OakNorth founders Rishi Kholsa, left, and Joel Perlman.

LONDON — Entrepreneur-focused bank OakNorth has raised £154 million from Singapore investment group The Clermont Group, UK hedge fund Toscafund, and Coltrane Asset Management.

The consortium has purchased close to a 16% stake in the two-year-old business, valuing London-headquartered bank at £934 million ($1.3 billion).

It means OakNorth has reached so-called “unicorn” status — a private startup valued at over $1 billion. Earlier this year tech-focused investment bank GP Bullhound named OakNorth as a fintech startup it believes could one day be worth over $1 billion.

OakNorth was founded in 2015 as a “bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs.” It was founded by Rishi Khosla and Joel Perlman, who previously cofounded Copal Amba, a research company for banks that was sold to Moody’s in 2014.

OakNorth has lent over £800 million to date to fund the expansion of businesses such as healthy fast food chain LEON, Galliard Homes, and Brasserie Blanc.

Khosla, CEO of OakNorth, said: “While we have reached a £800 million loan book in two years, we know that this represents just a fraction of the businesses that need financing support. This funding will enable us to boost our lending by an additional £1.5bn and add thousands more jobs and homes in the UK.”

The business also plans to use the funding to roll out its inhouse lending platform, ACORN, to other lenders and banks around the world. The platform helps the bank originate, underwrite and monitor loans.

Kholsa said in a statement: “Rather than building a technology platform and then going to market trying to sell it, we wanted to build the platform and prove the concept in a highly regulated and highly competitive market – the UK – via OakNorth. Through ACORN we will be able to help lenders around the world unlock the underserved and underestimated market for bespoke loans to SMEs.”

Source:: Business Insider

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