Rocket Internet Sells Lendico to Arrowgrass

Rocket Internet has sold its majority stake in German startup Lendico to Arrowgrass. The German p2p lending marketplace Lendico was struggeling in the past months. It stopped the origination of consumer loans in Germany and the Netherlands. Investors complained about ongoing IT problems of the platform.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Arrowgrass, a UK hedge fund, was among the investors in Lendico’s 2015 round. At that time Arrowgrass obtained a 7% stake.

Another Rocket Internet backed German p2p lending startup, Zencap was sold to Funding Circle in 2015.

The German market is a tough market for p2p lending services to succeed. Few companies run a p2p lending marketplace model. One of the earliest players, Smava pivoted already in 2012 and now brokers bank loans.

German P2P Lending Market – Short News

We last reported on Lendico refocusing on SME loans instead of consumer loans in Germany. Sinces then there is more negative news. Sources say that Lendico was in talks with Spanish bank BBVA, but failed to close a financing deal. In December several employees left the company. Lendico said that these were normal fluctation and that the Lendico group has more than 100 employees.

Documents accessed by P2P-Banking.com show that the largest (by loan volume) German p2p lending marketplace Auxmoney made an operating loss of 13.1 million EUR in the year 2015 (compared to 8.48M loss in 2014). This was before receiving Series D funding in early 2016.

Funding Circle CE, Berlin, the German division of Funding Circle closed 2015 with an operating loss of 9.45 million EUR (compared to 2.83M loss in 2014).

Germany seems to be a very hard market for p2p lending companies to crack. Interest rate levels for consumer loans are very low compared to other markets. banks are competitive. And there is no significant amount of credit card debt that can be refinanced. P2P Lending marketplaces cannot offer better interest rates, they need to find other competitive advantages. And customer acquistion costs to win borrowers through online marketing channels are high in Germany.

While Lendico never published monthly origination volumes, Auxmoney and Funding Circle CE stopped making monthly figures available early in 2016. The latest publicly accessable figures were 10.6 million EUR new loan originations for Auxmoney in January 2016 (ranking in Top 6 of Europe’s marketplaces) and 0.8 million EUR for Funding Circle CE in June 2016.

German retail investor perception sentiment towards Lendico and Funding Circle CE is critical. Investors discuss whether Lendico is still active developing the business and rant (1,2) about information quality of the Funding Circle CE interface. Another sumup by a German investor on Funding Circle CE.

Funding Circle has said that it will use part of the funds of the recent 100M US$ round to consolidate its position. It will be interesting to see if this results in higher activity in Germany as they announced to concentrate their continental focus on the Netherlands and Germany while stopping to issue new loans in Spain.

Lendico Quietly Stops Origination of New Consumer Loans in German Market

Without any public announcement Lendico has stopped to originate new consumer loans in the German market sometime in the past weeks (months?). Instead it has embedded a loan application tool of Finanzcheck in the Lendico website and refers interested borrowers to this company. Lendico told inquiring investors that the company will focus on loans to businesses in Germany. As far as I know, Lendico has not published any recent figures on loan volume origination. On Dec. 7th, 2016 Rocket Internet SE published its financial report for the first half of 2016. There is a short mention that Rocket Internet SE has booked a ‘Wertminderungsaufwand’ (own translation: decline in value) of 19.482 million EUR for the corporate holding of Lendico.

Two months ago Lendico stopped issuing consumer loans in the Netherlands. Earlier the company stopped issuing new loans South Africa. The status of the Lendico operation in Austria seems unchanged to me – at least the website is unchanged and allows applications for consumer loans in Austria.

The only real visible development in the past months was the launch last week of the joint venture between Postfinance and Lendico in Switzerland.

UPDATED: An earlier version of this article had incorrect information about the status of Lendico Brazil

Lendico Stops Origination of Consumer Loans in the Dutch Market

Lendico announced today that it will stop originating new consumer loans in the Dutch market and focus on loans to companies.

Lendico biedt vanaf 1 november tijdelijk geen consumentenkrediet meer aan. … Vanaf 1 november kunnen alleen bedrijven nog een lening aanvragen. … Product details zakelijke lening:
Kredietbedrag: € 10.000 tot € 250.000
Rente vanaf 3,79%
Looptijd 6-60 maanden
Een aanvrager is gekwalificeerd als het bedrijf meer dan 2 jaar bestaat en in de afgelopen 2 jaar meer dan € 50.000 omzet had.
Waarom stoppen we tijdelijk?
Sinds we in september 2014 op de Nederlandse markt actief zijn hebben we een veelheid aan verschillende producten ontwikkeld die op de website of voor geselecteerde partners beschikbaar zijn. We willen ons productaanbod de komende maanden herijken en een beperkt aantal producten verder automatiseren en doorontwikkelen. Om dat in alle rust te doen, hebben we besloten om het consumentenkrediet volledig te pauzeren tot minstens januari 2017.

Lendico and PostFinance Launch Joint Venture in Switzerland

PostFinance one of the largest five retail banking institutions in Switzerland will partner with Lendico to launch joint venture Lendico Schweiz, which will facilitate loans to SMEs in Switzerland.

From the last quarter of 2016 onwards, the company will facilitate crowdfunding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Switzerland. It is entering the market in close collaboration with PostFinance, a subsidiary of postal carrier Schweizerische Post.

Together the partners would like to establish a new form of SME financing in Switzerland. The aim of the joint venture is to provide the numerous Swiss SMEs with a modern alternative to traditional bank financing. The two partners are contributing their complementary expertise in customer contact and the entire lending and repayment process to the joint venture.

Sources say PostFinance was barred by regulation to directly lend to SMEs and had to find a third party partner to enter this market.

‘With 110 years of experience in Swiss banking services and around three million customers, we can think of no better partner than PostFinance for our entry into the Swiss market. As part of the continued expansion of an international credit marketplace, this joint venture represents a significant step in our business development,’ says Dr Dominik Steinkühler, co-founder and managing director of Lendico.

Hansruedi Köng, CEO of PostFinance, is delighted to be able to join forces with Lendico, a partner which has established itself and enjoyed success internationally in a rapidly expanding industry. ‘Our vision for this cooperation is to take crowdlending in Switzerland from niche status to the mass market. The combination of Lendico’s innovative capacity and our structures in Switzerland offers the best conditions for Lendico Schweiz AG to become a market leader in the future.’

How Lendico Uses FinTecSystems to Streamline Borrower Application Process

In Germany p2p lending marketplace Lendico uses a solution offered by startup FintecSystems to simplify the borrower application process. Automatically accessing online banking data for the past 90 days of the applying borrower the service makes the postal submission of bank statements and certificates of salary via postal services redundant. This saves time and costs involved in the verification of the borrower’s loan application.

Co-Founder Christoph Samwer said: ‘The integration […] is an important step to offer our borrowers an application process rid of media discontinuity and to improve our risk assessment‘ (original quote in German, own translation).

Here is what FintecSystems says about their service:

…Our recently released new product called FintecSystems RISK enables lenders to obtain real time financial information about their customers using just their online banking account. This results in a more accurate and seamless loan application processes by enriching existing application processes or existing data.

With FinTecSystems RISK lenders can access up to 90 days of customer account activity. For lenders it is possible to derive certain information of interest from the account activity, e.g. using salary to carry out risk assessments. Also validating or completing financial information of the borrower to have a consistent data basis, while reducing the need for manual interaction efforts and costs for both parties.

With FinTecSystems RISK, we build a bridge between BigData and SmartData. Accurate information about a borrower enables the lender to be more effective with loan terms. Precise and quality data is more important than data quantity. Data quality is the crucial factor to establish an online financing process in Germany and Austria. Eliminating a manual finishing processing step for the lender…

Lendico Launches in Brazil

Lendico logoP2P Lending marketplace Lendico today announced the launch of its marketplace in Brazil.
In May Lendico closed a 20M round to grow the international offering of consumer and SME p2p loans. Now Lendico wants to develop the important Brasilian loan market.and has partnered with Banco BMG.

Lendico CEO Dominik Steinkühler, said: ‘In Brazil we have won Banco BMG as a strong local partner. This allows us an optimal market entry. Time is ripe for a change on the loan markets to enable borrowers access to better products’.

Marcelo Ciampolini, CEO Lendico Brazil added: ‘In the brazilian market banks are demanding enormous interest rates from borrowers. With our lean cost structure – 100% online, no branches and with innovative technology – we can hand over these cost advantages to the borrowers and offer then better terms. We offer a fast, burden free access to the best interest rates in the markets’. Continue reading

P2P Lending Service Lendico Raises 20M EUR From Rocket Internet and Other Investors

German P2P Lending Service Lendico raised 20M EUR fromLendico Logo Rocket Internet, Access Industries, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and a new investor. Lendico will use the raised capital to further develop the p2p loan and SME loan service and to invest in the marketplace technology and the team.

‘We have won another experienced strategic partner, who will join Lendico as a long term investor. Together we share the belief that in order to originate loans to consumers and businesses in future banks are no longer needed’, said Lendico CEO Dominik Steinkühler (own translation; original statement is in German language). ‘To have strong funding is an important strategic advantage in a fast growing market environment. Lendico will use the momentum and strengthen its position as a leading international marketplace lender. Together with our investors we will continue to work on breaking the predominance of banks and offer a better alternative to make loans to consumers and businesses.’ (own translation; original statement is in German language)

Oliver Samwer, CEO Rocket Internet SE stated: „We build Lendico as a digital alternative to banks, when it comes to more affordable and faster loans for businesses and consumers. In the Fintech sector we are at the begin of a development that we already experienced in E-Commerce: Incumbents are outpaced by new digital players. With Lendico we actively push ahead this process.’ (own translation; original statement is in German language)

Update: Lendico did not comment on the identity of the new investor. Unconfirmed sources say that the London hedge fund Arrowgrass Capital invested. Arrowgrass was founded in February 2008 and is already invested in Zopa.

Lendico Announces Large Influx of Institutional Capital – Repositions in some Markets

Lendico logoGerman p2p lending service Lendico announced yesterday that an unnamed international hedge fund and 2 german banks will invest over 100 million Euro in loans on the Lendico marketplaces. The management sees that as a mark of confidence. Lendico is committed to increase activities in its growing core markets and plans to expand the product into SME loans. Continue reading