Lenndy with new desing and some changes

Last weekend Lenndy’s revised website went live. Further to a new design (which I like and is better to read then before) some process and handling changes were implemented

What’s new

1) The sites performance and speed was increased
2) Interest starts to accrue after bid, not on completion of the loan
3) Now we can filter the marketplace and our portfolio
4) A lean account statement is available
5) More stats are available

There is more to come

SEPA payments will be live from mid October, so we can send money directly to Lenndy. We can save us the detour through paysera. If we are lucky we should get an autoinvest functionality until the end of 2017. If they then can manage to quit these daily emails for new projects, then I will be really happy.

Credital Verslui, a new loan originator

Simultaneously with the design update a new loan originator “Credital Verslui” has been introduced. Verslui offers business loans to lithunian businesses, which are operative for at least two years. Credital Verslui has been operating since 2016 and has offered more then 600 loans so far. Lenndy will only place loans on the marketplace which already paid at least two installements punctually. There are other due dilligence measures and we receive personal guarantees from Credital Verslui’s owners. What those guarantees are worth we will be finding out only in case where we need to rely on them. What I really like is the fact that Lenndy is in full control of the originators paysera account, where the repayments from the borrowers will be added directly from the borrowers. There is explicitly no buyback guarantee involved with these loans. Buyback is offered at the moment for some invoice financing and car loans (not originated from Credital Verslui, you can see if there is a buyback guarantee when you check out the project and click on collateral).

This is it for the moment, as anytime if there are some questions, just post them here.

Grupeer to offer new loan type at 15% with buyback

Maybe you asked yourself if I am nuts or not when I put Grupeer on the second place of my top 10. Well, at that point I already knew about the new loans which will pe put on the platform beginning next Tuesday. This and the other points which are in favour for the platform had some influence on my decision. Too bad that they now introduced their new loans in a bad way. If we are honest, who has understood that mechanism from that short email? Some weeks ago I was approached from one of their representatives who wanted to get my opinion on these loans and if they are suitable. It told them yes, but make sure you explain the mechanism completely in a transparent way. I guess they failed on that one. One reason might be that Grupeer wanted to be the first mover as I know there is at least one platform who is developing such a structur as well.

A scheme of the new loans

For a better understanding I have a scheme of the new loan for you, which should clarify the structure a little bit. The dashed line represents the border between the EU and Russia. There are several parties involved which does not make it easier. Another crunchpoint is that we have capital movements between the EU and Russia, and we do not know at this point how the authorities will react to that. Imagine it like this: You have two closed systems (EU payment system and the Russian on the other side). No there will be a connection established by both with entry and exit points. On these points the authorities monitor all transactions. As the relationship between the EU and Russia saw better days in the past I can envision that there is someone watching. This is one reason why (amongst others) that we will see weekly loan volume from 30 to 40k in the beginning. If all goes well, this figure can easily be multipled.

Conclusion

Be aware that this represents a new type of loan from a EU entity to Russian SME’s, where several parties between two countries are involved. The whole thing is untested and if it goes sideways I guess it will be difficult to retrieve the funds, and it will take some time. 15 percent yield don’t come without risk, as there is no free lunch 😉 Follow me to register with Grupeer

Monestro – Estonian (and some finnish) consumer loans with more then 30% yield

Some months ago I started some investments with Monestro . Why haven’t I reported earlier about this platform? Well, that’s easy, there wasn’t much to tell ;). First things first. The marketplace only received its licence for loan intermediation last autumn, so the marketplace is active just for some months now. There are only a few loans and they get funded slowly. Some even don’t reach 100% and nowadays Monestro jumps in and funds the loan. Clearly a sign that investors and borrowers are missing, there is just too few at the moment. So it is great that Monestro helps with funding.

Monestros Vision

Monestro advertises with the more then 25 years of their team’s experience in the field of banking- and financial services. Based on their expert knowledge they would like to offer a lot of different financial services for private clients as well as sme’s. Further they want to become a force in the european loan business. So, the goals (vision) are defined, although somewhat vague in my opionion. Now we should also know how (strategy) they want to achieve their goals. Unfortunately that is not visible on their website. This is no problem, as long they have a plan in mind, what I believe they do. First thing I would make sure when opening a platform is that its functionality is given and all processes are lean and work fine. After that I would go on and check all texts on the page on their accurancy. I will ask them some questions about their strategy in the coming days and hopefully can share theses insights with you in the coming weeks.

Nice to know for investors

Firstly I beginn with investors fees, and if you read my blog regularly you know that I am no fan of investor fees. But in this case they are manageable. A withdrawal is charged with 40 Cent. As I don’t plan to do lots of withdrawals, this is ok with me and I guess it will be free at some point in the future when we have enough investors and borrowers. This was the same with Bondora back in the days. My alltime favorit is that three autoinvests are free and 5 Eurow will be charged for the 4th. Hopefully I will not need more then 3 😉 The Monestro people seem to be very innovativ (ironic). All in all the investor’s fees seem manageable. You can check the fee overview yourself here. Most fees apply only to borrowers.

Registration

For registration you need a scanned ID document, which has to be uploaded. Further you need to confirm your email, sign your user agreement online and validate your bank account with a depost. Everything known from other platforms and is done really quickly.

Invest, Yield and Delays

You can chose if you like to invest manually or via autoinvest, or of course do both. At the moment my bids are manual as I like to check the data before bidding. Somewhat tedious is that you have to confirm the manual bids via sms code. Interest rates above 30 percent are tempting, especially for Estonian loans. Usually Estonian loans offered on Estonian marketplaces tend to have good payment moral. This is what I can tell about my investments with a low delay rate. Some loans always pay a little bit late, but catch up in the following days. No loan is delayed for more then 30 days. I am excited to see how this will progress.

Conclusion

The platform needs more investors to fund the loans and of course more borrowers. I will ask the Monestro management some questions to see how they would like to achieve more growth. Until then I will bid the minimum of 10 Euro on loans which I like, which happen to be Estonian loans with high interest rates.

Just post your questions if any arise.

New swaper CEO and further news

Peteris Kisis was announced last week as new Swaper CEO. He takes over the function of Iveta Bruvele (founder), who remains as CEO of wandoo finance group. As I pointed several times Swaper is the platform for funding wandoo finance’s activities. After Swaper had it’s successful launch back in November 2016 and is running it does make sense that Iveta detaches from the daily business and focuses on the strategic development of the wandoo finance group (and therefor swaper as well). She explained her decision in a short chat to me and is thankful that she gets support to free up some air to focus on the other projects. In my eyes this is a consequent decision. Her successor is a p2p pro as he gained his experience at Twino.

Swaper was no part of my top 10 as of 30.06.2017

I excluded Swaper from my semi annual top 10 back in June, although it was part of the top 10 six months earlier. The reason was that I was a little upset that loans from Spain and Denmakr were announced some months ago and neither showed up nor were actively postponed. One day after publishing my top 10 there were the first Spaniards on the platfrom. I really felt mighty due to my blog ;). Seriously, it was just a coincidence. This is just an example that patience pays out if you stick to something. Danish loans are still not on the platform, so at least we have something to look forward to. Maybe they will be added tomorrow after this post 😉 Althouhg the platform does not rank in the top 10 at the moment, I have to clarify that it is still a good platform with nice yields (14% for VIP’s, invest more then 5k and you are VIP). A little downer is that there is still to much demand over the available supply. My money is invested most of the times, but it sometimes happens that there is a litte cash balance over night. This is manageable as you might calculate it this way (14% x 0.9 = 12.6%) given 10 percent permanent liquidity (which is far off, 1% is much closer). If we compund the interest, we go over 13 percent easily (0.126^12). Register with Swaper here.

New “mobile” or app design

Ok, the design is not new at all, as it was released June 1st. Swaper always emphasises that their investors want mobile and app solutions, and this has been implemented with the new release. Everything is constructed for the mobile and app world. I do not really like that I have to swish on my desktop as I am viewing a mobile version 😉 But this is manageable as I don’t have to log in often to my account and do something.

Have a nice day. Post if you want to comment

An interview with homegrown, an UK based property development platform

I got to know homegrown during their pitch at seedrs a while ago. I took the opportunity to ask them some questions. By the way, minimum investment is GBP 500. (I will provide a referral link which pays new sign ups GBP 50 after their first investments in a few days).

1) Could you tell me a little bit about the story behind Homegrown? When and by whom was the idea born to create a crowdfunding platform?

We are a property development crowdfunding platform, focused on investments in large-scale, UK construction projects by established developers who have a successful track record of delivering on time and budget.
After a number of years of working in & around the real estate sector, I founded Homegrown in 2015 to address a fundamental imbalance in the UK residential development market. That is:
We need to build more homes in the UK
SME developers want to build more homes but don’t have enough equity to fund the developments; and
Investors are actively looking for ways to invest their money to access better returns

We are completely focused on getting the best return for our clients and target returns of up to 16% p.a. with a typical project turnaround of 2 years. To date we have funded 4 developments in London in 6 rounds, with a total gross development value (GDV) of more than £130m.
Despite having only launched last year, we were finalists for the 2017 Crowdfunding Platform of the Year Award. This was fantastic recognition of our innovative model and early growth as a platform.
Prior to founding Homegrown I was formerly a Chartered Accountant and Associate Director at PwC and I have spent more than 10 years working in Real Estate and Advisory and actively investing in property.

2) The crowdfunding market has gained traction during the last couple of years, do you think this will persist? Do you think there will be a consolidation amongst platforms?

Yes, I believe you will see the crowdfunding market continue to grow as the platforms increase in size and experience which in turn will attract a more mainstream investor. The property development model is still relatively new in the UK, although well established in other markets like the US, but is growing rapidly. We recognised the need in the UK and were the first crowdfunding platform specialised in property development. I expect the market to see some consolidation in future but probably not in the next few years.

3) You have raised some capital on Seedrs. Will this be the last round, or can interested investors expect more rounds in the future?

We were delighted with the success of our Seedrs campaign which was oversubscribed and reached nearly 200% of its original funding target with over 1 month to go. We have no plans to raise additional funding at the moment, but it is of course difficult to predict what might happen beyond this timeframe, we are completely focused on scaling up the success of the business. If we find the circumstances and opportunity presented in future, of course we would consider additional investment if required to propel us further.

4) There are already many other crowdfunding platforms in the real estate segment. Why is Homegrown better or how is it different? Maybe you could elaborate a little bit about your business model.

Homegrown is the first crowdfunding platform in the UK specialised in property development investment. This means that for the first time, investors have access to exceptional property development projects, at a low entry price and have the potential to make attractive returns generated from construction, rather than speculating on future house price growth. This is particularly attractive currently in a relatively flat housing market and with political support for housebuilding. These opportunities were previously only available to high net worth investors.
Homegrown is an independent, FCA regulated platform which offers pre-vetted investment opportunities in residential and mixed-use developments, in areas with a high demand for housing, predominately in London and the South-East. Only projects that meet the strict investment criteria are made available on the platform and projects are often structured so that investments are made alongside banks and other professional investors for added assurance.

5) What can we expect in the next weeks from Homegrown? What are your short-term goals?

We have some fantastic projects in our pipeline so we are currently very focused on launching these projects on to the site over the next few months. We have experienced a huge increase in registrations because of positive PR coverage and we expect to see that continue.

We are seeing buy-to-let investors moving out of the market in 2017 and seeking alternative real estate investments, following weaker rental yields, after a long period of house price inflation and the UK government’s recent buy-to-let tax changes. But, fundamentally we are still not building enough homes in the UK and the supply/demand imbalance, particularly in areas like London and the South East remains. Homegrown is perfectly positioned to address that problem.
We strongly believe that a lack of equity finance is one of the biggest reasons that mid-sized developers are not able to build more homes and property development crowdfunding has the potential to make a positive contribution to the availability and affordability of housing in the UK. This provides the impetus for us the ramp up our efforts to grow our business in the short term.

6) When do you expect break even?

We expect to breakeven and be cash generative by the start of year 2. Given the backgrounds of the founding team, we pride ourselves on prudent financial management and operational control.

7) Is there anything else you would like to let know my readers?

We have really gone from strength to strength, since launch we focused on obtaining direct authorisation from the FCA and building a market-leading platform. Since then we have been focused securing the funding the business needs to grow.
Our last development project in Hackney Downs, was sold out the day after it was launched. This was our largest and fastest raise to date and is clearly positive affirmation of our model from investors, so watch this space…

Bulkestate – an update and some answers

Do you kow that? You discover something new and you need to know as much as possible about it? This happens to me with p2p platforms (amongst some other things). At the moment I am engageing myself with Bulkestate. Some time ago I introduced Bulkestate to you. Some questions still remained open and some of the circumstances were not entirely clear to me. For example see the below project with the very low ltv and still yielding 13.4 percent? Well, I tried to get answers and clarification.

Residential property in Jurmala (bathing resort in Latvia)

The project is so far invested slightly over 50 percent and is open for new investments until Wednesday. No worries, the project will be financed in the end, as Bulkestate has a network of big hitters which will jump in. If you would like to profit from 13.4 percent yield together with a really low ltv, so then you should hurry up. Zur Register here (top right corner click on login and then on the lower band of the pop up choose register as new investor). I asked them why a project with such a low ltv still can yield more then 13 percent. I did not get why a solid borrower would do such thing as he clearly could better rates at a bank. The answer was that it is not that easy with banks and they are very slow. Get a mortgage can take weeks. If a borrower has no history in borrowing then it seems hopeless to get a mortgage in Latvia. This should not be the case in this project. I could envision that this is somewhat like a bride loan. In any case Bulkestate has a direct claim, which is easily covered by the property even if the valuation was much too high. Ok, enough with searching for problems, I don’t see any….

Some questions I posed to the platform were answered by Kaspars

Could you tell me when and by whom the idea was created to found Bulkestate?

The idea was born in spring of 2015 and it was developed by Igors Puntuss and other colleagues that you can see on our website.

You started in 2016 with some projects and then it was very quit for some months, any special reason for that?

Yes, due to lack of legislation and support from Latvian institutions the company was moved to Estonia. Unfortunately, in Latvia there are no laws and regulation for crowdfunding companies. It took us couple months to get it sorted and now we’re able to move on. Estonian infrastructure and laws are better for this type of company and we see that it’s working more effective. (Input from p2phero: Estateguru and Crowdestate which operate in similar ways are registered in Estonia, whereas payday platforms mostly are in Latvia.)

What are your goals for the rest of 2017? And after that in 2018?

Our goal for 2017 is to launch our first bulkdeal and see how the market responds as it’s something new.

When it comes to investments, in general, we’d like to offer our investors only deals with attractive returns. We’ve noticed that many companies are raising funds for more properties but the quality and returns start to suffer. Our focus is on higher return properties that are attractive to our investors.

Getting attractive returns from property investments were mostly a possibility to a limited number of individual investors, we want to make it available to everyone.

Conclusion

Hopefully there are less questions now then before 😉 If not, just contact me. Register here (top right corner click on login and then on the lower band of the pop up choose register as new investor).

Housers – invest in Spanish and Italian property

Recently I discovered a new platform: Housers (register with that link and get 25 Euro cashback, if you invest at least 50 Euro), which enables you to invest in Spanish and Italian property. Investing is open to everybody, who is at least 18 years old, and companies. No country is excluded. To register you need an identification (residents outside the EU need 2 ID docs..) which you need to upload. You have to answer a lot of questions about your personal situation, but you can go through very quickly. I guess these are special requirements from the Spanish FCA, under which the platform is authorized (special crowdfunding licence).

Investing in Spanish property, really?

Yes, I asked myself the same question. The spanish real estate sector had a price decrease during the last decade. The cause (not the only one) were the no-holds-barred lending by banks, a recession of the global economy and the subprime crisis in the US. An article came into my mind which I read some zears ago. It was about Spanish bank lending without borders and that the economic development relied on lending itself. It looks like that during the boom years of increasing property prices the Spanish Bankers (or shall we call them in this context “banksters”?) advised their clients to increase their mortgages. This happened somewhat like this: “Hello Mister Fernandez, your property has increased it’s value at least by 25 percent since our last meeting two years ago. Your wife wants a new car for some years now, right? You can finance that car through an increase in your mortgage, you don’t need to spend a cent from your account. Mister Fernandez says that he will sleep over it and calls the banker the next day to confirm his intentions. Now the adviser begins with: “Mister Fernandez, I have an even better offer: 1.5 percent leasing for the car, and you can take the money from your mortgage increase to visit your brother in the USA”. Mister Fernandez thinks, well that’s my one and only treat, the last years were really fruitful and I got some raises. Ok, we do it like you proposed…. Sure, this is a fictional story, but that describes what happened during that time pretty close. If there are buyers in the market which pay higher property prices, the owners have jobs and can pay for their mortgage, all is good… until the house of cards blows up, and the prices decrease very sharply. This was just an anecdote, but it serves as a reminder that allegedly secure investments can bear risks as well.

Invest anyway?

The idea is worth considering. Firstly, at least I hope so, the banks have learnt their lesson and are more careful. Secondly, there were strucural advancements since the EURO crisis. Thirdly, the economy of Spain grew not bad during the last years and reaches about 3 percent at the moment. Fourthly (actually included in point 3), Spain profits from more tourism. The main reasons for that are political instability in other classic holday destinations. Macroeconomic indicators seem to be positiv, which should help property prices increase again. The square meter gains in value other indicators seem to have stabilized. Surely, some risks still exist, but basically I think the worst is over and I am going in with some investments.

Project types, minimal investment and secondary market

The minimal investment is set at 50 Euro per project. There are three types of projects: 1) short-term investments, where one is participating on the selling price and rent (if any). When the target sale price is met, the property will be sold. 2) More like a long time investment to participate from the value growth and rent. 3) Buy to sell a property.

There is a secondary market, but not for all investment types. Short-term investments are excluded. As of today I cannot tell how liquid the secondary market ist, but at least there is one 😉

Current projects and 25 Euro bonus for new investors

At the moment there are 4 spanish projects online, with expected returns of up to wobei 10%. New investors get 25 Euro (but only with this link) bonus. The bonus will be added shortly after you invested in your first project. The offer is only valid until October 31st 2017.

Conclusion

I have invested in 2 projects and will monitor in the next weeks. The platform is technically and visually good. My bank transfer needed 2 days to get cleared. Credit cards are accepted and you get 1% cashback for card deposits until 19th august. My expectations for the spanish real estate sector are positive and the platform convinced me.