Edinburgh’s LendingCrowd is the only Scottish company chosen to join the prestigious Upscale programme, now in its fourth year. LendingCrowd, the fintech lending platform, is one of 30 fast-growing start-ups selected for the Tech Nation programme from over 100 applications. The LendingCrowd executive team will be coached over the next six months by some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and company founders.
Since launching in 2014, LendingCrowd has completed more than 570 loans and its total lending has exceeded £50m.
The Upscale programme is designed to help fast-growth tech companies to successfully navigate the challenges of growing to the next stage. The challenges that most concern these growing companies include hiring and retaining talent, maintaining culture while scaling and expanding into new markets.
The 30 companies that have been selected represent some of the finest early stage talent from across the UK and it is expected that many will successfully grow into the next generation of digital household names. Companies joining the programme have on average 40 employees and revenues of more than £1.5m a year. Most of the companies on Upscale 4.0 have already raised a Series A round and the cohort has collectively raised £188m.
The Upscale companies are drawn from all sectors, with a fifth of companies in the fintech sector and another fifth that are e-commerce and marketplace. Half of the companies are business to business start-ups, while a fifth are business to consumer companies and 30% a hybrid of business to business and business to consumer.
Stuart Lunn, founder and CEO at LendingCrowd, said: “Being selected as the only Scottish company to join the latest Upscale programme is further validation of our work in building a sustainable business capable of being scaled in a high-growth sector. We founded LendingCrowd to help bridge the funding gap facing so many small businesses, and the experience gained through Upscale and working with Tech Nation will be invaluable as we take the platform to the next level.”
Margot James, Minister for Creative and Digital industries, said: “Scotland and Edinburgh are tech powerhouses, with digital businesses contributing more than £1 billion to the capital’s economy and employing almost 40,000 people. Much of this success is down to the ambition of fast-growth companies like LendingCrowd, and I congratulate the team on joining Upscale today and the significant potential and innovation they have shown. This Government is determined to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business, and through our Digital and Industrial Strategies we want to see the power of technology change people’s lives for the better.”
Sinead Daly, Mid-stage Programme Lead at Tech Nation, said: “I’m delighted to welcome this year’s companies onto the Upscale programme. As we enter our fourth year, Upscale has built an incredible network of over 100 alumni, who have a wealth of experience to share with the cohort. Our off-site launch event will bring our founders together for the first time and enable us to embed those tight-knit connections upfront, think about what scaling really means and explore how leaders can thrive while managing such rapid growth.”
Coaches on past programmes have included Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com; successful investor and Lovefilm founder Saul Klein; One Fine Stay co-founder Greg Marsh and Lesley Eccles, founder of Scottish technology business FanDuel. Some of the insights that the team will learn can also be read in Upscale: the book, which features frank advice from some of the UK’s leading technology entrepreneurs and investors.
Tech Nation partners with Silicon Valley Bank, RSM and Cooley in delivering the Upscale programme. Tech Nation is the new organisation to help accelerate the growth of the digital tech sector across the UK. Launched in April, it builds on the past work of Tech City UK and Tech North to make the UK the best place in the world to imagine, start and grow a digital tech business. Its mission is to empower tech entrepreneurs to grow faster through knowledge and connections, to build a UK economy that is fit for the next generation. It does this by running growth programmes, developing digital entrepreneurship skills through its online Digital Business Academy, through its visa scheme for exceptional talent and by championing the UK’s digital sector through data, stories and media campaigns. www.technation.io
Tech Nation’s annual health check on the state of the UK tech sector can be found at Technation.io/report2018