Berlin-based CrossLend raises €35m for digital debt marketplace

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Santander chairman Ana Patricia Botin in January. Photo: Reuters/Sergio Perez

Berlin-based debt marketplace startup CrossLend on Wednesday said that it had raised €35m (£30.1m) from a series of investors, including Spanish banking giant Santander (SAN).

The startup, which buys loans, splits them up, and sells the pieces on to investors, operates a technology platform that it says makes the European debt market more transparent.

The €35m in Series B funding — CrossLend’s second major round of funding — comes on top of the €14m in funding raised in September 2018.

Santander’s fintech venture capital fund, known as Santander InnoVentures, led the funding round. Existing investors Lakestar, ABN AMRO Ventures, and Earlybird also participated in the round.

CrossLend was founded in 2014 with the goal of making investment in buying debt more accessible and efficient. It has pioneered a new form of securitisation, a process of bundling loans that became controversial in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Packaging individual slices of loans was supposed to free up funding for banks and reduce risk for investors.

But many assets created by securitisation prior to the crash ended up being worth far less than expected, in part because ratings agencies underestimated the likelihood of default on the mortgage loans that had been sliced up.

CrossLend, however, securitises loans at far cheaper prices, and individual loans can be bought for as little as €1,500. The company takes the loan receivables — the repayments due to a bank — onto its own balance sheet, and offers them in the form of a new product.

“By means of an innovative securitisation solution, CrossLend seamlessly connects originator supply with institutional investor demand, creating beneficial opportunities for both,” the company said on Wednesday.

“With lenders empowered to lend more and investors able to deploy their capital more efficiently, liquidity is available to flow where it is needed: a win-win situation for all.”

CrossLend has the “opportunity to become an industry standard, interlinking capital markets in Europe and potentially elsewhere,” said Manuel Silva Martínez, a partner at Santander InnoVentures, on Wednesday.