British “social lending” exchange Zopa has raised a $12.4m (£6.6m) series C investment with the aim of breaking the company in to the US market.

The funds from Bessemer Venture Partners, Benchmark Capital and Wellington Partners will also continue to support Zopa’s UK operation, with several new features scheduled.

Launched two years ago this month, Zopa allows users to give and receive unsecured personal loans and has clocked up 135,000 users. We’d also like to see the service extended to small businesses, which face many of the same issues as consumers when dealing with banks.

The company will take on 10 staff in the US, adding to the 40 it has in west London, and will roll out new tools allowing people to specify borrowers or lenders only by age, location and other characteristics.

Zopa chairman Phillip Riese said:

“Our U.K. peer-to-peer business is now well established and growing rapidly.
We are poised to launch in the U.S., an even larger opportunity for the company.”