Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance said it has now issued a milestone €100m in loans to Irish SMEs as it plans to double its headcount over the coming months. 

Linked Finance has now provided more than 2,160 loans to  local businesses in every county of the country since it was established six years ago. 

It employs 25 people and plans to increase that to 50 over the next year.

Linked Finance said it offers Irish SMEs a "refreshing alternative" to the long waits and form filling that business had faced when applying for finance, with the time from initial application to receipt of funding taking as little as 24 hours. 

Niall Dorrian, CEO of Linked Finance said, the fact that over €100m has been lent on the platform is clear evidence that Linked Finance is now seen as an attractive source of funds for ambitious Irish SMEs. 

"Our ability to deliver quick decisions through a simple, user-friendly application process has already proven extremely popular with business owners," he added.

It took Linked Finance almost five years to reach its first €50m in lending but it only took less than a year to hit the €100m milestone. 

"This rapid rate of growth is a clear indication that our model is gaining real traction and why we plan to double our headcount in 2020," Mr Dorrian said.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said that availability of credit is a key consideration for all businesses.

He said he was aware of the role peer to peer lending is playing in broadening competition in the SME finance market. 

"I congratulate the team at Linked Finance for hitting the milestone of €100m of lending and for helping over 2,100 Irish companies with capital to fund their growth," Mr Donohoe said. 

Companies that have raised funding with Linked Finance in the past include Viking Splash Tours, The Rolling Donut, Lolly & Cooks, Murphy’s Ice Cream, Iconic Offices and the Irish Fairy Door Company.