Auxmoney Raises Series D from Seven Ventures

Auxmoney Logo 2016Auxmoney, one of the oldest German p2p lending marketplaces, has completed a Series D round with Seven Ventures as lead investor. The specifics were not disclosed, only that Seven Ventures along with Index Ventures, Union Square Ventures und Foundation Capital invested a double digit million Euro amount. Seven Ventures is the investment arm of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, which operates large TV channels in Germany.

Raffael Johnen, co-founder and CEO of Auxmoney stated: „The partnership with ProSiebenSat1 is an important milestone on our path to change the public awareness for p2p lending in Germany. We will make a big step towards our goal to enable access to loans for more people. The raised capital and the better access to TV advertising will help us to make p2p lending part of everyday life of millions of people.” (original quote in German; own translation)

Auxmoney trippled loan volume in 2015 compared to 2014.  As of January 31st, 2016, according to numbers on file with P2P-Banking.com, the company had originated 441 million EUR in loans since launch, with a monthly loan origination volume of 10.6M for the last month on file (January 2016).

Auxmoney management
Auxmoney management

Mintos Raises 2M from Skillion Ventures

Mintos LogoLatvian p2p lending marketplace Mintos has raised 2M EUR from VC Skillion Ventures in Riga. The p2p lending service was launched a year ago and lists loans from several loan originators. The loan types include mortgage loans, secured car loans, business loans, personal loans and invoices finance. The majority of the retail investors resides in Latvia, Germany and UK.The investors financed a cumulative loan volume of over 16M EUR since launch.

The loans are currently to borrowers in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Georgia. Mintos CEO Martins Sulte plans to add loans in the markets of the Czech Republic and Poland next. Continue reading

Pitch Open For Investment Into Landbay Shares

In December 2013 I saw the pitch of a promising pre-launch UK p2p lending startup called Landbay pitching on the UK p2p equity platform Seedrs to the crowd. The pitch explained how they planned to do p2p lending secured by property in the UK. I liked the proposal and invested a small amount in Landbay shares.

Since then it has been very interesting journey. I watched how Landbay fared, saw them grow the marketplace substantially. There have been subsequent following rounds into which I invested again. Shares issued through Seedrs come with pre-emption rights, that means I am entitled (but not obliged) to invest in next rounds to avoid dilution of my share percentage.

Currently Landbay is pitching to raise 1M GBP at a pre-money valuation of 10.3M GBP. You can see the current pitch here. The shares are priced at 85 GBP, that is the minimum investment amount (normally most Seedrs pitches come with a minimum investment of just 10 GBP). At the time of this writing the pitch is already filled 91%. Before it opened for public bidding recently, it was only accessible for existing shareholders like me to enable them to execute their pre-emption rights. I am not sure the pitch will allow overfunding.

Last week Landbay announced that they received an investment from Zoopla. Zoopla is a company that operates property sites uSwitch and Prime Location.  Zoopla announced full year results (ending September 20, 2015) showing a revenue increase of 34% as the top line number jumped to £107.6 million. Profit for the year increased 20% to £25.4 million.  The partnership with Landbay is designed to help scale their retail customer base as the P2P lender becomes a more established mortgage lender.While the precise amount of the investment into Landbay was not disclosed, Zoopla invested into a total of 4 companies and the total for that was 1M GBP. This deal will also trigger previous convertible rounds that Landbay did on Seedrs.

 

 

If you are interested in the pitch you don’t need to be a UK resident. Just sign up at Seedrs and follow the process. If you are outside of the UK, I recommend considering to use Transferwise or Currencyfair, when depositing money in order to reduce currency transfer fees significantly. If you are a UK resident, note that the pitch is EIS eligible.

This article is not an investment advice. Investing in startups bears significant risks, including total loss of investment.

Landbay volume growth
Landbay loan volume growth

Deutsche Börse Venture Networks Backs Cashare

Cashare logoDeutsche Börse Venture Network adds Swiss p2p lending marketplace Cashare to its program. The program by the German stock exchange is designed to aid innovatice companies to get better access to financing from investors.

Cashare was established in 2008 and facilitates loans to consumers and SMEs in Switzerland on its marketplace. According to the website 1,111 loans have been financed. Due to regulatory reasons each loan can be financed by a maximum number of 20 different investors.

UK P2P Lending Grows Over 80% Percent in 2015

The report ‘Pushing Boundaries – The 2015 UK Alternative Finance Report‘ by Nesta and the University of Cambridge collected very interesting and comprehensive data on the market development by polling 94 marketplaces. The report looks at alternative finance, including p2p lending, crowdfunding (equity/reward/donation-based), invoice trading, community shares, pension-led funding and debt-based securities.

Pushing Boundaries Nesta

P2P Consumer Lending

The total loan volume in 2015 was 909 million GBP, an increase of 66% compared to 2014. This is the sum of loans made to about 213,000 individual borrowers. A very high percentage (89%) of the investors used autoinvest features of the marketplaces to make the investments. 32% of p2p consumer lending was financed by institutional investors.

Pushing Boundaries Nesta

P2P Business Lending

This segment nearly doubled compared to the previous year to now 1.49 million GBP. An important factor are real estate related loans (609M GBP). There is a wide and partly complex range of loan types and terms.

The non real estate related loans compromise about 10,000 loans to SMEs. In this sector 42% of investors use autoinvest functionalities.

Pushing Boundaries Nesta

Depending on which data source is used for comparision p2p lending marketplaces in 2014 have gained a market share of 3.3% to 13.9% of all loans made to SMEs in the UK. Continue reading

Zopa Unveils Zopa Classic, Zopa Access and Zopa Plus

There have been some indicators in the past weeks that Zopa is working to restructure the offered product and to re-introduce a non Safeguard offer to investors. But it was only todays the Zopa announced the details.

This is the announcement email:

Today, we are very excited to announce the next generation of Zopa lending products!

Over the past months we’ve been listening to our lenders about what they want from their lending products, and what matters most when it comes to lending through our platform. You’ve told us ease of access and the ability to take on more risk are key to offering a broader, more appealing product set. Based on your feedback, we’ll soon offer more choice and providing benefits from recent regulatory changes, particularly around the tax status of peer-to-peer interest.

In mid March, we’ll be replacing our existing lender products with three new ones: Zopa Classic, Zopa Access, and Zopa Plus. Together, these products will offer much more choice and flexibility to both existing and new Zopa lenders. As with all peer-to-peer lending, your investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so your capital is at risk. If you wish to access your money by selling your loans, this is dependent on other lenders being available to purchase those loans.

We are sharing indicative rates today, and exact rates will be announced on 1st March. As with our existing rates, the new product rates will vary with the market, so if borrower interest rates go up, the rates on your new loans will go up too and vice-versa.

The New Zopa Products

Zopa Classic (4-5%) – Safeguard lending 

Zopa Classic will give customers the security of Safeguard and access to their money at any time, subject to a 1% fee. This product is most similar to what our lenders have today, however what’s new is that it combines 1-5 year loan terms.

Zopa Access (3-4%) – Safeguard lending with fee free easy access 

For customers who value easy access to their money, we’ve created Zopa Access, which has Safeguard but which has no access fee and a slightly lower expected return.

Zopa Plus (6 -7%) – Non-Safeguard lending, some added risk with higher returns 

For customers who are willing to accept more risk for higher returns, we’ve created Zopa Plus. Over the last year we have been testing the performance of D and E rated borrowers with our institutional lenders, and based on these tests, we would like to offer loans with D and E rated customers to all lenders. With the introduction of Zopa Plus, customers can lend across A*-E risk markets. Loans in Zopa Plus are not Safeguarded, and so it will suit customers who don’t require this additional security as they are comfortable lending their money via Zopa’s diversification model. Predicted rates of return will be higher but will come with some additional risk.

When the new products launch, what will happen to customers’ loans that are in the short and long products? 

If you’re a current Zopa lender, then as we retire the existing short and long products, your repayments will cycle into the new Zopa Classic product. So the rates will stay the same on your existing loans, but as they get repaid, the repayments will be used to buy new loans within the Zopa Classic product.

How will customers be able to have multiple products? How can they be funded?

Customers will be able to have multiple lending products with us – you can have an Access, Classic and Plus product – however only one can be selected for new funds at any given time.

If you are an existing customer and you wish to move your existing loans from Zopa Classic into one of the other new products, you can choose to turn off re-lending and allow repayments to collect within the holding account and then allocate those funds to a new product. Alternatively, you may sell your loans and purchase new ones within a new product.

In my view there are 3 major aspects:

  1. Expansion in D and E rated borrowers
  2. Introduction of Non Safeguard Loans
  3. Removal of term selection choice for the product that is somewhat similar to what investors are accustomed currently

According to the FAQ, all of the new lender products will be available for the IF-ISA.

Continue reading

Harmoney Completes 8.5M Series B

Harmoney, a p2p lending marketplace operating in New Zealand and Australia has completed the sale of $8.5M of Series B shares to a US-based investor and UK-based P2P Global Investments PLC (P2PGI). The Series B round values Harmoney at $109M.

This development comes as Harmoney moves towards the milestone of having facilitated loans totalling $200 million since its launch just 17 months ago.

Harmoney founder and co-CEO Neil Roberts comments: “We’re delighted with the new arrangement, which, as we see it, is further validation of our strong performance since launching in September 2014. It is also attributable to our increase in origination volumes, conservative credit underwriting and strong management team.”

The new working capital will provide the necessary cash reserves to expand Harmoney’s suite of product offerings, increase headcount and support its growth forecasts in both New Zealand and Australia. Continue reading

RateSetter Becomes First Major Marketplace Lender to Offer ‘Easy Access’

‘Easy access’ investment will be available in a RateSetter ISA

RateSetter has improved customers’ access to their money by removing all early exit fees from its monthly investment market. This means that RateSetter’s 33,000 investors can now benefit from great rates of return combined with easy access to their money.

RateSetter’s monthly market has proven very popular with investors, delivering an average rate of 3.1% p.a. over the last five years. The latest rate can be found here.

As with all marketplace lending, the speed of access to money is dependent on liquidity. RateSetter has managed market liquidity for over five years, the result being that no investor has ever had to wait to withdraw their money from RateSetter. Early withdrawal fees remain in place for RateSetter’s one year, three year and five year investments.  More information can be found here.  RateSetter is looking at options to simplify the way fees are calculated to provide greater certainty to investors.

The announcement comes less than two months before the launch date for the Innovative Finance ISA (IF ISA) on 6 April and follows the release of information on RateSetter’s forthcoming IF ISA over a week ago.  RateSetter has confirmed that customers will be able to invest in any of its markets within an IF ISA wrapper, and thus can benefit from easy access investments with tax-free returns. Continue reading

Interview: Commuterclub Pitches to Raise 650K from the Crowd

CommuterClub is a promising startup currently running a pitch to raise their 2nd round from the crowd. I really like their business model and have invested in both rounds.

Interview with Petko Plachkov, CEO and Founder

What is Commuter Club about?

CommuterClub delivers a new and innovative way to access public transport as a subscription service.

By bringing together a low cost loan with the existing annual ticket, CommuterClub can deliver the savings of an annual, in a far more convenient and attractive package as a monthly payment plan.

Our goal is to continue to bring new innovative products for commuters, delivering value for money and ease of use.

I really like the fact that your business model builds on long customer relationships. What do you do to achieve high customer satisfaction?

CommuterClub operates in a sector dominated by large slow moving monopolies who manage public transportation. Our proposition is to offer an alternative approach to commuters that begins with their needs. Our focus on a simple customer journey, great customer service and a simple product all deliver a fantastic outcome for consumers.

This is key in ensuring high customer satisfaction and providing a real alternative to the existing ticketing options.

The audience of this blog is highly interested in p2p lending. Can you please explain how your company ties into this industry and what role Ratesetter and potentially Zopa play for your financing?

CommuterClub works with RateSetter to fund all loans. As a business P2P was the key building block enabling us to deliver a low cost and flexible product to consumers, something that we would have found exceedingly difficult if we worked with incumbent banks.

We expect to continue to work with p2p going forward and to maintain our close relationship with RateSetter.

The pitch video

The timing of this round is a bit of a surprise to me since you indicated to shareholders recently ‘at our current trajectory we expect to be [able to] sustain growth from retained earnings’. Why did you decide to raise further capital now?

CommuterClub has made tremendous progress in diversifying the business expanding nationally in the UK, launching a B2B solution and also looking to cover other verticals like parking.

This expansion of our product set has also expanded our target market and we are now raising capital to fund our continued expansion and growth.

Name one fact that makes your pitch a better investment than any other pitch on Seedrs.

Real, proven traction backed by millions in loans and thousands of happy customers.

P2P-Banking.com thanks Petko Plachkov for the interview.

This article is not an investment advice. Investing in startups bears significant risks, including total loss of investment.