetton said. As SocOne positions itself for accelerated growth, marketplace lending in its foundation market in the US has been jittery.

Tomorrow, the world’s biggest peer-to-peer lender, Lending Club, will unveil its result for the March quarter amid hopes it will help stabilise the past week’s volatile market.The nervousness lifted a notch after a poor quarterly result from small-business lender OnDeck Capital.

OnDeck’s loss was larger than expected and institutional demand to securitise its loans virtually dried up.

Source: P2P lender SocietyOne eyes growth in market share