Edinburgh’s LendingCrowd is the only Scottish company to have been chosen to join the prestigious Upscale programme, now in its fourth year.
The fintech lending platform is one of 30 fast-growing startups selected for the Tech Nation programme from more than 100 applications. Its executive team will be coached over the next six months by some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and company founders.
LendingCrowd offers small business loans and investment opportunities via an online platform. Since launching in 2014 the startup, which employs 25 people, has completed more than 570 loans and its total lending has exceeded £50m.
The six-month Upscale programme got underway by bringing all the companies together at the Farncombe Estate in the Cotswolds. It is designed to help fast-growth tech companies to successfully navigate the challenges of growing to the next stage. The challenges that most concern these growing companies include hiring and retaining talent, maintaining culture while scaling and expanding into new markets.
During the launch, companies heard from Aneesh Varma, Founder & CEO of Aire, Angie Ma, Co-founder & COO of ASI Data Science and Cherry Freeman, founder of LoveCrafts, on the challenges of scaling and leadership
The 30 companies that have been selected represent some of the finest early stage talent from across the UK and it is expected that many will successfully grow into the next generation of digital household names. Companies joining the programme have on average 40 employees and revenues of more than £1.5m a year. Most of the companies on Upscale 4.0 have already raised a Series A round and the cohort has collectively raised £188m.
The Upscale companies are drawn from all sectors, with a fifth of companies in the fintech sector and another fifth that are e-commerce and marketplace. Half of the companies are business to business startups, while a fifth are business to consumer companies and 30% a hybrid of business to business and business to consumer.
Margot James, Minister for Creative and Digital industries, said: “Scotland and Edinburgh are tech powerhouses, with digital businesses contributing more than £1 billion to the capital’s economy and employing almost 40,000 people.
“Much of this success is down to the ambition of fast-growth companies like LendingCrowd, and I congratulate the team on joining Upscale today and the significant potential and innovation they have shown. This Government is determined to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business, and through our Digital and Industrial Strategies we want to see the power of technology change people’s lives for the better.”
Stuart Lunn, founder and CEO at LendingCrowd, said: “Being selected as the only Scottish company to join the latest Upscale programme is further validation of our work in building a sustainable business capable of being scaled in a high-growth sector. We founded LendingCrowd to help bridge the funding gap facing so many small businesses, and the experience gained through Upscale and working with Tech Nation will be invaluable as we take the platform to the next level.”
Pictured: Stuart Lunn. Picture: Neil Hanna.