New European Alternative Finance Industry Report – Sustaining Momentum

The European online alternative finance market, including crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, grew by 92 per cent in 2015 to €5.431 billion, according to the results of the 2nd Annual European Alternative Finance Industry Survey conducted by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at University of Cambridge Judge Business School, in partnership with KPMG and supported by CME Group Foundation.

The report released today, titled “Sustaining Momentum”, had the support of 17 major European industry associations and research partners, and was based on data from 367 crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and other alternative finance intermediaries from 32 European countries – capturing an estimated 90 per cent of the visible market. P2P-Banking.com is one of the research partners.

The United Kingdom was by far the largest in Europe at €4.4 billion, followed by France at €319 million, Germany at €249 million and the Netherlands, €111 million. Other large European markets include Finland with €64 million, Spain at €50 million, Belgium at €37 million and Italy at €32 million. The Nordic countries collectively accounted for €104 million, while Central and Eastern European countries registered a total of €89 million.

Excluding the UK, the European alternative finance market grew by 72 per cent from €594 million in 2014 to €1.019 billion in 2015.

“Although the absolute year-on-year growth rate slowed by 10 per cent” (from the 82 per cent growth excluding the UK between 2013 and 2014) the industry is still sustaining momentum with substantive expansion in transaction volumes recorded across almost all online alternative finance models,” the report said.

Peer-to-peer consumer lending is the largest market segment of alternative finance, with €366 million in Europe in 2015. Peer-to-peer business lending is the second largest segment with €212 million, with equity-based crowdfunding in third with €159 million and reward-based crowdfunding fourth at €139 million.

Sustaining Momentum Figure 11
Table: Figure 11, page 31 of ‘Sustaining Momentum’, volumes by market segment in Europe 2015 (outside UK)

Among other findings:

  • Estonia ranked first in Europe in alternative finance volume per capita at €24, followed by Finland at €12 and Monaco at €10 outside of the UK.
  • Online alternative business funding increased by 167 per cent year-on-year to €536 million raised for over 9,400 start-ups and SMEs across Europe.
  • Institutionalisation took off in mainland Europe in 2015, with 26 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer lending and 24 per cent of peer-to-peer business lending funded by institutions such as pension funds, mutual funds, asset management firms and banks.
  • Across Europe, perceptions of existing national regulations in alternative finance are divided. About 38 per cent of surveyed platforms felt their national regulations for crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending were adequate and appropriate, 28 per cent perceived their national regulations to be excessive, and a further 10 per cent said current regulations were too relaxed.
  • The biggest risks perceived by the alternative finance industry are increasing loan defaults or business failure rates, fraudulent activities or the collapse of platforms due to malpractice.

Perceived risks
Chart: Figure 28, page 47 of ‘Sustaining Momentum’, risks to the industry as perceived by the polled platforms

Robert Wardrop, Executive Director of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, said: “European alternative finance transaction volume increased to more than €5 billion in 2015, with volume outside of the UK market exceeding €1 billion for the first time. The European alternative finance industry is still small, however, and the slowing rate of growth during the year is a reminder of the risks the industry must contend with in order to transition from a start-up to a sustainable funding channel within the European financial services ecosystem.”

Irene Pitter, Global Executive, Banking & Capital Markets and member of the FinTech Leadership Team at KPMG, said: “This report shows that the alternative finance sector is set to continue to grow and mature. 2016 marks a significant year for ‘alternative finance’ in Europe as the market demonstrates clear signs of continued strong growth and increased maturation in the sector as a whole. European activity, excluding the UK, showed solid growth of 72 percent last year and demonstrated client demand for alternative finance solutions even in the smaller EU countries.”

Rumi Morales, Executive Director, CME Ventures, said: “The prominent feature of financial technology is that it is truly borderless. No one country is harnessing alternative financial markets or business models to the exclusion of any other. Rather, from the UK to Estonia and from Finland to Monaco, the entire European continent is experimenting and expanding upon innovations that can provide greater access to capital and financial services to more people than ever before.”

See the full report below. Continue reading

Interview with Sebastian Harung, Founder of Kameo

What is Kameo about?

Kameo is a Scandinavian marketplace for SME loans. It was established to meet two clear challenges in the Scandinavian markets: SMEs do not get loans; investors do not get good returns. By directly connecting them, we hope to make the situation better for both. Kameo’s vision is to include more people in the financial markets.

Note from editor: Kameo will launch around next week.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  • Better expected returns
  • Support SMEs, the most important employer in Scandinavia
  • Possibility to create diversified portfolios

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

  • Access to (more) funding
  • Quick and easy loan application
  • Flexible security & collateral structures

Sebastian Harung, KameoWhat ROI can investors expect?

Loans will be offered at 5 – 15 % per annum. At first, there will be no fees for investing through Kameo. We expect low default rates, based on historical data for Scandinavia and our thorough credit assessment. We can conservatively assume it to be around 1 – 3 % (naturally dependent on risk profile).

What is the background of the Kameo team? As some of you are Norwegian, why did you select the Swedish market for launch rather than Norway?

The team currently consists of five persons, of which only I am Norwegian. We have various backgrounds, but the same optimistic view of the future: alternative finance will transform Scandinavian banking, and it will become better for more people – it is the social democracy model, of which we Scandinavians are so proud.

We have a credit analyst with 20 years of SME analysis experience, a CTO that previously co-founded Avanza and developed its platform (Sweden’s largest net broker) as well as a marketing specialist and a business developer with backgrounds from digital marketing and corporate finance, respectively. My background is also from corporate finance at Norway’s largest bank, DNB.

And because we expect to grow, we will be looking to further strengthen the team next year.

While the largest owners are Norwegians, we chose to start in Sweden because the market is larger, it is a well-developed fintech-hub (#2 in Europe after London), and Kameo’s largest owner has a successful startup history in Sweden. In addition, the regulatory regime was easier when we started working with the idea (but this has since changed). We have, though, a clear ambition to cover Norway and Denmark next year, thus creating a Scandinavian marketplace (investors can create portfolios of Scandinavian loans.)

How is the company financed?

Two rounds of equity investments from co-founders, board members and angel investors. And I have sold my apartment and invested everything (except what I intend to lend through the platform in order to fund my daughter’s driver’s license in 16 years).

We will also be looking to raise more capital sometime next year, when we roll out in Norway and Denmark. Continue reading

Breaking News: Trustbuddy Suspends Operations – Investigations on Misconduct

UPDATE Oct., 19th: Trustbuddy has filed for bankruptcy

An investigation initiated by the new management of TrustBuddy AB has indicated serious misconduct within the company. The Board of Directors has informed Nasdaq OMX and the Swedish FSA about the situation, and the FSA has demanded that TrustBuddy is to stop offering its services with immediate effect. As a consequence, the company’s planned rights issue is suspended. The Board of Directors will prepare a control balance sheet and are currently evaluating all available options in order to find a viable solution for all parties.

Background

The new management team has been in place since early September, 2015. In connection with the repositioning of the business, an investigation of the business activities undertaken by the former management was initiated. The investigation is ongoing, but has so far pointed at several breaches of internal or external regulation:

  • The Company has used lenders’ capital in violation of their instructions, or, without their permission. As a result, there is currently a 44M SEK (approx 4.7M EUR) discrepancy between the amount owed to lenders and the available balance of the client bank accounts.
  • The total amount currently lent out on the platform is approximately 300 MSEK, of which, 37 MSEK is not assigned to lenders.
  • The Company has re-assigned existing loans, a significant portion of which were likely non-performing, to new capital deployed by lenders.

The investigation indicates that these practices were likely in place since the TrustBuddy platform began operation.
Actions taken by the new management and the Board of Directors

The questionable practices mentioned above, limited to the Company’s short-term lending business, have been stopped with immediate effect.

Further, the Board of Directors informed Nasdaq OMX and the Swedish FSA about the findings. Based on the findings, the FSA demanded that TrustBuddy is to stop offering its services with immediate effect. As a consequence, the planned rights issue, scheduled to run from 14 October 2015 to 30 October 2015, is suspended.

Due to the severe breaches of the internal and/or external regulation, the Board of Directors has also decided to file a report to the Swedish Police Authority.

The Dutch subsidiary Geldvoorelkaar, which focuses on lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, has been operating on a stand-alone basis and has not been subject to misconduct. Continue reading

Interview with Peter Schierenbeck, CMO & co-founder of Lendify

What is Lendify about?

Lendify is the first and leading peer-to-peer lending platform focused on prime borrowers in the unsecured consumer credit space in Sweden. We have handled loan applications for over SEK 350 MM and more than 3,000 lenders and borrowers have signed up since launch in August 2014.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  • High risk-adjusted returns.
  • Access to unsecured personal loans extended to prime borrowers in a very low-default rate market (Sweden) with many years of well documented historical data.
  • A new type of investments that further diversifies a mixed investment portfolio.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

  • Personalized interest rate.
  • Transparent (all interests and fees are clearly presented and available to all site visitors)
  • Simple and fast process for applying and monitoring (borrowers can log in and see status of payments etc.)

Peter Schierenbeck, LendifyWhat ROI can investors expect?

It is still early days for P2P lending in Sweden but we expect 7% on average.

Lendify received 2M EUR in funding recently. Who are the backers?

Fredrik Wallenberg, Hans Westin & Sten Schröder where the two latter have a great track record in the Swedish consumer lending space.

Is the technical platform self-developed?

Yes, everything is developed in-house.

What was the greatest challenge so far in the course launching Lendify?

Being the first in a market is great, but it also provides challenges out of a marketing and regulatory perspective. Not many people in Sweden are aware of the concept “peer-to-peer lending”, and we work hard to educate people of the concept. Continue reading

Fundedbyme Launches P2P Loans To Swedish SMEs today

fundedbyme-logoSwedish p2p equity platform Fundedbyme expands the product portfolio offered to p2p lending today. Typically loans are between 25 and 25,000 EUR. They pay yearly interest, a percentage of the profit and a possible exit bonus. Anyone can lend money to a p2p lending campaign on Fundedbyme. The minimum bid size is 50 EUR per loan. Daniel Dabocy, CEO of Fundedbyme on the reasoning of entering p2p lending: ‘The idea behind our business is to link investors with entrepreneurs in the most efficient way. That is why we talk with both parties very much. When we started to get regular feedback that they would be interested in something between equity-based and reward-based crowdfunding we thought about p2p business lending. And it turned out this is what they need. Now we are launching the product and I am pretty sure results will confirm that we took the right decision.’ (Source).

Fundedbyme says they have (for their equity offer) signed up 47,000 investors, so they are confident they will fund the new loan offers.

I just checked. Right now there are 4 loan-based offers open for funding on the site.

Fundedbyme loan offers

Every company needs to have a turnover of at least 15,000 EUR in early turnover, and have been registered for at least 1.5 years. In addition to this, the information from credit bureaus UC and Bisnode both have to give the company a favourable risk rating. Loans over 40,000 EUR have a personal guarantee. Continue reading

Trustbuddy – P2P Lending Service Listed at Public Stock Exchange

I have been aware of Trustbuddy for some time. They are (at least internationally) pretty unknown since they do not do much marketing. I have only once written about them before, in order not to give publicity to a company which charges interest loans for rates in a height, that I deem could be called usury (on moral grounds not on legal grounds).
According to their own published figures on the site the current ‘Effective annual interest’ for a one year loan varies between 219% and 852% (733% to 5102% for a one month loan).
While Trustbuddy calls itself a p2p lending service, their rates are somewhat closer to Wonga (see Need a loan at 2334 percent APR).

Why do I now write about Trustbuddy then?

Well ignoring them, won’t make business models like these  disappear. And it seems to be profitable for the service as well for lenders as per the numbers that Trustbuddy supplied P2P-Banking.com.

But the main questions I ask lenders is: Do you feel it is ethical to earn the 12% p.a. interest rate given the costs the borrowers are charged? If you answer this with yes for yourself, then Trustbuddy may be a good choice for you.

Furthermore Trustbuddy is one of few companies in this business that have a drive for international expansion. Remember they bought Loanland operations earlier.

The following is information supplied by Trustbuddy:

TrustBuddy AB (2009), a Swedish P2P lending facilitation company. Using in-house developed and proprietary mobile-/web-based financing solutions, it facilitates smaller short-term loans between private consumers. The company does not lend out its own money; pooled loan-portfolio investors provide funding. TrustBuddy has already reached close to 40,000 registered members, of which more than 20,000 are active customers, in Norway and Sweden alone. This is done with virtually no marketing efforts, showing how popular the product is. Continue reading

Trustbuddy Acquires Loanland Operations

Trustbuddy AB has acquired the operations of Swedish p2p lending site Loanland effective November 19th. This means that Loanland will not close as reported earlier. Trustbuddy AB is a Swedish company with Norwegian origins. Trustbuddy will continue operations and in mid-term plans to integrate the activities of the service into their own platform. Loanland users were informed that the transfer of the membership agreements does not change anything for them.

(Source: Company statements)

No financial details on the deal were available.

P2P Lending Sites in Europe

Visualizations are great to show data that would otherwise just be a long list. I decided to create a map of the p2p lending landscape in Europe. It shows active and discontinued p2p lending services in Europe (including p2p microfinance). Not listed are sites that are in pre-launch stage. All of these marketplaces have been featured earlier in the P2P-Banking.com blog. If you want more information about any of them just enter the name in the search box on the top right of this blog.

Notice to other websites: You are free to copy and use this map, provided you agree not to alter or resize the image and you will set a link to this article.

Notice to p2p lending sites: If you want to be included in a future version of this map, contact me to learn how.

Loanland update – p2p lending in Sweden

Loanland launched last December as the first p2p lending company in the swedish market (see ‘Loanland launches peer to peer lending in Sweden‘). Since then about 5.7 million SEK (approx. 0.75 million US$) loan volume has been funded .

Ville Vesterinen has published more information about Loanland in the ArcticStartup blog:

The company is currently providing unsecured loans to the Swedish market. The Swedish market for unsecured loans to households amount to around 160 billion SEK (around 16 billion EUR or 20 billion USD) at present and with unsecured loans to SMEs the figure is about 500 billion SEK (around 50 billion EUR or 63 billion USD). The market has grown 15% annually during the last few years.

Loanland is using an open source platform that it has developed, automating most of the processes. The technology is based on Java, J2EE, MySQL, Tomcat, Spring and Hibernate. The platform and auction engine allows individual and automatic bidding, electronic signatures, integrated credit scoring and efficient payments.

The company … has already over 10 000 members and 5 000 registered borrowers and lenders. They have 6 million SEK (600K EUR or 750K USD) deposited out of which 95 percent is lend out as loans. Quite significant number considering that the startup operates currently only in Sweden.

Loanland launches peer to peer lending in Sweden

Loanland.se is the first Swedish p2p lending service. Founder Daniel Kaplan, who in 2006 headed the successful sale of Swedish auction site Tradera to Ebay for 48 million US$, sees a great potential for peer to peer lending in Sweden.

At Loanland, borrowers with the best credit grade can borrow up to 300,000 SEK (approx 45,000 US$), while borrowers with the lowest admitted credit grade can borrow up to 3,000 SEK (approx 450 US$). But borrowers are able to achieve a better credit rating by paying back on time and then can later borrow a larger amount, says Kaplan.

As of today the site had 4 loan listings with interest rates between 4 and 14 percent. Minimum bis seems to be 250 SEK (38 US$). Loan term seems to be customizable as 3 of the current listings are for 3 years and one is for 1 month.

Loanland is backed by experienced entrepreneurs. Aside Kaplan there are Mary Groschopp, before at OMX, Peter Nordlander, founder of Avanza, Peter Settman, founder of Baluba.

If you use Loanland please share your experiences in the wiseclerk forum.

Sources (1,2,3,4 all in swedish language)