Grid Fi­nance seeks to ex­pand abroad af­ter rais­ing €3m in funds

Eq­uity boost will help the al­ter­na­tive lender look beyond Ire­land to in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, says Gavin Mclough­lin

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

AL­TER­NA­TIVE lender Grid Fi­nance has raised €3m of eq­uity from Lux­em­bourg-based Reech Cor­po­ra­tions Group.

The in­vest­ment — which comes via Reech’s fi­nan­cial ser­vices and tech­nol­ogy ven­ture cap­i­tal arm Odysseus In­vest­ments — will see the Lux­em­bourg com­pany be­come Grid’s largest ex­ter­nal share­holder.

Christophe Reech, a for­mer de­riv­a­tives banker who founded the Lux­em­bourg com­pany, is join­ing Grid’s board as a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

“This is a very scal­able busi­ness with po­ten­tial to move beyond Ire­land into other mar­kets. I am con­fi­dent that with the ben­e­fit of our ex­pe­ri­ence and know-how in cre­at­ing and scal­ing in­no­va­tive busi­nesses, Grid Fi­nance is des­tined for great things over the coming few years,” Reech said.

Grid’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Derek F But­ler, said the deal “will al­low us to pro­pel our busi­ness to the next level by in­vest­ing in our pro­pri­etary tech­nol­ogy and mar­ket pen­e­tra­tion in Ire­land and other in­ter­na­tional mar­kets”.

Grid pro­vides loans to Ir­ish busi­nesses via its on­line mar­ket­place which matches firms with in­di­vid­u­als seek­ing to lend money at a re­turn.

Other prod­ucts in­clude in­voice dis­count­ing, leas­ing and short-term cash flow loans se­cured against money owed to the bor­rower from credit and debit card trans­ac­tions.

It is work­ing on a prod­uct that will al­low in­vestors to build a port­fo­lio based on their in­vest­ment goals.

It has also been backed by US ven­ture cap- ital firms, Enda O’coineen’s Kil­cullen Kap­i­tal, and En­ter­prise Ire­land. The com­pany has its own pro­pri­etary credit score sys­tem known as the Grid Score, which it uses to ad­vance money to busi­nesses that are strug­gling to raise fund­ing from banks.

Thus far, it has helped more than 2,000 busi­nesses to raise money, and hopes to grow that to 25,000 and €1bn of lend­ing in the coming years.

“We think Grid Fi­nance is a great busi­ness with ex­cel­lent prospects. We par­tic­u­larly like the way the busi­ness is ad­dress­ing a real need, meet­ing the de­mands of a sec­tor which is poorly served by tra­di­tional lenders. We also like the way the busi­ness is an­chored in the com­mu­nity through its strong lo­cal links,” said Odysseus In­vest­ments’ man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Han­sjo­erg Borutta.

Odysseus In­vest­ments was ad­vised on the trans­ac­tion by LK Shields and Grid Fi­nance by Philip Lee. Other com­pa­nies in Odysseus’ port­fo­lio in­clude Moola, a UK com­pany us­ing ro­botic tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide con­sumers with ac­cess to in­vest­ment prod­ucts.

The com­pany said it is con­tin­u­ing to hunt for in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties as it seeks to find fin­tech star­tups “with po­ten­tial to achieve real scale at ex­cep­tional lev­els of prof­itabil­ity”.

Reech’s other op­er­a­tions in­clude a cor­po­rate fi­nance ad­vi­sory busi­ness fo­cused on emerg­ing mar­kets. It also man­ages com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­erty as­sets.

Grid Fi­nance chief ex­ec­u­tive Derek F But­ler

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