Celebrating 10 years
Founded in July 2007, Ludgate Finance found its niche in the Peer-to-Peer funding market during the banking crisis when traditional sources of lending began to dry up.
Directors Stephen Grice, David Grocott and Richard Mason have witnessed the incredible journey of the P2P sector from lending just a few thousand pounds to UK businesses in 2010 to a projected £5billion in 2017.
Since its launch, Ludgate has developed an unrivalled track record and is now recognised as the expert in this field, having influenced the continuing evolvement of the peer-to-peer sector.
In its 10-year history, the company has advised on over 300 separate successful funding arrangements, raising over £60m in total for its clients and has just celebrated its best year to date.
• The MBO of a luxury yacht manufacturer
• £2m debt forgiveness refinance from Northern Ireland bank
• £500K working capital funding for a Coventry automotive sector manufacturer
• £300K expansion loan for a Meriden-based food business
When Ludgate originally started in the summer of 2007, it was with the intention of being a full-service broker, focussing on mainstream finance.
At the time this seemed sensible, but in 2008 the finance world fell off a cliff, leading eventually to the growth of the P2P funding market. By 2011, Ludgate had moved exclusively into this emerging market, and has been a strong player in the growth of the industry every since.
The company took the decision early on to act on behalf of borrowers – consideration was given to setting up its own platform and attracting investment and retail lenders, but given their skills were as traditional lenders, the founding Directors concentrated on what they enjoyed most.
The last few years have certainly been enjoyable; full of change and completing some great deals along the way - some of the most memorable being the earliest: the marquee hire company; a software-as-a-service company; the training company – what these all had in common was that the underlying business assets were non-traditional, and so outside the remit of the mainstream.
Of course, the industry has changed significantly over the years; Ludgate used to be closely aligned with just one platform; now the company works with many, depending on the flavour of the proposal put before it.
It has also helped a number of platforms formulate their credit policy pre-launch, and continues to assist a number of lenders with this.
Seeing deal sizes increase – the very first P2P loan arranged was for £150,000 - the company now regularly secures loans in the £1M-£3M range.
Ludgate has also seen the emergence of P2P overdrafts, specialist MBO funding lines and Property Development Finance.
The main unifier between diverse platforms and funding lines is that they are all far more flexible than mainstream finance.
SO WHAT'S NEXT?
Having concentrated exclusively on the peer-to-peer sector Ludgate is broadening this specialism with Direct Lending options which are closely aligned to the sector.
Its future plans also include expanding beyond its Birmingham base by actively growing a network of associates, teaming up with finance professionals from across the UK who meet its exacting standards of professionalism and knowledge.
Director Stephen Grice said: “The business has grown consistently since it was formed in 2007 and, over the past 12 months, we have doubled the value of the finance we have been able to secure for our clients.
By diversifying with new initiatives and developing our Associate programme we feel we are well placed to take a whole market view of the alternative finance options available for our clients.
As with any business, the support of fellow professionals and loyal clients has been pivotal to our success story and we are proud to have been able to assist so many companies over the years to fund their own growth stories. We would like to say a very big ‘Thank You’ to all our clients, past and present.