Interview with Jana Mücková, Relationship Manager at Bondster

I interviewed Jana Mücková, Relationship Manager at Bondster (see her bio at the end of the article). By registering via this link and entering promotion code 5506 new investors get 1% cashback on all investments in the first three month.

What is Bondster about?

Bondster is one of the fastest growing fintech companies in the field of P2P (Peer-to-Peer) loan marketplaces in Europe and the very first online investment platform of its kind in the Czech Republic. Bondster connects providers of loans with retail investors. Investors (individual or companies) may invest their free funds into loans already provided by different providers. Investors can choose from different types of loans, maturity, security, providers. Investors can also see the repayment history of the debtor to whom the loan had been provided and they can also see the basic information about the debtor.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

The biggest advantage is definitely high returns on loans. Moreover, these loans are either secured (by real estate or movables) or offered with a Buyback Guarantee (in case the debtor does not repay the loan, the provider has to buy it back from the investor) which eliminates the risk for investors. Imagine your money sits in the bank account, you lose money in real terms every single day since the inflation rate is higher than the nominal interest rate on your bank deposits. On Bondster investors can earn more than 11 % on Euro investments in average. Do you know a bank that could offer you such a return?

Bondster also offers loans with unique features such as Exit from the investment or Guarantee of Liquidity. This is especially popular with Investors that are more risk averse and prefer more liquid investments. Exit from Investment means that the investor can get back the outstanding principal at predetermined points in time after the investment had been executed (after a week, month, half a year etc.) for a predefined fee. Guarantee of Liquidity allows investors to withdraw the invested amount (outstanding principal) any time for a predefined fee.

From what we have learned from our investors, our choice of Providers is really appreciated. We carefully choose our partners. Providers we cooperate with are always either well established companies in the local markets with a very good track record, or younger companies but with huge potential and experienced people with strong professional background in the management.

What are the three main advantages for loan providers?

Our partners can benefit from alternative and flexible financing we offer. In case a provider needs for example some extra funds for its development, he can upload an extra tranche of loans to our platform and receive these extra needed funds from our investors without any additional administrative burden or costs. This is a huge advantage for providers because applying for a business loan in a bank or negotiating with and raising money from big institutional investors takes much more time and is often also more expensive.

Our onboarding and due diligence process are on one hand very complex, but on the other our team is always willing to help, assist and explain and we usually manage to complete it within a few weeks.

Our team really likes challenges, and this is why we are so flexible. We always try to find tailored-made solutions.

What ROI can investors expect?

The average return on Euro investment is now 11,49 %, on Czech investment it is a bit less around 9,32 %.

How does Bondster attract, select and vet new loan providers?

… We got to the stage when the providers approach us by themselves. They learnt about us through P2P forums, blogs or influencers and realized that they can be more visible on Bondster than on other older platforms. Generally, we look for strong and established partners in the local markets or strong groups operating in several countries. We now negotiate with providers outside EU to offer our investors new opportunities for diversification.

Can you please tell us a bit about your background and the team’s background?

Well, our team has 10 members with a professional background in banking, IT, portfolio and project management, and customer care. I personally worked 5 years in banking sector which is quite rigid environment. I needed more space for my ideas. I am a kind of person that is never happy because there is always something that can be improved, right? I think I drive my colleagues at Bondster crazy sometimes because of that, but online marketplace is that kind of business that has to be always challenged and innovated to follow current trends and that is exactly why I love it.

Is the technical platform self-developed?

Partially yes, but we also outsource. The technical development of the platform is secured by one Irish company with a long-term experience in developing innovative software for banks.

How is the company financed? Is it profitable?

Bondster is fully owned by the Czech investment company CEP Invest Private Equity. At this stage, we invest all the available funds and energy into development. We want to create a platform that is not only user friendly, but also offers something extra. We want to be better than our competitors and that is why we value our investors´ ideas and appreciate their recommendations.

What were the main challenges when launching your platform?

The biggest challenge was to find the investor and a strong business partner. It is not only about the money, it is also about the expectations and philosophy. We really appreciate that we managed to attract CEP Invest Private Equity as an investor and ACEMA Credit Czech, a.s. as our strategic partner because they profess the same values. They helped us develop and also expand to foreign markets and we are very grateful for such an opportunity.  Another challenge was to find right people because here at Bondster we believe that the strength of a company is in its people.

I know that Bondster attracts investors from the whole EU. But you also have loans in CZK currency appealing to local investors in the Czech Republic. Do you observe any difference in the investment approach/attitude of Czech investors compared to other nationals?

Well, Czech investors are generally more careful, they start with small amount to test the platform and its operation. Investors from Western Europe usually invest higher amounts from the very beginning.

What are your next plans? Can you share some interesting developments that are currently in the making?

We are now preparing in cooperation with one of our European providers a limited offer of loans for 15 %. This will be launched at the end of April [April 30th]. We are also preparing new features for autoinvest and new settings of filters. The long-term goal is to launch our own mobile app for investing. During summer we would also like to launch the currency conversion for investors as we have a growing number of investors from countries outside Euro zone and we want to give them an opportunity to easily convert money through our platform. And as I said before, we would like to continue working on new providers outside EU to offer enough diversification possibilities.

Where do you see Bondster in 3 years?

Our goal is to have 20,000 investors, 60 providers and EUR 80 million of loans on the platform in three years. We would like to top up with our competitors and maybe even overcome them. It would be great if we would manage to become one of the 5 best P2P platforms in Europe. We will work on simplifying our services and innovating our platform and IT solutions to serve the best to our investors.

P2P-Banking.com thanks Jana Mücková for the interview.

Jana is a Relationship Manager, she manages an international team responsible for acquisition of new providers. She studied at two prestigious Asian universities and previously gained working experience in banking and export support. She is also a leading economist of Bondster.

 

Why has the FCA Refused the Application of Mintos and has the Decision any Consequences?

The FCA, the Financial Conduct Authority, is the supervising regulatory body for p2p lending platforms in the UK. In Dec. 2018 it refused the application of Mintos or more precise of a separate legal entity within the Mintos group, established for operations within the UK.

The full notice of the FCA decision can be read here. Below I outline some of the aspects. I also reached out to the Mintos CEO, who kindly answered my questions on this matter.

Before we go into the details, I want to make it clear, that the FCA decision has no direct impact on the current operation of  Mintos platform, which is headquartered in Latvia.

Mintos Marketplace Limited applied for permission to conduct a specific regulated activity (“permission to operate an electronic system in relation to lending (Article 36H RAO)”).

Reading the FCA decision there are several points that led to the refusal:

a) the applying company does not currently meet the minimal funding requirements of 50K GBP as specified by the rules (paragraphs 49-50 of the notice)

b) the head office of the applying company is not currently in the UK (51-53)

c) the FCA has doubts that the Mintos business model will be adapted adaquately to comply with the UK regulation rules (paragraphs 29-33, 35-38, 40)

d) the FCA find Mintos wind-down plans are not specific enough (41-44)

e) the FCA is not satisfied with Mintos’ understanding of the UK rules (46-48)

The decision is interesting to read. Naturally it judges Mintos solely by the formal compliance regarding the UK rulebook. Any other non-UK marketplaces seeking FCA approval can certainly learn some things from this declined application. As I stated above, it does not have any consequences for the current operation of the Mintos marketplace. It only affects any potential plans Mintos had for the UK market.

That gets us to the more interesting point: why did Mintos strive to get FCA approval still in 2018 despite Brexit? I asked Martins Sulte, CEO of Mintos, and here are his answers:

1) What was the intention of Mintos to set up the seperate UK entity and apply for permission at the FCA. Was this related to offering IFISA products and possible tax advantages for UK investors?

The intention is to connect to our marketplace loan originators originating loans in GBP in the UK and offering those loans to investors from the UK. We believe that the UK can become a self-sustaining marketplace where local investors are able to fund loans originated locally in the UK.

2) Considering that the application was pursued still as recent as July 2018 (point 29), this is an interesting move in light of Brexit, with several UK fintechs going the other direction to secure a continued presence in the EU. Any comment?

We view the UK market as a separate market that has the UK specific regulatory environment when it comes to crowdlending. Our intention is to create a largely self-sustaining UK marketplace that serves both UK loan originators and UK investors. In that light uncertainty caused by Brexit plays less of a role. It is important to note that each and every country has their own approach to regulating crowdlending, which means that for instance having the FCA permissions for working in the UK would not really affect our operations in other countries, even in EU. Only when the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on European crowdfunding services providers come into place we might see that licenses are passportable across the EU and then in that light, the Brexit certainly would more of a consideration. For now, we have to look at each country separately.

3) Is the announcement of the application for an e-money license a reaction to the upcoming decision by the FCA?

No. E-money licence and UK permissions are very different licenses.

4) Do you think that any of the assessments the FCA made, will be relevant for the Latvian regulator once the Latvian regulation is finalized?

I don’t think so. Each country has its own approach. The UK has a rather specific approach. When we talk about Latvian regulation we also have to take into account that it will cover only investors and loan originators in Latvia. Once the Latvian regulation is finalized we will still have to look at each country separately. Us having a necessary license in Latvia will play a little role when considering our operations in, for example, Mexico, South East Asia or Russia, or even in other countries of EU.

 

Martins added: ‘This was a formal Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) decision on Mintos’ application for operating in the United Kingdom submitted by the Mintos Marketplace Ltd (a separate legal entity within Mintos group that was established for operations in the UK). The application was submitted almost two years ago. In these two years, our business model has evolved, our team has expanded significantly and we have gained major business results on a European and global level that defined our position as a leader in the market of investments in loans. The application for necessary permissions to operate in the UK doesn’t affect our daily business and the future development of Mintos, and the rejection of the application is nothing that can, nor will, affect our business operations in other countries.

The UK has different and specific legislation, and the FCA notice serves us as valuable feedback for adjusting our processes and procedures to fit the UK specificities. At the moment, we are in no rush when it comes to entering the UK market, as we are all aware of the many uncertainties regarding the Brexit issue. Anyway, our growth and expansion goals are unwavering, and entering the UK market will remain in the scope of our interest. We will continue working with our legal and regulatory advisors and will take into account the FCA’s feedback when considering our next steps with respect to the UK.’

Orca Money to Raise 500K via Equity Crowdfunding – Interview with CEO Iain Niblock

Orca Money is currently running an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs to raise 500K GBP at a premoney valuation of 1.7M GBP. Anybody can invest in Orca Money shares with a minimum investment amount of 10 GBP applicable. I interviewed the Orca CEO Iain Niblock

What is Orca Money about?

Orca is an aggregation platform, allowing investors to invest across a range of peer to peer lending (P2P) platforms, lending sub sectors and a large number of borrowers. We further offer independent investment research, providing confidence to investors when making decisions.

Currently investors are investing directly on P2P platforms. This makes building and managing a diversified portfolio frustrating. We centralise this process by allowing investors to research, build and manage their portfolio from the Orca platform. We provide the P2P platforms with a source of retail investors.

Investors can review the performance of their portfolio, diversify their risk and earn the attractive returns that the sector offers.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Risk adjusted returns: We offer an investment return to our users which is reduced in risk through diversification. By allowing investors to invest across multiple P2P platforms, lending sectors and a large number of borrowers, we facilitate easy diversification.

Reduced admin burden: Orca manages all fund deployment, email communication and performance data aggregation. Investors can login to their personal Orca dashboard and view a breakdown of their portfolio, as well as an aggregated view of their investment performance.

Automatic portfolio build: Orca has been producing independent analysis on the market for the past three years. We have conducted due diligence in the market and curated a portfolio for investors to invest through. This removes the hassle from P2P investing.

Iain NiblockYou are currently raising money. Who are you raising from and what do you plan to use the capital for?

Our investment is open to the public on the Seedrs equity crowdfunding platform. Investors across the EU can register and invest in the Orca business. The proceeds will allow us to expand our userbase, integrate with more lenders and to further develop the functionality of our platform.

Prior to launching the crowdfunding campaign, we secured a portion of this investment from two institutional funds based in Northern Ireland and a number of leading angel investors. It’s great to be combining these investors with crowd investors.

Why have you selected Seedrs for your equity crowdfunding campaign?

A number of our customers mentioned that they would like to invest in Orca’s business. We’ve gained incredibly valuable feedback from these customers and, ultimately, we wanted to give them an opportunity to own shares in the business. We hope that this campaign will attract further investors and customers to do the same.

Personally, I’ve tracked the equity crowdfunding market closely for many years and I’m now genuinely excited to be leading a campaign. Seedrs was an obvious choice as they have facilitated funding for a number of other P2P platforms.

One benefit of Seedrs is that investors invest through a nominee structure. The Seedrs nominee structure holds and manages the shares on the behalf of the underlying investor. For the investor, this means the nominee can track and monitor shareholder rights as a collective. For the company, this reduces the administrative burden of having a large shareholder base.

Where do you see Orca Money in 3 years?

We aim to evolve into the hub for P2P investment research, investing and portfolio management. Investors will be given access to credit investments across the EU, originated by P2P platforms and other non-bank lenders. The functionality of our platform will increase, delivering a fully functioning investment aggregation platform.

Orca is a differentiated product in a rapidly growing market.

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

In comparison to other Seedrs pitches we believe our valuation is very good value. This was set by institutional investors based in Northern Ireland where valuations are generally lower than other parts of the UK and in particular London. I’d expect the valuation to rise substantially during any subsequent rounds.

P2P-Banking.com thanks Iain Niblock for the interview.

Interview with Grupeer

Interview with Alla Kisika, founder and Vladislav Filimonovs, COO of Grupeer

What is Grupeer about?

Alla Kisika: Grupeer is all about people! We have created the platform which is based on 3 pillars:

  • Security (protection)
  • Technologies (efficiency)
  • Benefit (profitability)

Our platform is not just the bridge connecting the borrower and the investors, Grupeer is a transparent environment in which the investors can feel safe, receiving fast and clear high profit, using the latest technologies.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Vladislav Filimonov: As mentioned, the financial safety of our investors is our main priority. First of all, the number of outstanding or default transactions it is equal to zero. This indicator is reached only to our rigid scoring which eliminates nearly 75% of the loan originators interested to place the projects on our platform. The reverse side of the coin is lack of variety of the projects.

Secondly, we give a unique opportunity to diversify the portfolio, investing in business loans or in development projects within one platform.

And last but not least, all of our loan originators provide BuyBack guarantees for each project. Besides, our investors get access to all financial information of the borrower of the project. To convince of our advantages, we offer the minimum sum of the contribution of 10 EUR, we are sure that after the first experience, the investors will become our loyal customer!

As for development projects, in many scenarios, the management members of Grupeer are acting as a shareholder to have a full control towards successful implementation of it.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

Alla Kisika: To clarify, Grupeer doesn’t issue the credits and we are working with legal entities only.

“Fuel for your business.” The borrower has a possibility of refinancing due to the services of our platform, and it means that, the company will get the financial resources or as we call it – fuel to grow the company at the velocity of the rocket.

The size doesn’t matter. We consider borrowers of all sizes. And experience has shown that size doesn’t matter. Even if the borrower is small, but with good financial history, we are ready to provide favorable credit rates, fast result and high-quality services to grow together!

Great Customer Experience. We are sure that services and the ideas can be copied but what really distinguishes is the way the service is provided. Customer satisfaction is our Top priority. We practice the individual approach to each partner from the beginning to the very end.

What ROI can investors expect?

Alla Kisika: We can proudly say that now the average net annual return of Grupeer is 14.25% and it is the highest annual average rate on the market. Most of our projects have the stable interest rate of 14%, some of them, for example, the most loved by German investors- Finsputnik Platforma SIA projects have 15% interest rate.

It should be mentioned that there is no correlation between a high interest rate and the increased risk. Such high-interest rate is stipulated by company’s policy and marketing strategy which makes our platform attractive to check the mechanism of return of percent and principal.

Grupeer offers a wide variety of loans from several countries. How do you succeed in sourcing and checking these loans?

Vladislav Filimonov: As mentioned above, we don’t offer a wide range of the loans from the different countries but considering that we could critically improve our scoring system that pays off for 100% (we would like to remind that the number of expired and default transactions is equal to zero). Besides, our sales team started to work on attracting the new projects therefore soon we will please our investors with many new projects.

How did you get the idea to launch a p2p lending marketplace?

Alla Kisika: Life gave the idea of the platform development. In due time, the founders of the platform had a very serious project regarding the construction and commissioning of the Thermal power plant. At some point, when a large amount of financial means has been already invested and very little remained before the end of the project, the need of additional 3 million euros has appeared. Founders have faced a problem of the full amount as someone wanted to invest only 500’000 EUR, someone 1’500’000 EUR and these people were not friendly with each other therefore a certain sum of money hasn’t been collected till the deadline and the project was closed. And the conclusion was obvious –  human relationship shouldn’t influence implementation of the projects and that it is necessary to develop the platform which will provide such an opportunity. And Grupeer platform has been developed for this purpose.

Can you please tell us a bit about your background and the team’s background?

Vladislav Filimonov: Force and success of our company is our employees. From myself, I have gained a massive experience in leading Large Group of Multinational Teams as a Vice-President of Mastercard and while working in Pay Pal. This experience is now spread across all functions of Grupeer to make it even more investors-oriented platform.

Below you can meet some of our team members:

CEO – Andrey Kisiks is the professional developer with 20+ years of experience in European Union. Fields of activity: construction, residential real estate projects development, construction and operational commissioning of complex technical objects (Power Supply), Finance and Peer-to-Peer.

CMO – Leonid Tenkaluk is experienced Digital Marketing Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and sales industry. Skilled in Team Management, Marketing Management, Negotiation, E-commerce and Entrepreneurship.

We very thoroughly select our employees, as our loan originators. In April of this year, several strong experts joined our team, and, in a few months, we are planning to double the number of our teammates to boost our team and to be able to go from “good” to “great.”

GrupeerIs the technical platform self-developed?

Vladislav Filimonov: Yes, our technical platform is 100% self-developed without using some “ready-to-use” software products. Besides that, we did not use any outsourcing services. The basic part of the platform is developed, but we continue to improve it on daily basis. We are planning to add several innovative solutions for the more convenient use of our platform in near future.

How is the company financed? Is it profitable?

Alla Kisika: The company is self-financed. As we have only started to conquer financial oceans, we didn’t manage to generate profit yet, but we are planning to reach a break-even already in the next year.

What were the main challenges when launching your platform?

Alla Kisika: As in any innovative field under that is not regulated by law we have faced several the bureaucratic issues which we are solving successfully. Secondly, we have spent a lot of time on development of the reliable scoring system to minimize any investor’s risks. And the main challenge today is to get our values over to the audience and to earn its trust.

Is Grupeer open to international investors?

Vladislav Filimonov: Yes, we are. Now, we work with investors who are EU residents. Soon, we will certainly expand our geography.

Where do you see Grupeer in 3 years?

Vladislav Filimonov: Our main objective in following 3 yeas is to become a leader service provider of the alternative investment market in EU. We don’t want to open plans prematurely, but we are planning to become the conductor to unique products in this market. To prove ourselves as the most innovative, safe and favourable platform.

You have one wish, that the regulator will fulfil. What is your wish?

Vladislav Filimonov: As they say – be careful what you wish for, you may receive it. Our sole ambition is the liberal relation to this field as P2P business is very perspective alternative for World economy.

P2P-Banking.com thanks Alla Kisika and Vladislav Filimonov for the interview.

Interview with Narinder Khattoare, CEO of Kuflink

What is Kuflink about?

Kuflink is a peer-to-peer property investment platform that brings borrowers and investors together. Our borrowers seek quick access to short-term finance that a high street bank would be unable to deliver, and our investors seek competitive interest that beats the typical rates offered with regular savings and current accounts.

Investing in property has previously been reserved for the very wealthy, with the money and means to put significant sums towards developments. The fintech revolution, however, has opened up a wide range of opportunities to retail investors who want to make meaningful returns on their cash, and in turn, opened up borrowing opportunities for a range of projects that would previously be denied such quick access to loans.

Kuflink has built a peer-to-peer platform in this emerging space to give retail investors the opportunities that were previously only available to high net worth individuals and institutional investors. In doing so, it also offers developers bridging loans to fund projects across the UK.

Since our launch of the p2p platform in 2016, Kuflink lenders have invested over 17 million GBP, with 0.00 GBP losses to date.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Firstly, investors are offered high rates of return associated with property investments, which due to the nature of the property market are often very secure and predictable. In this age of mass-market retail investment, property opportunities have one of the longest track records, as people have been investing in property for hundreds of years, and long before technological advancements allowed us to build an accessible P2P platform.

A second main advantage for investors is that Kuflink has a highly effective due diligence procedure with an exceptional track record. We’re so confident in our vetting of loan requests that we cover the first 20% of losses in each individual opportunity on the platform. We really believe in each loan, and investors can be confident in all opportunities, as like them, we trust the platform with our own funds at risk.

Thirdly, investors are only offered access to the very best opportunities, as Kuflink only approves around 30% of loan applications. This gives lenders peace of mind that their investment is very likely to be successful.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

We have been providing bridging and development loans since 2011 of up to 1 million GBP, and our lenders have invested over 17 million GBP in just under 2 years, proving highly advantageous for our borrowers.

Firstly, Kuflink gives property professionals highly competitive rates on development loans. Many of these highly secure projects may not otherwise find funding, as Kuflink’s due diligence process filters highly promising opportunities that others may incorrectly deem inappropriate.

Secondly, borrowers can access a huge number of investors through the p2p platform, and are provided with a highly regulated means of crowdfunding their projects. This allows developers to work on projects that people really want, and can help to build strong community relationships between loan backers and project managers, leading to increased opportunities for future project funding.

Finally, Kuflink’s on hand customer service team is highly responsive to any queries or difficulties with loans, and can offer instant advice and support in the event of any difficulties.

What ROI can investors expect?

There are multiple ways for investors to lend their money with Kuflink, and each of these carries different estimated ROI.

Using the Auto-Invest feature, the platform will automatically diversify investors’ funds, and can offer up to 5.35% interest pa gross*. Investors can also choose to invest in certain opportunities to have more control over their portfolio. This is through Kuflink’s Select-Invest feature, which can offer up to 7.2% interest pa gross* over shorter periods of time. Finally, our IF-ISA offering also allows investors up to 5.35% interest pa*, with a £20,000 tax-free allowance for 2018/19.

You are advertising “investors never lost a penny”. At a future point in time defaults will happen. What is the procedure for dealing with these and what overall unrecoverable rate of debts do you expect?

In the case of defaults, we instruct an insolvency practitioner to recover funds, however we expect our excellent track record to continue and hope we won’t need to act upon this in the future.

Narinder KhattoareIs the technical platform self-developed?

The platform has been developed by our CTO, Hari Ramamurthy, alongside in-house front and back-end developers to ensure the technology seamlessly compliments our P2P offering. Since our launch in 2016, the platform has been operating smoothly, while undergoing continuous updates and improvements. Our in-house technical team can respond immediately to any borrower or lender issues with the software.

How is the company financed? Is it profitable?

The Kuflink platform as it stands today has evolved from alpha bridging, which provided the funds for the launch of Kuflink Bridging, which hosted the initial P2P offering. Kuflink’s model, as with many P2P platforms, is to take a small cut from each transaction, and currently runs at a profit.

What were the main challenges when launching your platform?

One of the main challenges we have had to face is inter-departmental integration. With so many moving parts across different disciplines, from property due diligence experts, to finance and tech experts, making sure there are good lines of communication and correct pathways in place have been essential to our successful operation.

You offer an Innovative Finance ISA with tax advantages. Can you please provide some absolute numbers on how many UK investors have invested into this? And are there more new subscriptions or more transfers in of existing ISAs?

We currently have many IF-ISA account holders who have so far made significant investments. There has been a large influx of transfers in from other ISA providers from both new and existing Kuflink account holders, however we cannot comment on the exact number of account holders or investment value as these figures are commercially sensitive.

Is Kuflink open to international investors?

Our platform is open and accessible to overseas investors with a UK residency and a UK bank account.

Which marketing channels do you use to attract investors and borrowers?

We use a variety of marketing channels, from online advertising, to PR and even major sponsorship deals such as our partnership with Ebbsfleet United Football Club and their Kuflink Stadium.

What factors do you see impacting the British property market in the near future?

Brexit is of course a big issue that could potentially impact property in the UK, with an air of uncertainty surrounding the future of the market. Although we expect this to have a somewhat adverse effect on the markets, we believe that UK property will continue to be an attractive area of growth and investment, and should be relatively robust to any larger market perturbations.

Where do you see Kuflink in 3 years?

We currently have [a] positive outlook for the next three years, even in the face of uncertainty in the marketplace. Our trends show that there is a steady increase in loan applications alongside growing demand from investors for lending opportunities.

We also have plans to continue the work reinvigorating local communities around Gravesend and across the UK through the Kuflink Foundation. We hope to expand our charity and community work, which currently includes sponsorship of Ebbsfleet United, work with Kent County Council, and charities such as Age UK.

You have one wish, that the regulator would fulfil. What is your wish?

We work very closely alongside the regulator and are satisfied by their requirements. Our platform is fully functional within the current rules, and we find that these are more than sufficient for our platform to run smoothly, fairly, and profitably.

P2P-Banking.com thanks Narinder Khattoare for the interview.

Interview with Kristjan Koik, CEO of Flender

Flender launched a year ago. What did you achieve since launch?

  1. We have funded c. 1,300,000 EUR deals through our platform and we are proud that our defaults have remained at 0%.
  2. We have just finished equity fund raise where we raised successfully 800,000 EUR from world’s biggest VC Enterprise Ireland and private investors.
  3. We have strengthened our credit team with head of credit Colin Barry who came from AIB Bank and David McNamara ex director of Merrill Lynch International Bank. David has joined our credit committee and board of directors. This all means that our lenders can be assured that Flender has best in class underwriting practices.
  4. Following due diligence, Price Waterhouse Coopers is heading our debt raise from institutional finance providers.

We offer very attractive 10-11.5% interest rate to our lenders. Current default rate is 0% and our world class credit team will ensure great returns to our lenders.

You now want to raise a 50M Euro debt package. What will that be used for?

Funds will allow:

  1. Accelerate funding of the deals on our pipeline
  2. Loans on our marketplace will get funded quicker
  3. Offer bigger variety of credit options to borrowers such as higher ticket loans and property backed peer to peer loans

Can you please give details about the planned launch of property finance loans?

Our target market will be property developers and builders looking for working capital towards last phases of construction. Target loan size is 250,000-750,000 EUR.

Kristjan KoikHow will these loans be secured?

Loans will be secured against 1st legal charge on the property

What interest rates can investors expect on the property loans?

8-10%

When will we see the first property loan listed on the marketplace?

We are aiming for May 2018

You recently repaid a convertible loan. Why did you decide to repay that loan rather than convert this into equity stakes in Flender?

This was condition of our new equity investor. Investment allowed us to repay our loan participants with very generous 12% return.

Flender holds permission to lend in the UK. How are your plans progressing to offer loans in the UK market?

Our plan is to expand and grow our brand in Ireland. We will review our launch plan for the UK towards end of this year.

What are the main challenges in growing the business right now?

Now that our platform and model have been proven then our goal is to scale up. We would need to grow both the number of retail lenders and involve institutional finance for this.

We welcome your readers to participate in campaigns on our marketplace.

Can you share some demographics on your (retail) investor base?

  • Ireland 58.41%
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 14.86%
  • Germany 13.74%

You have one wish that the regulator fulfils for you. What is your wish?

We would welcome EU wide regulatory framework for p2p platforms.

P2P-Banking.com thanks Kristjan Koik for the interview.