UK peer to peer lending platform Crowd2Fund is opening an Australian office becoming one the first UK-based companies to utilise the new ‘Fintech Bridge’ between the UK and Australia that was recently announced by both countries. Signed in March, the agreement between the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), will make it far simpler for Fintech firms to set up operations in the respective country. The benefits of the Bridge include an acceleration of company licensing between the two territories, as well as more strategic collaboration between the FSA and ASIC in order to grow the respective markets of each country.
Michael Ward, the Director General for DIT Australia, said of the agreement;
“The Fintech Bridge, as a tool for ease of market-entry, is the result of a very strong demand from UK and Australian companies to access each other’s markets. It’s great to see the hard work of the FCA, ASIC, Department for International Trade, Australian and HM Treasuries pay off by the speed of which companies are now using this device to further grow their businesses.”
According to Crowd2Fund, the company will begin using the Fintech Bridge early this summer. This will allow the platform to access Australia’s thriving Fintech ecosystem. Australia has a well established Fintech market having gained solid government support along with a private sector advocacy group called FinTech Australia. Crowd2Fund is currently submitting their license application to the Australian regulator. Crowd2Fund will be launching their Australian operations by engaging with InDebted, a New South Wales-based debt collection software company. The company started in 2015 and is backed by WestPac, a leading bank,
Crowd2Fund says that initial pre-launch activities include collaborations with the Department of International Trade, with Crowd2Fund being invited to a number of events in Australia to promote the Fintech Bridge.
Rob Older, who has worked with Crowd2Fund since the firm was founded in 2014, has been appointed to head up the Australian business in its early stages.
Crowd2Fund’s first business for investors in the region is “Barefoot Conservation,” a social enterprise dedicated to removing plastic waste from the oceans around Indonesia. The company is seeking an initial raise of just under A$200,000.
Crowd2Fund believes an increase of 30% in revenue from the Australian market is achievable within the first year. It also offers investors the opportunity to make international investments.
“It’s fantastic that the governments recognise the importance of FinTech and the alignment of regulation to allow us to trade easily in both markets. The Australian market has close ties to the UK and it makes perfect sense to work with them as an initial market before expanding further afield.”
Leveraging the Fintech Bridge is in line with the Crowd2Fund’s current strategy of taking their UK model and expanding it to new territories, with a long-term goal of reaching a £1 billion valuation by 2022.