Baltic property lending platform Estateguru* has just launched a round on Seedrs* to raise up to 2 million EUR in new funding at a pre-money valuation of 28.8M EUR . Estateguru was launched in Estonia 6 years ago and has since expanded into the Latvian, Lithuanian, Finnish, Portugeese and German markets. Using the platform 47,000 investors have funded over 1,400 loans with a volume of 202 million EUR for an average return of 11.8% (as per Estateguru statistics page). All loans are secured by mortgages. Estateguru says that so far all recoveries of defaults have returned 100% of the capital and just the length of discovery varied sometimes taking months, sometimes taking years.
Estateguru plans to use the raised capital to further develop the product, especially improving features for institutional investors. Estateguru* can build on the experiences it made in a two-year relationship with German Varengold bank which has provided a credit line to finance loans. A second goal is to expand into further markets. In a recent investor webinar CEO Marek Pärtel named UK as a potential market, stating Estateguru already holds the required licenses since last year. Furthermore Estateguru will implement integration with payment provider Lemonway.
Pärtel said in the webinar that Estateguru has doubled in size every year in the past and expects the fast growth to continue in the future.
European p2p lending services are growing. And yields of 10+% are achievable on some of the platforms. This attracts international investors. But if you are a US resident, you may have made the experience that you cannot register on some marketplaces. This is mainly due to KYC (know-your-customer) and AML (anti-money-laundering) requirements, which get more complicated if the client is outside Europe.
I have asked many of the European p2p lending marketplaces, whether they accecpt US residents and US companies as investors.
Here is an overview of 5 services (sorted aplphabetically) that do allow US investors. I have not provided a review for each of the service as the article would have gotten too long, but you can easily find news and reviews by entering the company name into the search box on the upper right of this blog.
On some platforms you need a bank account in the European Union. In most cases Transferwise* borderless or Revolut* will help (while technically e-money accounts, they function pretty similar to bank accounts) and do not charge any monthly fees. They are both very useful for currency conversion (Revolut is better). On Assetz Capital the currency is GBP. On the other marketplaces it is EUR. Mintos has additional currencies. Transferwise borderless is available in all US states except Hawaii and Nevada. Revolut* is currently rolling out the service in the US.
Mentioned new customer cashbacks were correct at the time of the publication of this article. If you are reading the article at a later time, it may have changed. A current list of cashback offers is here.
Assetz Capital* is a marketplace for UK SME and property development loans. The liquid ‘access’ products offer 4.1% to 5.75% interest. Other product types offer higher rates. US investors are welcome. UK bank is account required – see notes above. US companies are eligible, but verification might take longer than for individuals. Expect 1-10 days for company registration.
Assetz Capital cashback for new investors: 50-250 GBP (dependent on investment amount; minimum 1000 GBP). To get it just register using this link: Assetz Capital registration and start lending
Bondora* is an Estonian p2p lending marketplace for consumer loans. The highly liquid Go&Grow product offer yields 6.75%. With other products higher yields of 10+% are achievable. US investors need to be accredited investors to use Bondora. A bank account in the European Union is not necessary. US companies are eligible to invest. Bondora recommends that interested US investors and companies contact them at email@example.com or by phone at +44 1568 6300 06 (during business hours, Mo-Fr: 9–17 EET) to check eligibility and clear any questions concerning registration.
Bondora cashback for new investors: 5 EUR, to get it just register using this link: Bondora registration and start lending
Estateguru* is an Estonian marketplace for property loans. Typical interest rates are 10-12%. US residents are eligible, if they have a bank account in the EEA (European Economic Area) – see notes above. US companies can invest, if they have a bank account in the EEA.
Estateguru cashback for new investors: 0.5% (1% in October) cashback on all investments in the first 3 months. To get it just register using this link: Estateguru registration and start lending
Flender* is an Irish marketplace for SME loans. Typical interest rates are around 10%. US investors and US companies are eligible.
Flender cashback for new investors: 5% on all investments in the first 30 days after signup. Register using this link Flender registration and start lending
Mintos* is a Latvian p2p lending market place. A wide range of loan types is offered. The fairly liquid ‘Invest&Access’ product currently promotes around 8% rate. Yields of 10+% are possible with manual and autoinvest.
US investors and US companies are welcome. A bank account in the EEA (European Economic Area is required) – see notes above.
Mintos cashback for new investors: 1% cashback on all investments in the first 90 days. To get it just register using this link: Mintos registration and start lending
The article was updated on Nov. 21st as Estateguru has meanwhile changed its position saying that Revolut or Transferwise are sufficient now to satisfy the requirements on a bank account in the European Union.
P2P lending bears high risks, including total loss of investment. This article is not investment advice.
After several month of waiting since the first announcement, the Estateguru* secondary market will now launch. In the past weeks could participate in a closed beta test prior to the coming public launch of the market. Estateguru used this to get some feedback and to fine tune the wording (e.g. in the FAQ).
Overview of important facts about the Estateguru secondary market:
seller pays a 2% transaction fee
loans in all status can be offered, including late and in default
only the total loan part can be offered, it is not possible to split it and sell parts of it
seller can set the price at par or at premium. Discounts are not possible
buyer gets all repayments and interest after the sales transaction date
bought loans can not be resold for the next 30 days
each listing runs for 7 days. Unsold parts will be removed automatically
And now, without further ado, this is how the secondary market looks:
Fig. 1: Estateguru secondary market
On top of fig. 1 you can see the available filters. Also most columns can be used for sorting. The red highlighted loans are parts I listed for sale. I’ll now show you the steps necessary to sell a loan.
First I consented to this notice for activating the secondary market.
Fig. 2: Activating the secondary market
Then I went to my portfolio, selected the loan, I wanted to sell and clicked the “Sell” button on the right. Now I got to this screen:
Fig. 3: Setting the sales price
There is a slider on the upper right for the sales price. It is preset to 2% premium, to recover the sales fee. I set a higher premium here. Below the price the AROI for me (the seller) and the AROI for the buyer is shown. As the AROI is prominently featured in the market overview (see fig. 1) it is an important criteria for the buyer. And 3.56% is probably to low to achieve a sale. In fact this part did not sell in the 7 days (the other listed part #1301 did sell, see Fig 5.).
Here is the Estateguru AROI definition: ‘AROI (annualised return on investment) is an estimated annual return based on the total return on investment’.
After I clicked “Sell my claim” there is a screen for entering the password.And after that a display where Estateguru confirms that the loan is listed for sale
Fig 4.: Email I received notifying me of a successful sale of a loan
I like the overview table of the secondary market. As improvements I suggest to display the premium percentage and to allow filtering by status. Maybe that will be added in the next release. I also asked if they could add the ability to trade at discounts. The reply was that they wanted to offer an easy opportunity to sell loans and not overcomplicate the tool.
My first impression
The secondary market delivers what it aims to do: allow an early exit by selling loans. The 2% fee is relatively high, I expect that will keep the traded volume low. Sellers of late and defaulted loans will have to carefully consider the price set, as I think that with any positive news updates on the recovery status of the loan, the loan part will be bought, before the seller has a chance to read and react to the update.
Who? What? You might wonder why that is relevant as most readers are unlikely to be LHV Bank customers. LHV Bank is a bank in Estonia.
I think it is highly interesting, as it is – to my knowledge – the first time a bank has integrated p2p lending investments in its customer interface. So the LHV bank customers, not only see their accounts and stock depots, but also their Estateguru* investments conveniently listed in their online bank dashboard. Much has been talked about what role could banks have in p2p lending (mere transaction banks? providing credit lines?) and also there is a lot of speculation if PSD2 (open banking) will help fintechs to seize the access to the customer from banks because they could control the user interface in the future. But this is actually a first step a bank takes in the opposite direction. By aggregating “non-bank” information inside the dashboard, they aim to make the banking interface more useful for the customers.
LHV customers can now see their short term property loan investments on LHV internet bank. On the summary view of internet bank, besides public stock exchange investments, one can see also alternative investments like short term property loan investments and cryptocurrencies, thus making it possible to get a quick and comprehensive overview of one’s investment portfolio. EstateGuru and Coinbase are the very first services to be switched on to the platform.
“LHV’s new service is the best example of cooperation between banks and fintech. LHV is most definitely a trendsetter in the banking sector. It is fulfilling to see that short term property lending has become a solid part of investments, and traditional banking has accepted it. EstateGuru has more than 25 000 investors throughout Europe, and the number is rapidly growing among both retail, professional, and institutional investors. We can provide our customers with more added value via interfaces like that of LHV’s “, commented EstateGuru’s COO Mihkel Stamm.
Alternative investments have become a substantial part of the Estonian investment scene, particularly among new investors. There are more than 13 000 people in Estonia who have invested in crowdfunding platforms. The fixed rate of return on debt instruments and access to the new and attractive asset classes have found their well-deserved place in investors’ portfolios. The better the quality of information, the more successful the investors.
“LHV aims to keep pace with its customers’ investment activities and that’s why we decided to take a step closer to the universe of alternative investments. The added value of this new service for our customer is a better and more comprehensive overview of the assets, thus making the portfolio management more successful “, added the Head of Investment Services at LHV, Martin Mets.
EstateGuru is the leading European platform connecting an international community of investors and businesses offering the highest diversification options for investors and flexible terms and speed of funding for businesses. The mission of EstateGuru is to provide hassle-free and flexible financing to property developers and entrepreneurs as well as diversified property backed cross-border investment opportunities to its international investor base—from the small individual investors to the institutions and everyone in-between. EstateGuru has more than 25 000 investors from 45 countries and the total money lent to date is more than 122MEUR. …
LHV is the largest domestic financial group in Estonia. LHV’s mission is to help to create Estonian capital. According to LHV’s vision, the people and enterprises of Estonia dare to think big, start things and invest in the future. LHV’s values are to be simple, supportive and effective.
Baltic property p2p lending marketplace Estateguru* announced, that it has raised a 1.3M EUR round led by Speedinvest f. Speedinvest f is a focus fund launched by Speedinvest, targeting Fintech investments across Europe. Speedinvest will support EstateGuru in its geographic expansion across Europe.
Marek Pärtel, founder and CEO of EstateGuru, outlines the company’s mission to become the largest pan-European real estate financing marketplace: ‘Today, EstateGuru has become the largest platform in mainland Europe, showing an average annual growth rate of 100%. Simultaneously, we have discovered excellent opportunities to further increase our market coverage and it is for this purpose that we have drafted a clear technological development plan that requires a strong partner in order to be implemented successfully.’
Christopher Zemina, Investment Manager at Speedinvest, explains the background of the investment: ‘EstateGuru is the story of a small team that has achieved extraordinary growth without much external funding. The team has executed their plans and constantly outperformed our expectations. We are determined to support the company in its next stage of growth.’
I covered my p2p lending portfolio periodically over the past 12 years in this blog. The following report is a snapshot on how it is composed right now (May 2019) and which strategy I will take for the next months. As you can see below I aim for a widespread diversification (over different platforms as well as geographically) of my p2p lending investments.
Mintos* is my biggest position. I run a trading strategy on Mintos. Mintos gives my net annual return as 15.1%. Calculating it myself based on the deposits and withdrawals I get a XIRR value of 24.8%. The cause for the huge discrepancy is that Mintos does not account correctly for the cashback of the campaigns. I heavily traded, when Mogo ran a campaign. For example I invested in new Mogo loans that were offered with a 2% cashback on the primary market, nearly instantly sold them with 1.8% discount on the secondary market and pocketed the cashback. Rinse and repeat.
I am satisfied with the current degree of diversification over loan originators in my Mintos portfolio. The bulk of my investments is in loan terms between 3 and 30 months at interest rates ranging from 13% to 15%. The lower interest rate loans are usually only held temporary as part of my trading strategy.
For the coming month I plan to keep my Mintos* investment at roughly that amount, reinvesting the paid principal and interest. New investors registering via this link at Mintos, get 1% cashback on amounts invested in the first 90 days. Mintos is currently not accepting UK investors.
My second largest p2p investment is on Irish SME loan platform Linked Finance.
Diversification achieved is good. The majority of my loans have interest rates between 8% and 11%. Most loan terms are 2 or 3 years.
I “collected” 7 loans in default (double dip on the golf loan). But 5 of these had repaid more than half the principal before they want into the default state so the principal in default sums up to only 270 Euro. My self-calulated XIRR value is 6.4% if I totally write off the amounts in default and 7.1% if I assume that half the amount in default will be recovered. I plan to slightly increase my Linked Finance* portfolio in the next months. Linked Finance is not offering any cashback or bonus rewards for new investors.
Bondora is my third largest and oldest (still running) p2p lending portfolio. I started in 2012. My self calculated XIRR value is 16.6%. A yield that high is not achievable nowadays anymore. My portfolio profited heavily from the first years when interest rates were typically 28% to 34%.
I am currently investing into Estonian A and B loans using these autoinvest settings. I have used these settings unchanged for 11 months now and it is running totally hands-off with no maintenance required.
On Bondora* I reinvest the bulk of my repayments and occasionaly withdraw some funds. New investors registering on Bondora using this link get a 5 Euro sign-up bonus.
Ratesetter Australia* is my fourth largest p2p investment and also one of my youngest. I started in August 2018. My XIRR value self calculated in AUD is 9,1% if I include the 75 AUD sign-up bonus and 7.4% if I do not include that.
My money is mostly invested on the Ratesetter 5 year market at an average rate of 9.2% (that is after fees but before withholding tax).
In the past months the interest rates have dropped considerably therefore I am parking some funds on the 1 month market or invest them on the 3 year market.
I am reinvesting all repayments at Ratesetter Australia. If rates go up again I plan to do that on the 5 year market, otherwise I’ll settle for the 3 year market. It is a little complicated to register as a non-resident, but I have described how I managed to sign up as a European here. New investors can earn a 75 AUD promotion bonus by investing 2,000 AUD or more in our 3 year Income or 5 year Income lending markets before 31st May 2019. Achieving that requirement in time will not be easy, even if you start directly.
The fifth largest position of my p2p portfolio is invested at Iuvo. It is running hands-off and does not require any maintenance.
I continue to reinvest all repayments. Iuvo pays new investors a very generous cashback of up to 90 EUR. For more details and how to get it see the cashback overview page.
After I completely exited Lendy in last autumn, baltic Estateguru* is now my largest platform for property secured loans. I don’t use the autoinvest. Instead I periodically login and manually invest into a new Estonian loan secured by a first rank mortgage.
I mostly reinvest all repayments. New investors get 0.5% cashback for all investments in the first 90 days, if they sign up using this link.
I used to have a larger portfolio at finnish Fellow Finance but I did not want to go below 12% for 4 star Finnish consumer loans therefore I started withdrawing funds last year. In January the sale price collections paid tor Finnish loans dropped from 70% to 53% which reinforced my decision to exit.
I am running down my portfolio on French SME loan marketplace October. With the low interest rates and rising defaults (6 out of 52 loans) in my portfolio the risk reward ratio is not for my taste anymore.
New investors signing up on October using this link* can get 20 EUR bonus (200 Euro minimum investment)
Not p2p lending but investing in startups. I am a huge fan of Seedrs*. Investing in startups is of course even higher risk than investing in p2p lending. Nevertheless I went ahead and built a big Seedrs portfolio over the last years. Snapshot:
P2P Conference Riga
I am looking forward to be at the P2P Conference in Riga* which is less than 4 weeks away. The conference is reasonably priced (enter promotional code P2PEARLYBIRD40 for 40% rebate) and Riga can be reached with cheap flights from many European cities. BTW, Riga is an interesting town, if you have not been there yet you could combine the conference with some sightseeing.