Our Client Plend Raised £40m

25th January 2023

Congratulations to our client Plend for raising £40m in seed investment.

We’ve worked with a lot of incredible founders over the many years that we’ve been helping entrepreneurs create their perfect pitch and achieve their investment goals.

So, when one of our clients does such brilliant work that we feel the need to turn the spotlight on them and talk about it, you can bet that client must be exceptional.

Related: What’s More Important to Investors: The Idea or the Team?

Plend aren’t just exceptional, they’re inspirational. That’s why we want every startup founder to hear their story, so you can be inspired too.

Introducing Plend

Plend - The Founders Casual - Robot Mascot

If you’ve been reading the business headlines over the past few weeks, Plend is a name that may already be on your radar. Their outstanding investment journey started with a massively successful pre-seed round that they overfunded by £300k, and now they’ve secured a whopping £40m in a seed round that included some extremely high-profile investors, including the founders of digital banking juggernauts Monzo and Starling.

It’s been an exciting ride, and we’ve been with them every step of the way.

Leading the way in ethical lending

Plend is a London-based ‘ethical’ lender with a brilliant product and an important mission: to rebuild the UK’s archaic and discriminatory credit system and put an end to financial exclusion.

By identifying a critical pain point that’s currently being experienced by over 13m people in this country, Plend set out to solve a significant problem.

The inspiration behind Plend

At present, the only way UK consumers can access financial products is based on their credit score. The credit score isn’t based on what someone can genuinely afford; it’s based on historical and limited data that’s also tied into a number of other factors, including whether they are a homeowner, how many times they’ve changed address, and how they appear on the electoral roll.

For that reason, a jaw-dropping number of consumers across the UK who should be eligible for credit are being refused because their credit score isn’t good enough. According to the Financial Inclusion Commission, this is a predicament that almost 20% of the UK population is currently facing.

Plend - The Founders - Robot Mascot

Robert Pasco faced it when he moved to the UK from New Zealand a decade ago. Despite having a well-paid job as a qualified accountant in the City of London, Robert quickly discovered that nobody would give him a low-cost loan because he didn’t have a UK credit history.

As a result, Robert had no option but to take out two credit cards with a prohibitively expensive APR (because even though he couldn’t borrow money, he could get credit cards) that eventually became too expensive to repay. It’s a trap that millions of desperate UK consumers have fallen into, and Robert fell into it too. He went into debt, which completely ruined the credit he had worked so hard to build up.

Today, even though Robert has managed his debts and is now debt-free, he still has a black mark on his credit file which prevents him from accessing credit for six years. In other words, he can’t get a mortgage, credit card, or overdraft, even though he’s the co-founder of one of the most successful and innovative new startups in the country!

Robert says that the fact his day-to-day circumstances were really strong but, because there were no data points on him, the three credit reference agency oligarchs that control the data said he didn’t exist, really irked him.

The truth was, it did more than irk him. It made him angry, especially after he realised how many millions of other people were in the same trap. It was finding a way to weaponise that anger and ‘not get mad, get even’ that gave Robert and co-founder Jamie Pursaill the inspiration and motivation to launch Plend.

“We want to liberate people from the concept of credit history,” Robert told us, “Rebuilding the concept of credit so that people don’t have to build it themselves.”

In our experience, every entrepreneurial breakthrough comes from a place of passion and, often, frustration. As you can see, that’s certainly the case where Plend is concerned.

Rebuilding the concept of credit

Robert and Jamie’s solution was to create an open-banking product called the PLEND Score. The PLEND Score uses a person’s transaction history to offer a loan based on a real-time picture of their true financial position instead of being based on biased and unfair credit scores.

Plend - Rebuilding Credit - Robot Mascot

The PLEND Score takes into account a person’s income, the stability of their outgoings, and how reliably they’re honouring their financial commitments. The biggest factor Plend looks at is affordability, to determine precisely what their client can afford to repay every month. That’s because most lenders only look at the net income details on the application form to assure themselves there’s money coming in and then, without asking any other questions, give the applicant a loan they often can’t afford to repay. That’s great for the applicant on the day, but it will get them into a lot of trouble further down the line.

Unlike the biased ‘legacy’ credit rating score, the PLEND Score is based on the applicant’s current situation, whether they’re stable, and what they can afford to repay. It’s an innovative product that’s not only levelling the credit rating playing field, it’s a fair, reasonable and non-exclusionary way for potentially millions of people to access affordable finance who are being blocked and often manoeuvred into crippling credit card debt by the present system.

Plend offers affordable loans ranging from £1,000 to £10,000 with 10%-25% APR. Since its launch in July 2022, the company has already processed over £40m in loan applications and its loan book is increasing by 20% month-over-month. By the end of 2022, Plend plans to have more than doubled its lending output.

And it doesn’t stop there. Thanks to its partnership with MakeMyHouseGreen, Plend is also providing customers with low-interest loans for green energy installations such as solar panels and heat pumps, and they’ve got many more ethical lending products in the pipeline.

What else has Plend achieved?

Even though it’s still a very young startup, Plend is already the first Certified B Corporation Pending lender in the UK.

Who are Plend’s investors?

Sivo, Active Partners, Velocity Juice, and the founders from Monzo, Starling Bank, and Oodle Car Finance joined existing investors Ascension, Tomahawk VC, DD Venture Capital, Haatch, Nationwide Building Society and NBS Ventures on Plend’s latest mega-successful £40m seed round.

Whether you’re a startup founder, a member of a startup team, or someone with a great idea who’s wondering how to begin the startup journey, we hope Plend’s story will inspire you. If nothing else, Plend proves what I can accomplish when you’ve got a brilliant concept and you’re driven by a passion to make change happen.

With the raft of high-powered investors that Robert and Jamie have already got backing them, not to mention their incredibly impressive team, we’re certain this is only the beginning for Plend. We’re proud to have been a very small part of it.

“Robot Mascot’s expertise in communicating and telling our story effectively has helped us create a really strong and compelling message for the future of social lending in the UK. I highly recommend them for startups and scale-ups at any stage of their journey. The team gets into the nitty-gritty of your idea in order to present the perfect pitch.” – Robert Pasco, Co-founder, Plend

How To Raise Investment – 10 Top Tips That Secured £40M (With Plend Co-founder, Robert Pasco)

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    2024-04-03T09:42:04+00:00January 25th, 2023|Categories: Pitching, Advice|