Thursday 17 April 2014

Surprise as payday loans firm Wonga wins award for its growth

A technology event co-organised by the people behind the Dublin Web Summit has raised eyebrows after it awarded the notorious payday loans company Wonga for its growth.

The Europas, one of the biggest award nights for European start-ups, named Wonga "best heavyweight start-up" at a ceremony in Berlin.

The event was co-organised by the brains behind the highly successful Dublin Web Summit, Paddy Cosgrave.

A number of other staff involved in the web summit are also involved in The Europas.

Wonga has grown to be one of the biggest short-term or "payday" loans companies in the UK. While there is no suggestion of illegal activity by the company, it has been hit by accusations of malpractice and harassing customers.

Infamously, the firm had an APR rate estimated at 4,214pc.

The UK Office of Fair Trading wrote to Wonga last May to demand it improve its debt-collection practices after the company apparently wrote to customers who were behind on their payments and said they could be guilty of fraud.

A spokesman for The Europas said: "The judges chose Wonga as it's a hugely successful and innovative tech company."

Also among the winners at the awards was Dublin-based company DataHug, which specialises in "big data" and information systems.

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