German Online Loans Platform Smava Raises $16M

TECHCRUNCH: Here comes some more funding for a European financial tech company specialising in online loans. Germany’s Smava — a peer-to-peer lending platform where investors provide the funds to loan money to borrowers — has raised $16 million in funding led by Phenomen Ventures, along with existing investors Earlybird and Neuhaus Partners. Phenomen’s track record in fintech investments includes backing Prosper, the U.S.-based peer-to-peer lending marketplace. The investment takes the total raised by Smava to nearly $30 million.

Smava, like other online lending platforms, has developed a set of algorithms to vet and approve potential loan candidates. The fact that it is fully automated help it pass on low interest rates to users. To date, Smava has loaned out $600 million through its platform, with the number of loan originations growing by 100% in the last year.

“This fresh capital enables us to accelerate our business growth as well as to fulfil our vision of offering fully-automated loans to borrowers at best rates in the near future,” Alexander Artopé, CEO of smava, said in a statement. “The funding will also be used to advance smava’s scoring technology, hire the best talent and further fuel growth.”

It will also help the company compete against rivals. They include Auxmoney, which is backed by Index, Union Square Ventures, Foundation Capital, among others and alsoraised $16 million in 2014. Others in the space include Zopa in the UK (which hasraised over $50m) and Lending Club in the U.S., which went public last year.

As part of the investment, Igal Weinstein, a general partner at Phenomen, is joining Smava’s board.