LendInvest’s Latest Buy-to-Let Index Reveals: Manchester Tops Charts & Hull is Named Biggest Climber

On Wednesday, specialist property lender LendInvest released its latest LendInvest Buy-to-Let Index report, which ranks all 105 postcode areas around England and Wales based ona combination of four metrics, which are capital gains, transaction volumes, rental yields, and rental price growth. The new report also includes a special feature that looks at the towns and cities that have climbed up the rankings the most during 2017.

The Index report’s key findings include:

  • Manchester, leader of the Northern Powerhouse, takes top spot
  • Leicester breaks into the Top 10 and Birmingham climbs 8 places from #18 to #11, signaling upward mobility in the Midlands markets
  • Hull marks itself as biggest climber for 2017, rising 93 places to #6
  • Enfield tumbles from Top 10 in February to Bottom 10 in December

While sharing details about the latest Index report, Ian Boden, Sales Director at LendInvest, stated:

“This month we see good news for the North as Manchester finally secures its spot in first place in our Index after a closely watched climb to the top. Cities such as Leicester (#10), Birmingham (#11), and Nottingham (#24) have also made significant gains in the Index, signaling a clear fueling of the Midlands engine.”

Boden also noted:

“Our biggest climber for the year was Hull. Since becoming ‘City of Culture’ back in January, Hull has received a new wave of confidence in the form of increased investment in the area. However, the lack of Northern dominance in the remainder of the Top 10 Climbers is interesting to note in light of recent headlines that have suggested property investment in the North will outperform that of other regions around the country.

“Elsewhere in the list, it’s great to see towns like Slough, Leicester and Cambridge ascend the list with such gusto. The location of these high climbers, ranging from Cornwall to East Yorkshire, shows how dynamic and ever-changing UK property investment can be across the country. As we move into 2018 and roll out more of our new BTL loans, we look forward to working with investors countrywide on their property projects.”

See the full report below.

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LendInvest Launches Buy-to-Let Loans for Professional Landlords & Investors in England, Wales, & Scotland

LendInvest, a specialist property finance lender, announced on Thursday it has launched a buy-to-let (BTL) loan product targeted at experienced, professional property investors and landlords operating in England, Wales and Scotland. According to the platform, BTL loans are available for amounts between £50,000 and £5 million, and on terms of up to 30 years. A maximum loan-to-value of 80% applies.

“The loans are available via intermediaries. They have been priced to be highly competitive in the current specialist BTL market, and include attractive 2, 3 and 5-year fixed rate products. Loans are available for professional individuals and limited companies. The BTL product has been developed with portfolio landlords in mind and caters for the full spectrum of the residential property investment market.”

LendInvest then noted it has a fully online platform that brokers can use to apply for the BTL product for their clients. The end-to-end, paperless system was specially designed to alleviate pain points in the typical BTL mortgage process that will be very familiar to brokers and their clients, speed up applications, and provide greater administrative support to LendInvest’s experienced underwriting team. It will allow LendInvest to issue decisions (both in principle and final) very swiftly, as well as being agile and responsive to get borrowers’ deals done in as little time as possible.

In addition to benefitting from this fast and efficient online system, brokers will also continue to receive a personalized service from a named LendInvest case manager assigned to their applications. Sharing more details about the BTL mortgage process, Ian Boden, Sales Director at LendInvest, stated:

“Today we’re bringing to market a BTL product that has been created to counter the complaints and concerns we hear from brokers about the quality and accessibility of BTL loans currently on offer. Our online proposal system has been specially designed to be highly efficient, quick and easy to navigate, and lets brokers dip in and out of their clients’ applications at times that suit them. Combining these benefits with highly competitive rates, we’re confident LendInvest BTL loans will fast become a commonplace feature of the specialist lending market.”

Ian Thomas, Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer at LendInvest, added:

“Following a successful pilot phase, we are very pleased to launch our BTL product into England, Wales and Scotland. This launch is a natural next step for LendInvest, taking us into the longer duration specialist lending space for the first time. Offering BTL loans is a critical strategic step that not only serves to address a continuing funding shortage, but takes us closer to our long-term ambition of becoming a leading whole-of-market mortgage lender.”

All-Women Exec Legal Tech! JustBeagle Reaps £970K Seed Funding on SyndicateRoom

JustBeagle, a legal tech startup all-of-market legal services comparison site aiming to  transform traditional approaches to the purchase of legal services today announced it has raised £970,000 in seed round financing from high-net worth investors. Online crowd funding investment platform SyndicateRoom supported the raise by bringing a number of its investors to the round. Seed funding will accelerate scaling of the business to reshape an opaque legal market and democratise access to legal services, making the legal market fairer for all.

“For too long, the process of accessing information about legal providers has been complicated, costly and out of touch with the way connected consumers want to search for legal services,” commented JustBeagle and LegalBeagles CEO Kate Briscoe. “Over the last 10 years we have seen increased demand from people looking for impartial help searching for a lawyer while using our free legal information platform, LegalBeagles. It was clear there was significant pent-up demand which was not being met for consumers and equally law firms have not had access to a neutral platform to showcase and benchmark their services.”

JustBeagle is the first all of market independent search and legal comparison site to directly connect consumers and SMEs to over 10,000+ law firms across England and Wales and address the persistent problem of people being unable to access good quality legal help when they really need it.

“JustBeagle is set to change that, increasing transparency by enabling online price comparison and the ability to search for solicitors by expertise, while giving law firms dealing with a triple whammy of pressure from regulatory changes, transparency on pricing and competitive demands, an opportunity to amplify their social media profile and directly connect with interested consumers,” added Briscoe. “We are excited to offer a one-stop-shop technology platform and open legal marketplace that will connect consumers and law firms to fast track change and make it easier for consumers to get the best out of the British legal system”.

[clickToTweet tweet=”.@LegalBeagles ‏CEO @celestineLB #seedround #womenintech #legaltech @crowdfundinside @syndicateroom ” quote=”‘Over the last 10 years we have seen increased demand from people looking for impartial help searching for a lawyer while using our free legal information platform, LegalBeagles,’ LegalBeagles CEO Kate Briscoe. “]

Consumers and SMEs spend £12 billion a year on law and are increasingly searching online for legal services, but there has been a disconnect between consumer need and existing solutions with people being underserved by traditional approaches to search and comparison of legal services. Pioneer LegalBeagles is the UK’s most popular free legal information platform and now with JustBeagle creates a one-stop-shop open digital legal marketplace offering free legal advice and the ability to search and compare legal service providers across England and Wales.

“JustBeagle is a strong example of a company born from customer need. Having already created a massive community at Legalbeagles, Kate, Pam, and the rest of the team knew exactly what the market was missing when they decided to setup JustBeagle and already had the receptive audience to market to,” explained SyndicateRoom CTO and co-founder Tom Britton. “So when they approached us to participate in their fundraising efforts we couldn’t resist. Not only does JustBeagle have a heavily-tested product and an extensive and warm audience, the company plays in a rapidly expanding legaltech market that’s set to continue growing for many years to come.”

Co-founded by CEO and respected consumer rights advocate Kate Briscoe, Legal Beagles Co-founder Sharon Coleman and Pam Austen, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, JustBeagle’s mobile first easy-to-compare site demystifies a traditional process and makes it simpler for law firms to attract and engage online consumers looking to find the right lawyer, access independent specialist legal advice and instruct a solicitor whether dealing with a divorce or writing a will.  JustBeagle helps consumers and SMEs looking for lawyers online to search for legal providers by criteria including location, sector experience and any fixed fee pricing available, making it simpler for them to make informed choices before making a purchase.

Law firms may now advertise across LegalBeagles and JustBeagle mobile digital advertising platform reaching over 1.7 million consumers, many of whom are looking for impartial help searching for a lawyer. JustBeagle’s all-of-market comparison site will provide a digital hub for introductions of work between consumers and law firms. JustBeagle’s independent aggregated rankings and reviews system aims to make research simpler for consumers to benchmark the whole market online while enabling law firms to connect to consumers directly and be part of the solution of tackling unmet legal needs.

To help law firms translate strength of their offline brand to an online community and also increase online success, legal providers paying subscriptions can reach active users across the open marketplace encompassing both LegalBeagles and JustBeagle online communities. JustBeagle law firm members can post enhanced personal profiles, curated content and blogs on JustBeagle as well as access branded assistance, direct advertising and links on LegalBeagles to reach interested consumers through a multi-channel digital strategy. Traffic from LeagleBeagles, with one million pages of published content and 5 million yearly pages viewed, will support JustBeagle in addition to direct organic search on the comparison site.

LendInvest Releases Latest Buy-to-Let Index Report That Revealed Northern Markets Challenge the South East

Marketplace lending platform LendInvest announced on Friday it has released the latest LendInvest Buy-to-Let Index report with a spotlight on university towns.

Published quarterly, the LendInvest Buy-to-Let Index notably ranks each postcode area around England and Wales based on a combination of four critical metrics: capital value growth, transaction volumes, rental yield and rental price growth.

Key findings for September 2017

  • Luton, a convenient commuter town north-west of London, retains top spot
  • Colchester climbs the table (#4 to #2), eclipsing near-neighbor Rochester (#4) which sees fall in both rental yield and capital gains
  • Manchester moves into the Top 3 on strength of rental yields and capital gains, and Hull climbs 28 places from #33 to #5, signaling further upward mobility in the Northern markets

Ian Boden, Sales Director at LendInvest, stated:

“This quarter’s data supports the strong market sentiment that the impact of price sensitivity in London and the South East isn’t being felt to the same degree elsewhere around the country. Cities such as Hull and Nottingham making significant gains in the Index (up #33 to #5 and #35 to #12 respectively) is encouraging, and points to competitive market conditions in those areas and higher than average levels of activity. Maintaining a balance between the types of tenure in our housing system is more important than ever. We would expect to increasingly see professional BTL investors become cross-country landlords, and diversify their portfolios by looking beyond their local areas to find the best investment opportunities elsewhere around the UK and entering alternative asset classes.”

See the full report below.

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Welsh Hydrogen Car Company Riversimple Crowdfunds £1.14 Million

The Wales-based car company Riversimple closed its crowdfunding campaign on April 9th, totaling £1.14 million and exceeding their £1 million goal (with a stretch goal fo £3 million). This crowdfunding project was conducted in the attempt to match a £1.7 million grant from the European Union to hand build and test 20 hydrogen cars. Riversimple utilized the ShareIn service to launch the crowdfunding campaign directly on their website.

In a blog post, Riversimple stated;

“As our first crowdfunding closed at midnight on Sunday 9th April, we were thrilled to have reached over £1,138,000. A huge thank you to all those who have pledged to join us on this exciting and important journey towards clean and efficient cars.”

Riversimple’s founder, Hugo Spowers, commented on the crowdfunding success with InsiderMedia;

“I am delighted that we have not only passed our first tranche target of £1m, but the interest was so keen that we exceeded that figure. This is down to a growing demand for low emission personal transport and to the efforts of our team, because the people that work here make this company worth investing in. The funding enables us to start building cars for our beta-test, which will take place in Wales and will be the first trial of its kind in the motor industry. Feedback from users will directly influence the final car design.

Spowers said that Wales has been highly supportive of the development of their vehicle and it remains the only country with a sustainability mandate.

Riversimple’s most recent vehicle, the Rasa, was launched in 2016. This project has an illustrious team, including ex-Formula 1 and aerospace engineers, along with the former chief of design at Fiat. Hydrogen fuel cells have a huge future potential. No other sustainable options can compare to the technology’s range. Where electric cars, such as Tesla, can travel up to 265 miles, hydrogen fuel cell cars can reach 300 miles. In addition, electric cars take a substantial amount of time to reach a full charge while hydrogen cars take only three minutes.

Car pollution stands as an important issue in the years to come. In the United Kingdom, around 40,000 people die every year as a result of air pollution from cars. In addition, health issues in the UK related to pollution costs £20 billion a year. This remains a huge issue that needs to be solved.

Riversimple has designed their hydrogen fuel cars so that people want them rather than just buy them out of eco-guilt. They look good, are lightweight, and are fun to drive.

They also employ a unique business model, capitalizing on the recent consumer attitude shift away from ownership towards user-ship. Rather than treating their cars like a product, it will be a service. Customers will pay for mileage, singing a 1-3 year long contract with an inclusive monthly fee.

This model contrasts the rest of the industry, but Riverside says that it further benefits the consumer. By treating their cars like a service, it is in Riversimple’s best interest to make the cars as efficient and long-lasting as possible.

In addition to their crowdfunding campaign and the EU grant, Riversimple also obtained a £2 million grant from the Welsh government in 2015. This totals their funding over £5 million. Will Riversimple be able to use this money to create successful prototypes?

Join the Movement that is Riversimple from Fiona Spowers on Vimeo.

What the Hell Happens Now? Crowdfunding Results in 650 Guides to Brexit for MPs

Justen Hyde, a software engineer with Emergent Design Ltd, began crowdfunding eight days ago on JustGiving to address the Brexit fallout.  His initial goal?  Raise £3,959 (approximately $5,000) within a month to send every Member of Parliament — all 650 of them — a copy of “Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?” by Ian Dunt.  Hyde met his goal in about a week, far ahead of his timeline of a month.

brexit-bookThe publishing company of the book, Canbury, offered to pay for half of the books (before postage and crowdfunding fees), reducing the bill for the campaign from £6,393 to £3,959.

With about three weeks remaining in the campaign, he has increased the crowdfunding amount goal and upped the objective: £5,768 (approximately $7,000) total for another 297 policymakers for a total of 947 policymakers.  This would include sending copies of the book to Members of the Scottish Parliament and Members of the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies.  As of the time of writing, the campaign has raised 74 percent of its goal, or £5,768.

“OUR MAIN GOAL, BOOKS FOR MPS IS NOW 100% FUNDED. We’ll be sending them out when the funding period finishes – so early in January. You may have noticed that our target has just increased. I’ve added the Devolved Assemblies stretch goal: If we can raise an extra £1809 beyond the original goal, we can provide the Scottish Parliament, Welsh and Northern Ireland assembly members with a copy too so they can be better prepared to hold the government to account.”

As reported by The Guardian, Hyde said;

“I’m just staggered by the response. I don’t even have much of a social media presence, so this has been incredible. … After the referendum, I have been waiting for some sort of clarity from the government about what happens next. But I have become so frustrated that no one in power seems to have a clue about what they are doing. If I approached my [job] in the same way that the government is approaching Brexit, I would be in deep trouble.”

What did “Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?” writer Dunt have to say of the campaign?  He told The Guardian;

“There has been so little content to the debate that MPs are having in parliament, I really hope that those who are backing ‘leave [the EU]’ will read [the book].”

Hyde noted that any excess funding after sending policymakers the books will be donated to The Book Trust.

Brief: Seedrs Selected as Funding Partner For New Welsh Government Program

SeedrsEarlier this week, equity crowdfunding platform, Seedrs, announced that it has been chosen to be the funding partner for the Welsh government’s Accelerate Growth Program, which is seeking £20 million.

According to Tech City News, the program of training and mentoring is set to see up to 1,000 export-focused, high-growth companies for three years to take their ideas global. It is being led by Newport’s Impact Innovation, along with KPMG, Santander, HSBC and IP Group.

Sharing his excitement for the new venture, co-founder and CEO of Seedrs, Jeff Lynn stated:

Jeff Lynn CEO Seedrs“It is a great honor for Seedrs to have been selected as a partner in the Welsh government’s Accelerated Growth Program. We are particularly pleased to be working together with Impact Innovation, which is an experienced, highly professional organization with a strong track record of supporting the Welsh growth business community. We are delighted to partner with them to support the ambitions of Welsh growth focused businesses.”

David Notley, Managing Director of Impact Innovation, reportedly noted:

David Notley“We are very pleased to be working with Seedrs to deliver the game-changing Accelerated Growth Programme to high-growth Welsh companies. Seedrs is the leading crowdfunding platform in Europe. They have funded hundreds of ambitious, growth focused businesses across many sectors throughout Europe, and we are delighted to offer our businesses the benefits of such a professional approach to crowdfunding to raise the capital they need to grow.”


Wales’ First Crowdfunding Platform Funding Empire Offers Up First Loans

Money Tree from Funding EmpireUK based online crowdlending platform, Funding Empire, will be listing their first loans today, October 14, 2013.  The peer to peer lending platform released this announcement following their successful launch of their lender and borrower registration process – a precursor to offering loans up to the public.  Lender registration was available on September 23rd.

The platform proudly shared the fact they are are officially Wales’ first Crowdfunding platform.  Funding Empire is expected to also soon announce  forthcoming partnerships which will aid in expanding the platform

Only registered users will be able to view offered loans on the site but it is free to join. The site also welcomes broker businesses.

Peer to Peer lending platforms have quickly established themselves as a viable alternative to traditional bank loans.  The industry has not Funding Empirebeen regulated and is awaiting comments from the Financial Conduct Authority which may alter the way these platforms operate.

Funding Empire facilitates loans in value from £5000 up to £100,000.  Interest rates are expected to range from  4% to 15% depending on the loan.  Once a lender selects a possible loan they would like to support, registered users may lend anywhere from £20 up to the entire amount of the loan.  The offering is done as a reverse style auction with only the final interest rate bids making up the final interest rate quoted to the borrower.


Funding Empire to Release Borrower Application Monday

Funding EmpireFunding Empire, a UK based online crowdlending platform, has scheduled the formal release of their borrower application process to facilitate debt crowdfunding in the United Kingdom.  Scheduled for release on Monday, September 23rd, this follows their successful launch of their lender registration process.

The objective of opening lender registrations early was for lenders to become familiar with the platform and the process of uploading funds. With many lenders having now registered and funds uploaded, the platform is now ready to bid on live loan requests as soon as they are posted on our platform.

During an initial assessment period where Funding Empire reviews the suitability of our initial batch of loan requests they will post the successful offerings on the crowdfunding platform for lenders to bid their money to.  They currently estimate the initial round of offerings will be available around October 4, 2013.  The platform has indicated the initial round of businesses submitting their requests have been very encouraging regarding the quality

Presently in the United Kingdom debt based crowdfunding is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  The FCA has continued to review these developments as more peer to peer lending platforms become established in the United Kingdom and there is growing discussion regarding the need for further regulator structure.

Parag PatelFunding Empire is proud to be Wales’ first crowdfunding platform.  The company was started in recognition of the growing challenge businesses face in getting funding from banks.  Funding Empire was founded in 2012 by current Managing Director Parag Patel.