P2P Lending Technology – Make or Buy

The core ingredient a new P2P Lending company needs is a platform to operate on. The importance of the quality of the software used for the success of the business is high. Not only does interaction with the customer nearly exclusively take place via the interface the website offers, but ideally most processes that are to be conducted are built into the software.

Examples for these are interfaces to external suppliers of credit ratings, accounting functionalities and interaction with necessary bank accounts, possibly document input and handling functions (e.g. income verification).

Unlike other web 2.0 startups p2p lending companies cannot launch on a rudimentally developed platform and eliminate bugs and improve functions on the fly in beta. Customer expectations regarding security, correctness and reporting functionalities are rightly high when it comes to handling their money. The expectations of the users are set by the trustworthiness of online banking services.
Another factor is – depending on market – the regulation authority that might require proof for the reliability of the platform/processes

The management team has the choice between:

  • Developing the software inhouse
  • Hiring an external contractor to program the platform according to specifications made
  • Buying a tested and proven source code and use that as start for future development
  • Outsource the task to a whitelabel provider who provides the technical platform and future release improvements

Developing the software inhouse

The advantage is that the software can very specifically reflect the ideas and needs of the company’s founders. The disadvantage is the high risk to miscalculate time or budget needed.

Costs when starting from scratch are high. It has taken the p2p lending companies on average a year to develop their platforms. The SEC filings of US p2p lending companies reveal figures on software development costs.

Furthermore quality and performance issues might be underestimated requiring rework. Continue reading

Spanish Lubbus Announces Deployment of its P2P Lending Software in More Countries

In yesterday’s newsletter Spanish p2p Lending service Lubbus (see earlier coverage) has announced that it succeeded in deploying it’s platform to 5 additional countries.

Nuestra apuesta por los préstamos sociales persona a persona (P2P) ha ampliado fronteras. lubbus mantiene contactos tanto en España como en otros Países (actualmente cinco) para implementar nuestra Plataforma y nuestra Filosofía en dichos Países. Como siempre hemos hecho, nos basamos en tus opiniones, sugerencias, recomendaciones, etc para avanzar.

No further details were available.

Pertuity Direct Seems To Discontinue Operations

P2P lending company Pertuity Direct, which launched in January this year, seems to go out of operation. A special meeting of the board of  trustees of the National Retail Fund (the fund though which lenders invest in Pertuity Direct loans) took place “to approve the liquidation and distribution of all shares of the fund”.

Currently it is unclear what this means to investors and if past borrowers will be affected in any way. Currently it is not possible for new borrowers to apply for new loans and new investors can not sign up on the National Retail Fund website.

I’ll try to reach (former?) Pertuity Direct employees to comment on the situation and review the situation further.

(news broke via Prosper Lending Review)

MYC4 Moves Software Development from Uganda to Copenhagen

MYC4 has announced that the software development department of MYC4 will move form Kampala, Uganda to Copenhagen, Denmark where the MYC4 headquarter is located.

Quote from the announcement by CEO Mads Kjaer:

Dear Community,

After long and careful consideration, MYC4 has decided to move the software development department from Kampala, Uganda, to the Copenhagen office. The decision is made in close connection with MYC4’s strategic focus on streamlining the organization by focusing all efforts on (a) building a solid and scalable IT platform, (b) creating a strong basis for growth in Africa, and (c) improving the capacity and quality with MYC4’s current Partners.

There are two crucial reasons behind this decision:

Creating an effective cooperation between Copenhagen and Kampala has proven too complex. The Development Team in Kampala is strong and hardworking, but the current setup does not allow us the close dialog, sharing of ideas, productivity and flexibility that we require. To give an example of the challenges – the internet connection to the Kampala office, which we share with another company, is one of the best available, yet it is only 750 Kbits/second and is expensive (30,000 DKK/month).

The overhead costs are too high. Especially “hidden costs” for travel, slower development, waiting time and rework due to difficulties in communication.

Initially we saw a lot of benefits from having the software development team located in Africa. However, after having kept trying to improve to set up and make development run flexibly, we must face the fact that the setup is too complex to meet the demands and goals for MYC4’s development. Therefore, over a transition period of 2 months, the Kampala Office will be closed and a software development department established in Copenhagen.

Despite the fact that this is a difficult situation with personal as well as practical consequences, we are confident that it is the only thing to do in order to meet MYC4’s mission and vision and ensure the long term quality and scalability of the platform. …