New VC round for Smava

German p2p lending Smava completed another financing round. The new capital raised comes from the VCs that already invested in earlier rounds.

Earlybird increased their investment from previously 39% of shares to now 56% and Neuhaus Partners increased their part from 12.5% of share to now 17%.

The original founders Alexander Artopé, Sebastian Rieschel and Eckart Vierkant now combined hold less than 8%.

Speculation is that the high customer acquisition costs (especially for borrowers) led to the need for another financing round. Estimates put the cost for borrower acquisition as high as 500 Euro. In certain customer acquisition partnerships, Smava pays the partner up to 1.3% of the loan amount (equals 650 Euro for a borrower with the maximum loan amount of 50,000 Euro). While Smava is growing, the growth rate has in the past months stopped to accelerate and is about 2 million Euro funded loan volume per month (chart).

A venture capitalist’s view on investing in peer to peer lending

When a VC talks about peer to peer lending he is not talking about achieving a good ROI by lending to borrowers. He is talking about the chances he sees in investing in the p2p lending company.

Paul Jozefak, Managing Partner at Neuhaus Partners, did just that as a side note in an interview he gave ReadWriteWeb. Neuhaus Partner invested in the second VC funding round of German six month ago.

In the interview Jozefak says, that:

  1. Smava is at the right time in the right place (current economic situation)
  2. he sees an upswing in lender and borrower interest; assesses that the model has proven itself
  3. Their competitors in the US are doing quite well and he expects that Prosper will resolve it’s issues with the SEC.

I agree with the first point, but in my view it is too early to judge whether the Smava model really has proven itself (even the oldest loans are only through two thirds of their loan term). And the last point, I find an optimistic assessment of the situation. One could say that Lending Club is doing well, but Prosper and Loanio are in a situation that could at least be described as challenging.

Smava raises 4 million Euro in second VC round

Smava, offering p2p lending in Germany, today successfully closed it’s second VC round. Earlybird and Neuhaus Partners invested 4 million Euro (approx 5.5 million US$). Earlybird did already invest 4 million Euro in Smava in the first round. Smava CEO Alexander Artopé announced that Smava will use the money for product development, marketing and internationalization.

Smava funded a loan volume of 535,000 Euro in September generating revenues (1percent origination fee) of 5,350 Euro plus an undisclosed amount (my estimate:<1,000 Euro) in commissions for insurance products.

The growth of the funded volumes per month can be seen in this chart.