- Investors recognise exciting potential for Blend’s product to digitise property lending market
- Provides “Origination-as-a-Service” to family offices seeking to invest in development finance loans
- Brings much-needed modernisation and increased efficiency to property lending process
- Funding will facilitate further growth, with Blend’s lending doubling every year since 2019
London, 21 February 2022 – Market-disruptive property lender Blend Network (“Blend”) has secured £10 million in funding in its latest investment round. The funding round was capped at this level following an oversubscription.
Blend’s backers in this funding round are led by emerging VC investor Nico Paraskevas, a former senior executive at Glencore, while existing investors, who also participated in this round, include Cyrus Ardalan, former Barclays Vice Chairman and current Chairman of both OakNorth Bank and CAF Financial Solutions Limited, and Jean-Philippe Blochet, co-founder of macro hedge fund Brevan Howard, which as of October 2021 has $20bn in assets under management.
Backed by family offices since 2019, the company also counts Publicis Group Chairman Maurice Levy’s family office among its existing investors. Blend now draws only less than 10% of its funding from restricted retail investors, which made up the majority of its backers just a couple of years ago.
Investment in Blend reflects the considerable market opportunity that the businesses’ leadership team has identified. The UK property market is ripe for disruption, with the process of lending hardly changing since the 1990s. At the same time, SME property developers have traditionally found it difficult to find the right lender and securing finance from established lenders is often a long and difficult process.
Blend’s market-leading platform provides SMEs with a level of service previously available only to large, well-established developers, saving them considerable time and effort. It also provides family offices looking for exposure to development finance loans with “Origination-as-a-Service”, including full security, transparency, and an enhanced due diligence process carried out on all loans.
Regulated development finance lenders such as Blend will be integral to solving the UK housing crisis. While the Government has pledged to build 300,000 new homes annually by the mid-2020s, December’s Home Builders Federation report has cast doubt on the viability of this target. With post-Covid public finances facing unprecedented strain, house-building projects need new sources of funding beyond traditional lenders.
Blend will use this latest tranche of funding to scale its origination team, further strengthening the company’s lending capacity. In addition, the business will be able to invest more money in its technology, which is set to expand to include more services for property brokers. These developments will put Blend in a strong position to continue the rapid growth trajectory that has seen the business double its lending volumes annually since 2019 despite the impact of the pandemic.
Yann Murciano, CEO of Blend Network, commented: “Our platform has built a strong track record of improving the origination process for both developers and brokers. This success has not gone unnoticed among investors, and we are proud to have received such a significant support in our latest funding round. We believe it reflects the scale of the opportunity that Blend is opening to developers and brokers alike. It also illustrates our investors’ belief in our ambition and their satisfaction with the success to date. There is no doubt the new funds will enable us to accelerate our growth journey. We look forward to growing further with the support of our investors.”
“We are also pleased to welcome Nico Paraskevas as a new investor in this round. Nico’s breadth of experience in finance, business development and strategic corporate leadership will bring major value to the business as we grow and scale our operations.”
Cyrus Ardalan, Chairman of OakNorth Bank and CAF Financial Solutions Limited, added: “Property is not known as a sector that embraces change, but my fellow investors and I have been extremely impressed by how Blend is disrupting this traditional industry. They have built a simple, yet powerful and fully automated platform that tackles the main pain points for investors, property developers, and borrowers alike. Ultimately, the success of the business rests on the quality of its team, and the team at Blend headed by Yann has the drive and ambition to build a highly successful and innovative business.”