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New CEO at specialist property P2P lender has big ambitions in the development finance market

Mike Bristow, business strategy consultant, formerly of strategy consultancies OC&C, Roland Berger and Hambalt, has been appointed CEO of leading specialist property development peer-to-peer lender, CrowdProperty.

He co-founded CrowdProperty and has been on the Board as a Non-Executive Director since it was established in 2013 and he takes up management of the company from fellow co-founder, Simon Zutshi, who now becomes Chairman.

Mike has more than 18 years’ strategic advisory experience across a wide range of leading international companies and private equity funds and has particular expertise in consumer, B2B2C, digital and real estate sectors, which makes him the perfect choice to lead CrowdProperty in fulfilling its huge growth potential.

He says “I am delighted to take up the CEO position at this exciting time in the company’s development. We are investing across all levels and functions of the business, with the aim of becoming the number one place for SME property professionals to easily raise finance for development projects. We have more than 6,000 registered lenders and it is my responsibility to ensure that we maintain our 100% payback record to them, realising the 8% annual return on the projects they lend to. As CrowdProperty grows, our strategy is to keep true to the original ethos of P2P, by giving our lenders the autonomy to choose which of the wide range of quality projects on our platform they wish to invest in.

“Lenders tell us that they keep coming back to us for three big reasons: the expertise of our board in only selecting quality projects; the level of security we offer and the recoverability of our lenders’ funds. Our founding team shares almost 100 years’ property experience – which means we undertake stronger, quicker and more relevant due diligence and so only independently approve and list the best and most secure projects. We insist on first charge security on all projects we finance (just like the security and rights a mortgage company holds over a residential home) and, in the unlikely event that a default occurs, we would manage the project to completion or find the best alternative options to recover our lenders’ capital and interest. We don’t blindly repossess and fire-sell which other finance companies might do.

“Our experience also gives us a critical edge in truly understanding our customers and their needs, especially as surprisingly few lenders in both the traditional and peer to peer markets have direct, hands on experience in what they’re lending against and where they have, not many are independent of the projects offered. The system we have built over the last 4 years is proven, robust and now delivering the exponential growth that we know we can achieve. It also boasts superior economics to almost any peer to peer lending platform in the market and further benefits from our specialist focus on property – the highest growth peer to peer lending sector in the UK, which leads the world in property P2P lending.

“Fundamentally, we are solving major pains being experienced on both sides of our marketplace. On the one hand, property professionals are receiving appalling service from traditional funding providers, especially in terms of ease, speed, expertise and access to decision makers, all of which are pivotal to our proposition. On the other hand the general public are mostly getting sub-inflation returns on their savings – according to the Bank of England there is £1.3tr in savings accounts earning on average 0.8% interest. The big reason we can offer higher returns of 8%, is because of our structural cost advantage. We don’t have the high cost bases of traditional lenders, which include, for instance, their branch networks, origination costs and legacy IT systems. The CrowdProperty ISA then adds a tax-free cherry on top of the cake.”

Mike Bristow was, most recently, Managing Partner at the Strategy, M&A and Ventures consultancy, Growth Strategy, a very active investor in property technology (proptech) early-stage businesses and is also a mentor and investor at Pi Labs Property Innovation, Europe’s first venture capital platform exclusively investing in the proptech sector. He is also Co-Founder and Chairman of The Cooperative Property Company, a property investment company focusing on acquiring, developing and operating high yielding residential property in London, complemented by 16 years of experience in building his own property portfolio. He obtained a First Class Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Birmingham, completed an MBA at London Business School and recently the FT Non-Executive Director Diploma.

CrowdProperty (www.crowdproperty.com) has been responsible for almost £20m of property project loans between private individuals and UK professional property businesses. The company has unique proprietary access to the largest property network in the UK, the Property Investors Network (pin) which provides competitive advantage in terms of high quality deal origination and has enabled the proof of the business with limited marketing investment to date and a powerful foundation for wider origination strategies. CrowdProperty is now funding at speed – 5 of the last 8 projects listed on the platform, totalling £1.3m, took a total of 12 minutes and five seconds to fund – each one in under three minutes by hundreds of lenders.

CrowdProperty offers retail lenders:
- 8% per annum interest (tax-free if from the CrowdProperty ISA)
- 100% payback record
- Just like a mortgage company, it can repossess on behalf of the Crowd should the Borrower default on the loan – by holding the '1st legal charge' to protect lenders
- FCA regulated and authorised
- Short loans of 6 to 24 months in length
- Minimum loan size of just £500
- Tax-free lending through the CrowdProperty ISA and SIPP/SSAS pensions

CrowdProperty offers property professionals:
- The expertise of 100 years of property experience
- Access to decision makers
- Quick decisions
- Loans from £200k
- No hidden fees

Your capital is at risk. No FSCS protection. Past performance is not an indicator of future results. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may change. full risk warning.

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