Property finance hub Lendinvest picks banks for £500m float

Lendinvest maintains that it is not a conventional peer-to-peer lender because the money that finances its loans is provided by institutions or high net worth individuals, rather than retail investors.

The company provides investors with a platform to invest directly in mortgages through a process that it claims is more efficient for both investors and borrowers because of its superior technology.

It recently moved into the buy-to-let mortgage market, and argues that as a secured lender offering loans at relatively conservative loan-to-value ratios, it represents a resilient play on the UK residential property sector.

Lendinvest most recently raised money in September last year, when it secured $39.5m of new debt and equity in a Series C funding round.

At the time, it described the fundraising as a pre-IPO exercise but insisted that it was in no rush to go public.

“Using technology, LendInvest is building a new kind of financial services business, and an extremely scalable platform, which is changing the way mortgages are funded and work in the UK,” Mr Faes said in September.

A source close to the company said earlier this month that a public listing was only one of a number of options that Lazard would help its board consider.

An IPO would be likely to emphasise to prospective investors what Lendinvest sees as a major opportunity to disrupt the UK’s £200bn mainstream mortgage market, which has long faced criticism for its cumbersome nature and inefficiency.

Any deal valuing Lendinvest at £500m would crystallise paper fortunes for Mr Faes and his co-founder, Ian Thomas, of about £175m each by virtue of their 36% stakes.

Employees own a further 7.8% of the shares, while external investors include the venture fund Atomico, the merchant bank GP Bullhound and Tiger Global, a prominent hedge fund which owns 1% of Lendinvest.

Mr Faes had previously raised the prospect of acquiring an offline lender in order to broaden its customer base.

A spokesman for Lendinvest declined to comment on the appointment of the bank syndicate.