Interview with Alejandro Cosentino, CEO of Afluenta

What is Afluenta about?

Afluenta is a leading marketplace lending company in Latin America (LatAm) who connects creditworthy borrowers with investors, to create more convenient loans and better investment opportunities. Our advanced technology provides an innovative investment alternative for individuals and institutions lenders interested in getting better yields through investing in consumer loans without the traditional middleman.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

There are not many alternatives for investors across LatAm emerging markets. We believe that Afluenta is a truly new alternative with a potential high net yield and low volatility but being specific Afluenta provides:

  1. Better yields compared with traditional banking products since Afluenta removes banks, as intermediary, and allows to distribute the traditional banking spread between borrowers and lenders.
  2. It’s simple, secure and easy to understand and operate.
  3. There are many features on the platform to facilitate the use and trading fractional loans such as the Secondary Market which allow lenders to have liquidity.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

Although, compared with investment alternatives, there are plenty of choices to get a loan in our region, those alternatives are not cheaper, convenient or hassle free for borrowers so we designed a better loan processes and conditions to provide:

  1. Access to cheaper loans than those they can get in the traditional financial institutions
  2. Get loans faster. Applicants get a response about the loan admission in 20 seconds and the loan is funded in approximately 3 days so they get the money much faster.
  3. The entire process is hassle free. Potential borrowers just complete a short application and not are requested to provide physical information. 100% of the process is online.

Alejandro Cosentino, AfluentaWhat ROI can investors expect?

The net yield that investors can expect is, swapped in US dollars, an average of 21.5%. The loans are provided in local currency and always will be in local currencies no matter the country we will be operating in.

How did you start Afluenta? Is the company funded with venture capital?

Afluenta was born in 2010 but for many years I had it in mind since I had a great experience in financial services obtained running American Express in LatAm as well as in Santander in Argentina and worked in Tech industry also in LatAm. In 2011 we fund raised from an angel investor to develop our technological development and then we got the approval from the Argentinean National Securities Commission to launch our operation initially in Argentina in September 2012. Since then we have grown to a large number of loans people to people

Afluenta was initially funded with my savings, then we got two fund raising rounds, Angel one and Series A (both of them Argentinean investors). We are about to close our Series B with US VCs and international institutional investors to support the regional expansion process.

What were the main milestones since your launch in 2012?

We set the rules for this industry in Latin American region. We operate as Lending Club or Prosper do their business in US. Afluenta is the first authorized P2P marketplace in the region. We solved the regulatory and tax issues initially in Argentina and then in Peru using current legislation allowing us to run a marketplace lender without asking for new laws or changing current regulations. On the other side, our technology is world class and Afluenta developed innovative features for lenders to operate simple, faster and profitable such as secondary market, automate investing, CRM of collections among other and add 100% transparency of all the data in the investment platform. Continue reading

My Myelen Loan was Repaid Early

Last year I lent via to an entrepreneur in Mexico.

In the Myelen p2p microfinance concept the lender signs a contract with the MFI and the MFI takes the default risk of the individual borrowers. The lender carries the market risk that the MFI does not repay the loan. Furthermore at Myelen the MFI covers the currency risk – but for most lenders there is still a currency risk because the loan currency at Myelen is Czech Koruna (CZK).

My 5,000 CZK loan was repaid early by the Mexican MFI since it stopped accepting foreign currency loans to change its legal status. I was repaid 5,115 CZK the total amount plus the accrued interest. The initial 187.50 EUR invested brought back 196 EUR on my account after 7 month – not a bad results.

I did invest in this loan mainly to test the service, since Myelen was previously unknown to me. The experience was good – everything went smoothly. I was notified of the early repayment via email and the money arrived automatically in my bank account.

Note that there were no fees at all for me involved – neither banking fees nor any fees my Myelen.

Currently there are several Mexican loan offers listed on the platform. Offered interest rates range from 4 to 7.5 percent (depending on amount).

My First Myelen Microfinance Loan is a service allowing lenders to loan money to small entrepreneurs in developing countries. The portal is run by the Microfinance, a.s. company in Prague (Czech Republic).

Like at Kiva and MYC4 lenders can read profiles of borrowers. Currently Myelen has partnered with 4 MFIs in Mexico. In the Myelen concept the lender signs a contract with the MFI and the MFI takes the default risk of the individual borrowers.

The microfinance institution takes over the credit risks of individual borrowers and lowers them by geographical and sector diversification.

The lender carries the market risk that the MFI does not repay the loan. Furthermore at Myelen the MFI covers the currency risk – but for most lenders there is still a currency risk because the loan currency at Myelen is Czech Koruna (CZK).

The minimum loan amount is 5,000 CZK (approx. 260 US$). The loans are repaid annually (or quarterly for larger amounts). Lenders earn interst. The interest rate varies depending on the MFI and the amount loaned. Typical interest rates are 4 to6 percent (higher for large amounts).

My experience – my first loan via Myelen

I registered yesterday at The interface ia available in English and Czech. There is also a button to choose German language but clicking that only changes the navigation elements – the text is not translated to German. The sign up form asks for IBAN and SWIFT routing codes for the repayments. Since IBAN account numbers are currently only in use in Europe this limits Myelen to lenders from Europe.

Signing up went smoothly, but I had to wait a few hours for my validation email. Today I selected my first loan to fund. First I was puzzled how to get to the loan selection. To get there the user needs to click on the “Support” link in the upper right. There I could then use drop down menues or browse the individual profiles (currently about 30). I decided to loan 5,000 CZK to Julia Ramos Palafox who has a fruit and vegetables stand in Mexico. The MFI – CrediComún listed a 5% interest rate. I was given the choice of selecting an annual or quartely repayment. One further option is to give an interest free loan (like at Kiva). The next step is to accept the loan contract. The loan contract is now sent via email to the MFI which signs it. Continue reading