Just Lend showcased its business on Dragons’ Den, landing itself not just one but two offers on the BBC show. Despite the “nerve-racking” experience, co-founder Craig Smith secured the company a successful investment.
The entrepreneurial Thursday night series sees business owners showcase their idea before they ask for a specific amount of money to be invested, crossing their fingers that not all of the Dragons say, “I’m out.”
Just Lend starred on series 20 episode 2, where the firm was seeking £100,000 for two percent of the business. He started his pitch with a powerful statement: “In 2020, 5.9 million people borrowed money from family and friends.”
Just Lend on Dragons’ Den
Just Lend on Dragons’ Den involved a strong pitch which landed the company two investments. Founder and CEO Craig mentioned the rise of living costs and interest rates, and said borrowing from friends has turned bad for some.
He explained that this is because it’s emotional, before adding that Just Lend’s aim is to change the way people borrow money and overcome the pitfalls in family lending. It provides tools like loan agreements and payment tracking.
The company charges a five percent platform fee and a 0.1 percent service fee. Just Lend has submitted a patent in the United States. Borrowers are seeking £400,000 from their platform, according to Craig.
Steven Bartlett offered Just Lend all the money for 10 percent of the business, which Craig accepted. Deborah Meaden had also made an offer for all of the money but for 11 percent of the firm.
Meet CEO Craig Smith
Craig came up with the idea for Just Lend when he wanted to help a friend pay off their debt, so they could keep living in London, before he realised that it’s not that simple lending money to a mate.
From Brighton but having lived in London for at least a decade, Craig currently resides in Bethnal Green in East London as a family-of-four with his two sons, Jude, four, and Authur, two, and his wife Naomi.
While at university, he worked at BT. Upon graduation, he worked in Egypt as a scuba-diving journalist, which was far more up his street. Craig then came back to the UK and planned to do a voluntary year with a church in London.
During the trip, three female volunteers couldn’t afford the city’s rent prices, so Craig and his friends gave up their free accommodation. He slept in his parent’s car in the church’s driveway – another moment that led to the Just Lend idea.
Craig later joined Peter, a man he bumped into on Brick Lane, for his new start-up and helped build a successful mapping provider for one of the biggest tech companies on the planet while living in San Francisco.
A while later, back in London, a mate of Craig’s who had a decent job at a tech company asked a group of her friends to lend her money via a WhatsApp message. Then, Just Lend was officially born!
How to start Just Lend campaign
You can start a Just Lend campaign by heading to justlend.co and clicking on the ‘Start your campaign’ purple button on the homepage. Those signing up can receive £10 for their first campaign by filling in the form on the right.
Firstly, you will be taken to a video which explains the process of borrowing and lending on the website. Then, you can go to the next page, where you are asked to fill in your details, including name, number and email address.
Another page then asks you to give your national insurance number, gender, employment status, how many people depend on you, residential and relationship status and annual income before tax. After these steps, you can start!
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