Founders: Errol Damelin & Jonty Hurwitz
Turnover 2009: £18.6m
Turnover 2010: £73.8m
This year marks Wonga.com’s second consecutive triumph in the Angel or VC-backed Business of the Year category at the Fast Growth Business Awards,
after also winning Technology Business of the Year in 2010.
Co-founded in 2006 by Errol Damelin and Jonty Hurwitz, online lender Wonga.com has taken the £60bn UK short-term lending market by storm, winning over many consumers who had not previously used such services. Indeed this is the case for 75% of the service’s customers, while 90% favour the facility despite having access to alternative credit amenities such as overdrafts and credit cards.
Subsequently, the company has grown rapidly – nearly quadrupling turnover between 2009 and 2010 and expanding personnel from 40 to 130 employees in the last 12 months. Wonga.com has provided over two and a half million loans to its online customers since 2007.
Backed by some of the world’s leading venture capital investors, in December 2010 the company raised £73m from top technology VCs and the Wellcome Trust. This has allowed the business to invest in innovation, providing a 24/7 service online and via a mobile phone app, appealing to a tech-savvy generation.
Explaining what differentiates the company from other credit facilities, Damelin said:
“Responsible lending is at the heart of what we do at Wonga.com. We only make money when customers actually pay us back and get out of debt. Most of the credit industry is inbuilt on making money from keeping people in debt. We try and help people get out of debt as quickly as possible.”
Discussing what lies ahead for the online lender, Robert Young, head of corporate development at Wonga.com added:
“We’re innovating like crazy. We want to extend the product in many, many ways. Watch this space.”
Judges' comments: The judges were highly impressed by the amazing growth Wonga has experienced yet again, with turnover up dramatically in the last year from an already impressive level. Normally it gets harder to grow at high rates as a company grows, yet Wonga makes it look easy.