The rise and fall of Wonga

For the better half of the last decade, Wonga was widely tipped as the UK’s hottest company.

Despite countless criticisms, it bagged awards galore and profit and sales were soaring.

However, for 2013, the payday lender’s pre-tax profits are down by 53% to £39.7m.

Also, Wonga today announced its set to write off the debts of 330,000 customers whose loans would not have been made under new affordability criteria.

Is Wonga a classic example of “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”? Take a look at this timeline and make up your mind.

2008

Wonga goes online. (It was set up up by Errol Damelin in October 2006 and Jonty Hurwitz joined the company in 2007)

Sales in 2008: £4.5m

Wonga commandments

2009

June – Wonga secures $22m (£14m) of venture capital funding from a group led by Facebook backers Accel Partners

 

2010

2010 sales: £73.8m

Named Alternative Lender of the Year by Credit Today Magazine

Wonga growth

2011

2011 sales: £184.7m

Number 1 in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100 2011

Winner The Guardian Digital Innovation Digital Entrepreneur Award 2011

 

2012

Group revenue up 67% at £309.3m (2011: £184.7m) with net profit after tax of £62.5m (2011: £45.8m), an increase of 36%

UK customer base grows to just under 1 million

May -

  • Wonga announces a new service which allows small businesses to access up to £10,000 in 15 minutes
  • Wonga takes its services to South Africa

October – Newcastle United Football Club agrees four-year Wonga sponsorship deal

Named “fastest growing company” at the Media Momentum awards in Berlin

Read our interview with Errol Damelin from 2012: Can Wonga become Facebook for finance?

2013

Wonga loans

July - Archbishop of Canterbury wants to ‘compete’ Wonga out of existence, launches new credit union. However, Church realises it has indirectly invested in Wonga

November - Wonga co-founder Jonty Hurwitz quits the board of directors just hours before the company faced questioning by MPs over its business activities

September - Wonga profits rise by 36% to £62m, profits soar more than £1m a week in 2012

2014

 

Wonga financial highlights

May -  Wonga CEO Niall Wass steps down just after six months

June

July - The Church of England kicks out Wonga from its investment portfolio

September - Wonga publishes its 2013 Annual Results, which shows that pre-tax profits are down by 53% to £39.7m

October - The payday lender has announced that it will write off the debt of 330,000 customers

 

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