Non-bank lender Linked Finance has announced that it has hit the milestone of lending over €200m since its launch in 2013.
Linked Finance is a peer-to-peer lender, which allows individuals, companies and investors to offer money to businesses in the form of a loan.
Linked Finance said it took it six years to reach the first €100m and just three years to reach the €200m milestone.
The lender said it is now on track to lend €45m to SMEs this year, more than double the €19m lent in 2020.
It is also forecasting up to €100m in annualised lending in 2024, as banks tighten their risk appetite or exit the market completely.
Linked Finance has now provided 3,300 loans to ambitious local businesses in every county of the country.
It said it was seeing strong demand for loans this year across the Retail, Transport and Construction sectors.
Linked Finance expanded its product portfolio through the introduction of its new Merchant Cash Advance in February 2022 and increased the maximum loan size to €500,000 in June.
This followed a successful participation in the Government Credit Guarantee scheme in which Linked Finance was able to deploy over €30m in loans to businesses affected during the Covid pandemic.
Lending over the last nine years has focussed on the capital and major cities - Dublin (€72m), Cork (€17m), Galway (€8m) and Limerick (€7m).
Other counties of high demanded including those surrounding Dublin - Meath (€10m), Kildare (€10m) and Wicklow (€8m) as well as also Wexford (€7m), Tipperary (€7m) and Kerry (€5m).
Niall O'Grady, CEO of Linked Finance, said that hitting the €200m milestone in loans clearly demonstrates the success of a simple, fast SME lending model.
"This is particularly important when the banks are either too slow for SMEs or leaving the country completely. Our platform regularly connects Irish SMEs with retail lenders who recognise their enormous potential and want to invest in them," Mr O'Grady said.
"Linked Finance is introducing new products and increasing limits on existing loans to ensure we stay ahead of the banks. We pride ourselves on providing a model that is efficient and transparent, allowing Irish businesses to take control of their finances and meet their objectives," he added.
Companies that have raised funding with Linked Finance in the past include the Rolling Donut, Kokoro Sushi Bento, Lolly & Cooks, Murphy's Ice Cream, the Irish Fairy Door Company and Schoolbooks.ie.
Andy Byrne, from Schoolbooks.ie, said that Linked Finance has been the company's go-to stocking loans provider in recent years.
"When we needed to scale up art and craft supplies and school-book stock to meet homeschooling demands during the lockdown they were there to provide the finance we needed," Mr Byrne said.
"The process of raising the funds is quick and easy to understand with minimal paperwork and bureaucracy. This has allowed us to match our requirements with the needs of the customer and grow our operations at the right pace," he added.