Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling to London for the AltFi Conference, a large gathering of Alternative Finance platforms and institutional investors from the EU. I gave the US Perspective Keynote and spoke on the US panel with Peter Renton of LendAcademy and Richard Swart of U.C. Berkeley.
The energy in room reminded me of LendIt last year in NYC. The institutional investor community is excited about getting access to this new asset class, and the origination platforms are looking forward to the scale that these investors bring to the table.
The second theme of the conference for me was more operational in nature. As many of the institutional investors and originators have not worked together yet, there are many open questions that need to be solved in the next couple months in order to make the process seamless. This is an exciting opportunity for Orchard since we already have had to work through these problems in the US and will hopefully be able to bring our learned best practices to the EU.
Another interesting note is the UK Government’s support for the direct lending space. Vince Cable, the Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills spoke and hinted at the fact that the Government might compel the banks to offer alternative lender options to the borrowers they reject. I think the initiative to start the Alternative Business Funding website represents great progress for the industry and that we should set up one in the US to work more closely with DC.
Also Peter Renton has a great summary of the conference content on Lend Academy that I recommend checking out.
All the best,