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Graphic: How Fintech Attracts Fast Growing VC Investments

August 18th, 2014 by wiseclerk

The following graphic from Crunchbase illustrates that Fintech startup investments were the fastest growing sector for VC investments in July.

P2P Lending Service Investly Launched Today

August 14th, 2014 by wiseclerk

P2P lending service Investly launched today offering business loans to companies financed by both private and institutional investors. All investment opportunities offered have undergone a thorough pre-screening process including business plan validation, financial analysis as well as credit evaluation.

Once the requested loan amount is filled Investly uses an reverse auction with investors underbidding each other and lowering the interest rate for the business until the auction ends.

The first investment opportunity Investly has live is the chance to lend to Sepapaja OÜ, a blacksmith who is planning to use the investment to scale up up their business by purchasing a larger pneumatic hammer, lathe and various other tools. According to Stig Paju, the manager of Sepapaja OÜ, they decided to use the service because: ‘by using Investly we are able to enhance our production, widen our product portfolio and serve more clients. As a positive by-product, our investors will help us to spread the word and gain even more customers.’. The interest rate offered is 15% p.a., but may sink if investor demand is higher than the loan amount. The loan is rated credit grade A by Investly.

Investly is open to international investors from the European Union and Switzerland. I was able to test-drive the platform during the just ended closed alpha. Transfering money in via a SEPA transfer and bidding was fast and easy.

To accelerate the development of the service, Investly will be participating in the BusinessTech accelerator run by Startup Wise Guys – a technology accelerator with a global reach based in Tallinn, Estonia. Investly was chosen from among 150 applicants to part-take in the program alongside 10 other teams from all over the world. Over the next 3 months, they will go through an intensive mentoring, service development and marketing process; ending with investor days both in Tallinn, Estonia and London.

Siim Maivel, CEO of Investly told P2P-Banking.com:  ‘Building on the launch in Estonia, we have ambitious expansion plans with preparations under way to enter new markets, with the UK to follow later in the year.’.

Lendit Conference comes to Europe in November

August 7th, 2014 by wiseclerk

LendIt Europe will be held in London on November 17th, 2014. LendIt is the major conference for the p2p lending industry. I was not able to attend the event when it took place in the US in the past year, but I will certainly fly to London in November. The San Francisco event last autumn was attended by over 950 people.

LendIt Europe will be held at 155 Bishopsgate, a state of the art new conference venue in the heart of London’s financial district.

Registration is now open (use discount code wiseclerkvip on the payment page and you get a special 15% discount on the ticket price, which I obtained for readers of P2P-Banking.com). Earlybird price will end on Aug. 31st.

LendIt Europe will bring together the leaders and pioneers at the forefront of the p2p and online lending industry in Europe. In addition to the leading lending platforms, LendIt Europe is expected to draw institutional investors, financial analysts, private wealth managers, family offices, individual investors, and media representatives from across the globe. Agenda, speakers, and sponsors will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Europe is the birthplace of p2p lending and in many ways, it leads the world,” said Peter Renton, Co-Founder of LendIt and Founder of Lend Academy. “For this reason, we decided to create a European version of our popular LendIt Conference to bring the European leaders in our industry together so we can learn from each other.”

The one-day conference will feature keynotes from the CEOs of the leading UK platforms, as well as interactive panel sessions with leaders from across Europe. The Exhibit Hall will feature both new and established platforms as well as service providers, allowing attendees to get a complete snapshot of the industry. There will also be a pre-conference cocktail party held the night before at the Andaz Hotel on Liverpool Street.

International P2P Lending Services – Loan Volumes July 2014

August 4th, 2014 by wiseclerk

In July Prosper and the three big UK p2p lending services grew their volume further. On the other hand the smaller services had mixed results with some experiencing a decline in loan originations in July, probably due to the holiday season.  I do monitor development of p2p lending figures for many markets. Since I already have most of the data on file I can publish statistics on the monthly loan originations for selected p2p lending services.

Table: P2P Lending Volumes in July 2014. Source: own research
Note that volumes have been converted from local currency to Euro for the sake of comparison. Some figures are estimates/approximations.

Notice to p2p lending services not listed:
If you want to be included in this chart in future, please email the following figures on the first working day of a month: total loan volume originated since inception, loan volume originated in previous month, number of loans originated in previous month, average nominal interest rate of loans originated in previous month.

Ablrate – Invest in a P2P Loan With an Aircraft as Security

August 1st, 2014 by wiseclerk

Ablrate is a new p2p lending service that launched this month in the UK. Ablrate is short for asset backed lending rate, meaning each loan will be backed by an security. The management has long experience in aircraft financing and consequently the first loan on the platform is secured by an aircraft. This loan offers 10% interest p.a. (paid monthly).

International investors welcome

Ablrate is open to non-UK investors (except from the US). Investors are not charged a fee to lend. The minimum bid is 100 GBP (about 125 EUR). After I signed up I used Transferwise to transfer money to my Ablrate account to avoid high banking fees (instead of doing a direct bank wire since I know from experience that UK banks do deduct heavy fees on incoming international transfers).

The P2P Lending Marketplace

Ablrate will offer two types of loan listings. Fixed rate listings will close once the loan amount is fully funded (the first loan is a fixed rate offer). With auction offers the lenders will underbid each other with lower interest rates once the loan amount is reached until the auction term closes. Ablrate has a secondary market where investors will be able to buy and sell loan parts.


First loan listing. Comprehensive detail information is available on the platform after registration and authentication.

My first impression of the platform is good. Very much information is presented in the extensive FAQ, the lender brochure (see How It Works > For Investors > at bottom) and several videos which illustrate the process. I made my first bid and am now waiting on the loan request to fill for the next step. Read the rest of this entry »

German Crowdfunding Platform Bergfürst is a Bank Now

July 23rd, 2014 by wiseclerk

German crowdinvestment service Bergfürst announced yesterday that it has been granted a full bank license from German regulator Bafin. This status is not that frequently reached by new companies. In 2013 only 3 new companies were granted full bank licenses.

Bergfürst was launched in 2012 and featured a fully regulated exchange as USP from the start allowing investors to trade equity of funded companies with daily market prices fixed. Effectively Bergfürst allows companies to do a small IPO directly to the crowd. Since launch Bergfürst only did one funding – albeit a huge one – in the end of 2013, Urbanara raised 3 million Euro (about 4M US$). In September 2013 Volksbank Berlin became a shareholder of Bergfürst. Read the rest of this entry »

P2P Lending – Average nominal interest rates in Q2 2014

July 23rd, 2014 by wiseclerk

After looking on the p2p lending loan volumes, today I present an overview of average nominal interest rates for selected p2p lending services. As nominal interest rates are before fees they are easier to compare and an attempt otherwise would mean to list 2 rates for each marketplace (an APR for borrowers and a lender rate after fees). Of course nominal interest rates are in no way an indication to achievable lender yields as these are dependant – aside from fees -on defaults and recoveries occuring. Also on Wellesley actual lender interest rates are much lower than the quoted nominal rate.

What the chart does allow is to gauge the market segment the individual p2p lending marketplace concentrates on. But again this is only a first glance, for any further comparision any securities (like collateral, assets, or provision funds) have to be considered.

Table: P2P Lending nominal unweighted (*weighted) interest rates up to June 2014. Source: own research
Some figures are estimates/approximations.

Notice to p2p lending services not listed:
If you want to be included in this chart (or similar charts) in future, please email the following figures on the first working day of a month: total loan volume originated since inception, loan volume originated in previous month, number of loans originated in previous month, average nominal interest rate of loans originated in previous month.

Crowdcube Raises 1.2M from the Crowd and 3.8M from Balderton Capital

July 22nd, 2014 by wiseclerk

Today British crowdinvestment platform Crowdcube started pitching the crowd to raise 1.2 million GBP. This was on the same terms as the 3.8 million GBP it raises from Balderton Capital in this series B funding. The total raised is for 25.64% equity. This puts the valuation at about 19.5 million GBP. The pitch was funded  in a record 16 minutes by 142 investors. There was a minimum investment threshold of 1,000 GBP (and a maximum of 25K GBP) in this round.

Crowdcube launched in 2011 and has raised over 30 million GBP for more than 130 start-up, early stage and growth businesses. More than half of this finance has been secured in the first half of 2014. Crowdcube also succeeded to sign up international partners and now has a presence in seven countries: Brazil, Sweden, Dubai, Poland, Italy, Spain and New Zealand. I feel that Crowdcube has done tremendously well in terms of product development and building its market position.

Darren Westlake, CEO of Crowdcube commented: ‘We’re delighted to secure growth finance from such a renowned VC who will undoubtedly add tremendous value both strategically and operationally. We’ve built a pioneering and award-winning service over the last few years. This investment, alongside the crowd, puts us in an even stronger position to provide essential growth finance for businesses and inspire a new generation of investors.’

This round follows earlier rounds, where Crowdcube raised 320K GBP in Dec. 2011 (I invested a small amount during that round) and 1.5M GBP last year prompting Techcrunch to rightly state ‘Let no one accuse Crowdcube of not eating its own dog food‘. However I would expect a crowdinvestment platform to be a stellar role model in communication with its own investors and I feel there is lots of room for improvement there (especially when compared to some other equity crowdfunding pitches I invested in) as frequence and content of information provided has been sparse and I found the answers to my direct email queries to Crowdcube directors unsatisfying.

Funding Circle Raises 65M US$ Series D

July 17th, 2014 by wiseclerk

British p2p lending service Funding Circle raised 65 million US$ series D in a round led by Index Ventures with participation from existing investors, Accel Partners, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital. The new funding will be used to continue to fuel the company’s rapid global growth, expand product ranges and explore new international markets.

Today’s news follows Funding Circle’s record growth in both the US and UK markets over the past twelve months. The p2p lending marketplace is on track to lend 600 million US$ in 2014.

Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle said: “We are thrilled to welcome Bob to our board. His expertise and experience is unparalleled. This latest round of funding will fuel our global ambitions and power the next phase of our evolution – catering for the increase in demand we expect to see over the next 12 months. Our vision is to build a better financial world, helping more small businesses access finance and offering attractive returns to investors.”

This news comes less than a year after the previous 37 million US$ round. In total, Funding Circle has now raised $123 million in equity funding.

(Source: press release)

International P2P Lending Services – Loan Volumes June 2014

July 13th, 2014 by wiseclerk

June was another strong month for p2p lending services. Especially Prosper, Assetz Capital, Folk2Folk and Wellesley did grow their volume substantially. My estimate for the Lending Club number for June may be too high (I took the known figure of 1,006 million US$ loans issued in Q2 and subtracted my approximated numbers for April and May. But these April and May approximations may have been too low).  I do monitor development of p2p lending figures for many markets. Since I already have most of the data on file I can publish statistics on the monthly loan originations for selected p2p lending services.

Table: P2P Lending Volumes in June 2014. Source: own research
Note that volumes have been converted from local currency to Euro for the sake of comparison. Some figures are estimates/approximations.

Notice to p2p lending services not listed:
If you want to be included in this chart in future, please email the following figures on the first working day of a month: total loan volume originated since inception, loan volume originated in previous month, number of loans originated in previous month, average nominal interest rate of loans originated in previous month.