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Russian billionaire buys into German online lending startup

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - 16:34
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Russian billionaire Oleg Boyko's private-equity company bought a stake in Germany's Spotcap as the online lender backed by Rocket Internet SE secured its biggest financing to date.

[BERLIN] Russian billionaire Oleg Boyko's private-equity company bought a stake in Germany's Spotcap as the online lender backed by Rocket Internet SE secured its biggest financing to date.

Spotcapraised 31.5 million euros (S$48 million) from Boyko's Finstar Financial Group and existing investor Holtzbrinck Ventures, chief executive officer Toby Triebel said by phone. Spotcap lends to small and medium-sized companies, offering applicants a loan decision minutes after an algorithm rates their creditworthiness.

Boyko made a fortune as a banker and the steel industry, and had invested in slot machine halls until Russian President Vladimir Putin banned gambling in 2009. Finstar has since invested in ventures including 4finance Holding and its affiliate, micro-loan-ATM operator SMS Finance.

"Spotcap is one of the leaders in the small and medium- sized enterprise lending space," Finstar CEO Nicholas Jordan said by phone. "It's very complementary to some of the things we're doing." Spotcap will use the funds to grow existing offerings in Spain, the Netherlands and Australia, where it lends up to 250,000 Australian dollars, Mr Triebel said. It's also looking at several new markets, he said, declining to be more specific. Spotcap may consider starting in Russia, where Finstar has invested mostly in consumer lending, Mr Triebel said.

Started in 2014, Spotcap employs about 70 people at offices in Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid and Sidney. Billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries LLC also backs the company.

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