The asset management firm Eiffel Investment Group which manages the €100 million marketplace lending fund “Prêtons Ensemble” (meaning “Let’s Lend Together”) for institutional investors Aviva France, AG2R LA MONDIALE, MAIF, MGEN and Klesia awarded European Digital Lending Awards at a gathering held in Paris on February 1st. The awards recognized SME projects presented on the lending platforms backed by the fund.
To date, Prêtons Ensemble has already helped finance more than 10,000 French and European SMEs through 25 digital lending platforms operating in 10 European countries. The gathering was the opportunity to announce the launch of the follow-on fund “Prêtons Ensemble II” which aims to increase the funding capacity of lending platforms by between €200 and €300 million until the end of 2019.
The event was hosted by Fabrice Dumonteil, President of Eiffel Investment Group, Etienne Boillot, Managing director of Eiffel eCapital, and Jean-Benoît Gambet, the Director of the Investment fund.
Among the guests who praised the fund for its combination of innovation, economic return and social utility were deputy Jean-Noël Barrot, the vice-president of the Finance Committee of the French house of representatives; Patrick Dixneuf, Chief Executive Officer of Aviva France; Mounir Mahjoubi (per video), Secretary of State in charge of Digital Affairs; Sophie Elkrief, Director of Investments MAIF; and Philippe Taffin, Chief Investment Officer at Aviva France.
Investors had cast nearly 4,500 votes to elect their favorite projects among 30 nominees spread across six categories. Nominated platforms included leaders such as Funding Circle and Lendix. The prizes however went to smaller marketplaces, a good opportunity to put the spotlight on these up-and-coming fintechs:
- Green Economy award: Générale du Solaire, a project presented on Lendosphere, France. Founded at the end of 2014, Lendosphere has helped finance €20 million worth of green energy projects.
- Job creation award: Metalliance on Wesharebonds, France. Launched in 2016, WeShareBonds lets retail investors co-invest in SMEs along institutional investors.
- Innovation award: Selfstock on ClubFunding, France. Launched in 2015, Clubfunding has helped SMEs raise some €17 million.
- Quality of Life award: All About Healthcare on Linked Finance, Ireland. Launched in 2013, Linked Finance is Ireland’s largest P2P lending platform with more than 16,000 registered lenders who have lent over €32 million to Irish businesses
- Inclusive Economy: Mujeres y CIA on Finanzarel, Spain. Founded in 2013, Finanzarel in an invoice financing platform, and
Nou verd and Nou set on Loanbook, Spain. Founded in 2013, Loanbook has helped finance some €42 million worth of loans and bonds for Spanish businesses.
- Best pivot: Sky Hero on Look & Fin, Belgium. Launched in 2012, Look & Fin is a crowdlending pioneer which has helped lend €28 million to Belgian and French businesses.
Therese Torris, PhD, is a Senior Contributing Editor to Crowdfund Insider. She is an entrepreneur and consultant in eFinance and eCommerce based in Paris. She has covered crowdfunding and P2P lending since the early days when Zopa was created in the United Kingdom. She was a director of research and consulting at Gartner Group Europe, Senior VP at Forrester Research and Content VP at Twenga. She publishes a French personal finance blog, Le Blog Finance Pratique.