UC Berkeley, Nesta and the University of Cambridge jointly launch the UK Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey

UC Berkeley, Nesta and the University of Cambridge jointly launch the UK Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey

Berkeley, London and Cambridge. The world’s leading entrepreneurial and social finance research centre at the University of California, Berkeley is partnering with Nesta and the University of Cambridge to launch the UK Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey. Opens on 25 November and closes on 5 December, this benchmarking survey aims to capture the size, transaction volume and growth of the alternative finance market by focusing on crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and invoice financing activities in the UK. This benchmarking research is also supported by members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Crowdfunding and Non-Banking Finance and will be disseminated freely to participating intermediaries, financial regulators, governmental departments, industrial trade associations, the wider public and the press.

In recent years, the British alternative finance sector has witnessed unprecedented development and unparalleled growth since the global financial crisis. From equity crowdfunding, to peer-to-peer lending, from invoice factoring to reward crowdfunding, these alternative financing activities are supplying credit to SMEs, providing early-stage investments to start-ups, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, creating jobs, stimulating regional economies and funding worthwhile causes. However, little information is presently available regarding the overall size of the sector or the year-on-year growth of respective industries in the UK. There is no independent, systematic and reliable academic research to scientifically benchmark the size and growth of the sector. It is in this context that UC Berkeley, Nesta and Cambridge University are collaborating to collect and analyse aggregate-level data of the UK alternative finance market through this benchmarking survey.

Dr Richard Swart, who is leading the research team, states that: “The University of California, Berkeley is honored to be partnering with Nesta and Cambridge to develop accurate and reliable data on alternative finance that can be shared with policy makers, regulators and researchers. With the cooperation of peer-to-peer, crowdfunding and invoice factoring providers, the UK is leading the way in creating open and transparent data sharing on this important new area of finance.”

Mr Barry Sheerman MP, the Co-Chair of the APPG on Crowdfunding and Non-Banking Finance, comments that: “It is very promising to see such a high calibre partnership between Berkeley-Nesta-Cambridge to support the collection and dissemination of real information about one of the most exciting and dynamic parts of the financial services sector. I give my full support to this outstanding initiative which will certainly serve to build momentum and improve the overall credibility and understanding of alternative finance industries.”

Dr Julian Huppert MP, the other Co-Chair of the APPG, adds that: “Alternative finance is a really exciting and dynamic sector, and has the potential to grow much further. But we do need to know how large a sector it actually is, and this survey will be incredibly valuable for that purpose.”

The core research team consists of Dr Richard Swart (rswart@berkeley.edu), the Director of Research at the Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial Finance at the University of California, Berkeley; Liam Collins (Liam.Collins@nesta.org.uk), a Policy Advisor focusing on innovation and economic growth at Nesta; and Bryan Zhang (zz251@cam.ac.uk), a PhD Researcher in Crowdfunding and Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge.



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