October and 5 Confidi Launch Direct Lending Fund for Italian SMEs

Leading European marketplace lending platform October has joined with 5 Confidi entities belonging to Federconfidi and Rete Fidi Italia and with the European Investment Fund (EIF), to launch a €30 million fund to back Italian SMEs. Confidi are cooperative, non-profit guarantee consortia that facilitate access to capital for small and medium-sized Italian companies.

The fund is part of the Investment Plan for Europe or the “Juncker Plan.” The Juncker Plan focuses on boosting investments to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.

The contribution of Confidi and the guarantee provided by InnovFin, will lower the cost of borrowing for SMEs, according to October.

The first closing of the fund has been subscribed by the following Confidi entities: Neafidi, Confidi Systema!, Fidimpresa Italia, Confidi Sardegna and Confidi Centro. More investors are expected in the coming months.

October explains that the fund will lend alongside existing institutional and retail lenders on their platform.

The InnovFin guarantee agreement signed with October was due to the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), part of the EC’s Investment Plan for Europe.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, issued a comment on the announcement:

‘This new InnovFin agreement will give Italian entrepreneurs an additional financial boost, supporting their efforts in creating jobs, growth and innovate. The Investment Plan for Europe is already expected to provide more than 65,400 Italian small and medium businesses with better access to funding.”

Pier-Luigi Gilibert, Chief Executive of the European Investment Funds, described the fund as demonstrating the capacity of the EIF to help finance all kinds of SMEs regardless of their size by supporting innovative finance providers such as October.

Sergio Zocchi, CEO of October Italia, stated:

‘This project is a perfect example of what cooperation between different actors within the financial ecosystem means. Fintech can be a powerful driver of digital transformation when it creates positive synergies among those who embrace it. October Fund is a great opportunity for SMEs as they will get better funding and for existing October lenders as they will get access to better companies while maintaining their returns.”

Online lender October has financed in excess of €345 million. October currently operates in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

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