Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance says 21 SMEs raised €600,000 in funding during the first two weeks of its new fixed rate loan offering.

The firm said that as part of its strategy to accelerate growth, it has moved from a model where lenders “bid” the interest rate they would offer to a company seeking funds, to one where a fixed-rate is set at the beginning of the process.

Linked Finance says the new approach reduces rate uncertainty for borrowers makes the funding process quicker, with the average loan closing in less than 30 hours.

A €40,000 loan for Tipperary stove suppliers, Ryan Stoves, was fully funded in just under eight hours, according to the company.

Companies who apply to borrow loans are given a credit rating based on Linked Finance’s proprietary system which looks at a business’s credit history, stability and ability to repay, and then approves a loan at an interest rate appropriate to the company’s rating.

Linked Finance CEO Niall Dorrian said: “The fixed rate loan launch has been a huge success, with both lenders and borrowers engaging enthusiastically with the new approach.”

He added: “With our ambitious plans to grow lending to over €350m by the end of 2019, we are now looking at the involvement of strategic partners on to the platform.