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Top of the Morning
Funding Circle, a London-based peer-to-peer lending marketplace for small businesses, has raised $100 million in new equity funding at a valuation in excess of $1 billion. Accel led the round, and was joined by return backers Baillie Gifford, DST Global, Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Rocket Internet, Sands Capital Ventures, Temasek and Union Square Ventures.
Why it's the BFD: This is a loud vote of investor confidence in an online lending space that just experienced a difficult year. The LendingClub scandal. British regulators saying that they plan to propose stronger P2P lending rules, particularly related to marketing. The perpetually-depressed stock price of On Deck Capital (not P2P, but focused on same small biz space as Funding Circle). And none of that even addresses the challenges of being a UK-based P2P lender operating globally in the looming era of Brexit.