Shaper: James Meekings

Show aired on 8th October 2016


James Meekings, Co-Founder, Funding Circle

James is Chief Commercial Officer at Funding Circle in the UK, the world’s leading marketplace for business loans. He is responsible for commercial development and growth in the UK. Prior to Funding Circle James was at OC&C Strategy Consultants where he advised on strategy and growth. Since James co-founded Funding Circle in 2010, the marketplace has grown to become the fifth largest net lender to small businesses in the UK, and launched in the US in Q4 2013. The UK Government, councils, hedge funds, family offices, and individuals are now lending more than $70m to businesses each month through the Funding Circle platform

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We have about fifty thousand people in the UK who are signed up.  There has been about 1.4 billion pounds which has been lent through the platform, so it’s going pretty well so far.

The key point is, this is open to anyone. Anyone who wants to take on a little bit more risk and earn a bit more with their money.

The beautiful thing about entrepreneurs they have to be incredibly naïve when you start a business. If they knew how difficult it was going to be a lot of people would never start a business in the first place.

A lot of people between the ages of twenty five and thirty five who are thinking this is the time I start a business – that was the camp we were in.

An entrepreneur, by definition, isn’t going to have all the skill sets but they need to try and solve all the problems.

We would be talking about how to build a better financial world in the kitchen, while most 25 year olds would probably be out in a club. I think we had a unique blend of friendship to start this up.

It’s leadership: you need to have difficult conversations with people and you need to earn the right to have those difficult conversations.

Britain needs to find the next Facebook. There have been so many US companies which have lead the way.

I want to be able to tell my grandson or granddaughter what I have done and for them to be like, whoa how did you do that?

Before you start a business you think that being your own boss is going to be easy, you are going to go out for lunch every day, you are not going to work many hours. That is categorically not true. I’ve never worked harder.