Angus Dent is CEO of ArchOver peer-to-peer business lending platform, which connects established UK businesses with investors seeking a secure and favourable return. It has to date facilitated lending of over £65 million while delivering returns of up to 10 per cent p.a. to its growing investor base. Underpinning this rapid growth, they also launched three new lending services as well as their Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA).
‘ArchOver was born out of our own experiences as entrepreneurs and directors,’ says Dent, who qualified as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse Coopers, and has held a number of senior directorships in AIM and TSX listed companies. ‘We realised how difficult it was for businesses to raise working capital in the range of £250,000 to £5 million. We also saw that those with cash were earning next to nothing in interest and that, for those potential investors, security was imperative. Our first thoughts of how to overcome these issues became the founding principles of ArchOver, and so we set out to support UK businesses and UK investors alike in a fair and innovative way.’
While many aspects of the business have changed since their first loan in 2014, their founding principles have always remained the same. ‘As we move forward into the new world of tomorrow, we look back at how far we have come and can clearly see that the way we do things has evolved, alongside our understanding of our clients’ needs … but what hasn’t changed, is our ethos,’ adds Dent.
In recent months, ArchOver has made a number of senior appointments in support of its rapid growth. Bill Johnston, Group Finance Director for the Hampden Group, joined its board of directors as a non-executive director (NED). Initially a sceptic, Johnston recognised that ArchOver was a business of substance, poised to move on to the next stage of growth, and requested to act as a link between ArchOver and Hampden. He supports ArchOver in formularising its training and development programme. Jerry Gilbert joined the team as Commercial Director in September 2017, bringing with him 20 years’ experience building and managing high-performing commercial teams. He provides strategy and structure around ArchOver’s growing commercial activities.
David Swanson, a former institutional lender on the ArchOver platform, joined as Head of Lending in May 2018. Having himself invested with ArchOver and with more than 25 years’ experience in the securities business, Swanson is intimately familiar with the lenders’ perspective and is responsible for the strategy and execution of identifying and engaging funders for ArchOver. ‘One of the main things we look at in a potential borrower is the quality and experience of their management team,’ says Dent. ‘It has been really exciting to see our own team grow and develop over the past few years and, with each new appointment, we acquire yet more expertise to both help us achieve our ambitious goals and service our Borrowers and Lenders in the most effective way possible. Onwards and upwards!’
ArchOver is a member of the Hampden Group, which ‘gives us a strength and depth that sets us apart from our competitors’, says Dent. A leading provider of financial and business support services which manages insurance assets and has an underwriting capacity in excess of £2bn, Hampden is both an investor in ArchOver (the company), and an active investor over the ArchOver platform, investing on the same terms as every other Lender.