Online business lending marketplace Funding Circle has raised $150 million (£98 million) in new equity capital, to help fund further UK and US growth.

The funding round was led by DST Global, with participation from Baillie Gifford, Sands Capital Ventures and Temasek. The investment comes as lending to small businesses via the marketplace surges past the $1 billion mark globally, following sustained growth in both the UK and US markets. 

Image: Funding Circle

Launched in 2010, Funding Circle is disrupting the traditional model of banking. Through the Funding Circle marketplace, small businesses can access finance, whilst thousands of investors - including 38,000 individuals - the UK government and financial institutions can earn attractive returns.

The startup has also been working with the traditional banking sector too. Earlier this year it announced a partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland to provide an alternative source of finance to small business, following a similar deal with Santander. 

In the UK, the Funding Circle marketplace is currently estimated to be the fifth largest net lender to small businesses, while in the US, lending in the first quarter of this year was seven times larger than lending in the first quarter of 2014.

Samir Desai, CEO of Funding Circle, said: “We believe Funding Circle is the future of small business finance globally, and it’s a vision we share with some of the largest and most respected investors in the world. The new investment is the next step on our journey to creating a sustainable, category-defining business in a multi-billion dollar global market, where businesses will come to the marketplace to borrow from all types of investors.”

In addition to the new funding, Funding Circle has bolstered its leadership team with the appointments of former Betfair CEO and CTO David Yu as its global chief product officer, and Chitra Nayak as its US chief operating officer. Nayak was formerly the COO of platforms at Salesforce.

In total, Funding Circle has now raised $273 million in equity funding, and existing investors include Index Ventures, Accel Partners, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital.

It also received £40 million funding from the government last year in a bid to boost SME lending.

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