Borro is a UK-US-based online pawnbroker and secured lender that offers loans secured on luxury assets. The company provides loans allowing clients to use luxury assets such as fine art, luxury and classic cars, jewellery, watches, antiques, fine wine, luxury handbags, memorabilia and other valuables. The company has offices in London, New York and Los Angeles.
|Headquarters||London, UK and United States|
|Paul Aitken, CEO|
|Services||Secured loans, Luxury Asset Loans, Collateral loan,|
Number of employees
As of 2016 Borro has written over £250,000,000 in lending and its average loan size on luxury assets is £55,000.
Borro was initially established with the aim of modernizing the image of asset-based lending, transforming it into a discreet, convenient and transparent way to release equity from assets over the Internet rather than on a High Street. The service was launched in the UK in August 2008.
Borro is a privately held finance company and was first funded by European Founders and partners Eden Ventures. In 2011 the asset lender received two sets of funding, firstly a £7,500,000 investment from Augmentum Capital in April 2011, then Octopus in a deal that would allow business to "meet the demands of services". In March 2014 Borro raised £67,000,000 from Victory Park Capital.
In October 2014 Borro announced it had reached the milestone of lending £100,000,000 in loans to individuals and small businesses. Also, as a result of the average loan values increasing from £7,000 to £15,000 from October 2013, Borro discontinued loans of less than £3,000.
New York LaunchEdit
In 2012 Borro launched its services to the USA market, offering a "unique"  alternative to liquidity lending and making quick cash available to individuals and businesses. By April Borro had reached over $1,000,000 on its loan book in the US. The March 2014 fundraise of $112,000,000 million in debt financing allowed the company to increase its lending capacity to $2,000,000 per asset.
In June 2014, Borro expanded its services further in the USA market, opening in California. The company explained it was vital to open an office in Los Angeles due to demand from partners and to gain a further understanding of the market in that area.
In February 2015, Borro raised an additional $19,500,000 in funding to fuel rapid growth in the UK and US. The funding round was led by new investor OurCrowd and existing investor Rocket Internet with existing investors Canaan Partners, Eden Ventures, and Augmentum Capital also participating. This round pushed Borro's total capital raised to over $200,000,000.
Luxury Asset LendingEdit
Borro was lauded as the UK's first ever online luxury asset lender. Soon after launch the company's advertising campaign commenced on television, aimed at the daytime audience and those seeking to take "discreet" loans online. Credit Today named Borro Alternative Lender of the Year in 2011 and 2012.
The success of Borro and the other newly established online loan companies can be aligned to the worldwide economic decline of 2008-2010. It was felt by some that, with banks cutting back on readily available funds to offer as loans to their customers, luxury asset lenders would be the acceptable alternative and that more people would begin to use the service. This trend to bypass banks and more conventional lenders has not just been applicable to personal finance but has risen in the business sector too with a reported one in four customers using Borro to facilitate a business transaction or opportunity.
In its initial 4 months Borro doubled its loan book every month, as a surge in business owners, developers, and City financiers attempted to secure loans on their luxury items gained in more wealthy times. By June 2011 it was reported in The Times that Borro conducted its first £1,000,000 loan.
In August 2013 it was suggested that online asset lending is a viable option when raising finance for a start-up company. It was also suggested that the increase in popularity of asset lending relates to the speed in which the funds could be released because the loan itself is secured against an asset.
The rise of online luxury asset lending was again underlined in 2014 when an article from Real Homes stating that asset lending could be used to raise finance for major renovations around the house. In the same month, it was presented by This is Money that jewellery can be used as collateral when sourcing funds for a new business.
In response to partner demand, Borro introduced a new, long-term loan in March 2015. Term Loans provide loans for 18, 24 or 36 months. Prompted by the launch of the Term Loan, Borro changed the name of its flagship product to Bridging Loans. Sale Advance Loans round out Borro’s product offerings. This product provides clients with a loan on their luxury asset(s) prior to it being sold at auction or private sale by Borro's experts. Upon sale of the luxury asset(s) the net proceeds are then remitted to the client.
Board of directorsEdit
Nigel Morris, Co-Founder of Capital One served as Borro's Non-Executive Chairman until December, 2016. John Allbrook, formerly Executive Chairman of SysCap began serving as Non-Executive Chairman in March, 2017. Borro’s Board of Directors includes Paul Aitken, Founder and CEO of Borro, Dan Ciporin from Canaan Partners, Paul Gratton from Egg, Tim Levene from Augmentum Capital, and Ben Tompkins from Eden Ventures.
In the MediaEdit
In 2011 Borro was featured in a Channel 4 documentary "The Pawn King" as part of its "First Cut" series which featured Paul Aitken the CEO and founder and an insight into the Pawnbroking industry. Screened at 7pm on Jan 14th, 2011, Channel 4 used the following to describe the programme: "In the tough economic climate, pawning is no longer just the preserve of the poor. First Cut provides a fascinating insight into the pawnbroking business." In a review the Guardian stated "Aitken's warehouses are crammed with Ferraris and artworks as well as the usual trinkets of sentimental but small financial value" 
In June 2011 Borro demonstrated why SME's are turning to short term lenders for cash as reported by the Financial Times In an interview for Bloomberg Paul Aitken expanded this point showing there was a greater trend in the self-employed and SME's looking for alternatives to bank funding as they are finding it increasingly difficult to raise finance in a conventional manner. So much so that in a Borro survey reported in the Financial Times, one in ten small business owners were willing to put up their domicile as security for a loan because of lack of viable alternatives.
At the beginning of 2012 the Daily Express highlighted the rise of families using their assets to raise money to pay school fees, solve business cash-flow problems or meet mortgage repayments, whereas The Daily Telegraph Business Club showed Borro as a new alternative lender.
On launching in the US Reuters reported in February 2012 the increasing number of people using wine collections as security for loans, as Borro lends $120,000 in exchange for 128 bottles of Chateau d'Yquem. Interest in the diverse range of assets used to secure finance with Borro was also expressed by CNN Money in the article “Got a Picasso? Get a small business loan.” highlighting the use of asset based loans by entrepreneurs and small businesses.
In July 2012 the Daily Mail presented how asset lending has become more popular amongst wealthy business owners that bought expensive assets during the years before the recession and now use them to speedily finance business opportunities. Yahoo cars highlighted the quantity and quality of cars being used to secure a loan.
In October 2012, Paul Aitken (CEO and Founder of Borro) explained in an interview for The Huffington Post that there was an increase on small firms using alternative financing methods because those alternative methods are more accessible than the banks.
In November 2012, The Telegraph showed how wealthy individuals are using their valuable pieces of art to take out loans in order to raise finance.
The Times reported in February 2013 that Borro had appointed Nigel Morris, one of the UK's most successful entrepreneurs and co-founder of Capital One as chairman.
In August 2013 BestAdvice.net reported on how introducers are providing a business boost to Borro, stating that Borro had seen a 40% increase in sign-ups to its introducer programme, which includes; wine merchants, art dealers, mortgage brokers, accountants, wealth managers and loan brokers. During the same month, the Financial Times presented that there had been an increase in the amount of fine wine used to raise funds.
In October 2013 the Wall Street Journal showed that Borro as a personal asset lender fills a lending void that was perhaps previously unavailable. In this particular report, Borro had assisted an individual in releasing equity in a bronze nude torso sculpture.
The Mirror presented in December 2013 the variety of assets that Borro have lent against. The article showed that Borro has released equity in everything from Olympic gold medals to F1 cars and Oscars.
The Economic Voice presented in August 2014 that Borro were continuing to boost small businesses by offering alternative methods of financing. It was reported in the article that the average SME loan at Borro had increased from £24000 to £26000 from the previous year.
In October 2014, the Wall Street Journal produced an online video featuring Borro. CEO, Paul Aitken, was interviewed about the history of the business and how it provides short-term loans to the wealthy.
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- Credit Today Awards
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