London: British digital bank Zopa has raised $300 million from investors including Japan’s SoftBank Group, it said on Tuesday, as the lender looks to expand its business ahead of a potential listing as early as next year. The funding round is valued at around £750 million ($1.03 billion), a source familiar with the details of the transaction told Reuters.
“SoftBank recognizes us as a clear leader in digital consumer lending in the UK, and they are also big believers in the use of AI and machine learning for lending and pricing, which we have been doing for years,” said Chief Executive Jainav Janardhan told Reuters.
The cash injection through SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund 2 is the latest in a series of investments by the Japanese conglomerate in British fintech firms.
It also has stakes in OakNorth, which lends to small businesses, and digital banking app Revolt, which rocketed to a valuation of $33 billion in July following an $800 million funding round led by SoftBank.
Zopa’s new valuation marks a significant turnaround since media reports in December 2019 estimated at £354 million, one of its investors, took over its stake in the lender amid struggles for the peer-to-peer lending sector. Where Zopa originated.
Janardhan said the funding round keeps Zopa on track for a long-running initial public offering in London in the fourth quarter of next year.
Zopa aims to expand into the “buy now, pay later” area in the UK within the next year, he said, joining other lenders putting in a credit product that lets buyers defer payment for goods such as clothing and electronics. Is.
The deal was announced on Tuesday as part of a summit in London attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, top financiers, industry leaders and British royals and was aimed at boosting investment in the country.
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