Interview with Andris Rozenbahs, COO of Viventor

What is Viventor about?

Viventor is about providing sensible investment opportunities for investors from all over Europe. As we started considering the idea of Viventor less than a year ago, peer-to-peer financing was achieving remarkable success in the US and the UK. In contrary, the “old continent” was relatively underserved.

And so the goal was set – to build a peer-to-peer lending platform for European investors that is accessible, makes investing convenient, and offers high quality services, investment opportunities, and the product itself.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Firstly, it is the investments themselves. All loans currently offered are secured by liquid real estate mortgages, as well as come with Buyback Guarantee. The weighted-average LTV ratio of our loan book is 28.45%, and we are proud to be the market leaders in terms of providing such low-risk opportunities.

Secondly, the investors receive fixed monthly interest payments. Relatively few platforms do this, but we see it as an advantage for the investors. Instead of diminishing interest and trying to crack advanced formulas, we offer straightforward logics and exactly the same payments every month. We want to make investing convenient also for people relatively unfamiliar with the world of finance and peer-to-peer lending.

Thirdly, it is the simplicity and convenience of investing. We are constantly making efforts towards removing the friction from the investment process itself by building the platform and its UI simple and intuitive for any user. Improvements based on everyday findings are constantly implemented, new languages are added, and educational material is made available. Our aim is to for investing to be simple and enjoyable.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

Viventor does not originate loans itself, and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

However, if we speak about the partner companies that have currently listed their loans on Viventor, there are a couple of things worth noting. The companies consist of professionals, possessing years of experience in non-bank lending and underwriting, and having their skin completely in the game. Also, access to financing for eligible borrowers is considerably faster than that offered by alternative creditors. This has been achieved by combining years of experience and knowledge with machine learning and other modern technologies.

Andris RozenbahsWhat ROI can investors expect?

Currently, investors can earn up to 7% p.a. fixed, and there are no fees withheld. The number will be going up though, as we will be adding other types of loans with higher levels of interest.

Prestamos Prima, the mother company of Viventor, operates in Spain? What led to the decision to incorporate Viventor SIA in Latvia?

We as professionals have been in the non-bank lending for many years, involved in other projects before Prestamos Prima. While Spain is one of the major markets at the moment, it is certainly not the only one, and you can expect loans from other European countries being added.

What concerns Viventor being incorporated in Latvia – we are Latvians, and prefer to stick to our origins whenever we are able to choose. There is a lot of untapped potential and hidden talent in the Baltics, but then again – I believe people familiar with the European peer-to-peer financing market are well aware of that already.

Is the technical platform self-developed?

Yes, Viventor has been built in-house from the very first line of code, and we will keep the development of platform to ourselves. All in all, we believe the right approach for improving Viventor is by gathering feedback, applying our lessons learnt, constantly pivoting and optimising. And it is clearly much more efficient to achieve this with a dedicated engineering team in-house.

What was the greatest challenge so far in the course of launching Viventor?

The market is growing rapidly, and so is the supply of various investment opportunities. As more and more platforms offer investments that generate very high returns, the risk appetite for investors seem to grow along with the market. We did spend quite some time on understanding, what would be the best way of tackling the market at its current state.

Another thing (which is likely to be in common for most new tech ventures) is having endless features and improvements in mind, but also understanding that IT guys only have two hands 24 hours a day each. They are kind of the magicians of the 21st century, and we have to give a lot of credit to our team.

How do you see the real estate financing market Spain?

The Spanish real estate market did, of course, experience a considerable decrease, same as many other countries did. And, despite being reluctant to bounce back for some years, it is showing stronger and stronger signs of recovery.

There are not too many non-bank lenders doing mortgage-backed lending or SME financing in Spain, and the banks have their stringent requirements in place, as usually. Considering all of this, as well as keeping in mind geographic and macroeconomic factors – I’d say the market is just picking up the pace.

Which marketing channels do you use to attract investors?

We are still exploring a number of potential channels and opportunities, but the focus has been on digital marketing so far. Apart from standard online channels used by almost any company these days, we believe actively engaging and communicating in forums, blogs and other online sources is a crucial thing. Since we are a fairly new company, we have a long road ahead of us towards building our reputation and raising brand awareness.

Attending industry-related events is one of the non-digital channels to emphasize. While it might not be the top channel for retail investor acquisition, it is essential for the sake of knowledge exchange.

Is Viventor open to international investors?

Currently, Viventor is open to investors from all European Economic Area’s countries. We are not saying no to going further than that at some point, but currently our focus is to serve the European market.

You plan to add new loan originators. What criteria are you looking at when selecting the companies you want to cooperate with?

It mainly comes down to a company having reputable name and proven track record, as well as all the necessary operations in place. Having a mutual understanding with the decision makers of the opposite party is another must. We clearly stand for a more transparent and efficient model of financing, and would be looking for partners that share the same values.

Where do you see Viventor in 3 years?

We see Viventor as a major player in Europe, and probably beyond that. Apart from a variety of different loan products being available to investors, a separate section for real estate crowdfunding projects will be introduced. Also, as the numbers and statistics become available over time, we can draw more conclusions from them, and improve the product accordingly. thanks Andris Rozenbahs for the interview.

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