25 Nov Member Spotlight: Lendahand
Lendahand is a Rotterdam-based online lending platform, aimed at SME’s in emerging markets, with interest, where people can invest money (starting at €50) with an annual return of 3-6%. Lendahand was founded in 2011 by former investment banker Peter Heijen. After having travelled to Bangladesh, India & Nepal, Peter realised that charity was not always that effective to fight poverty. Peter concluded that incentivising trade and employment is the best solution to make people self-sufficient on the long-term. However, for small business owners in many parts of the world access to capital is very limited. Small and middle-enterprises are too small to getting financed by local banks and often too big for microfinance. To include this middle-range, Lendahand bundles the small amounts of individual investors (crowdfunding) to issue affordable loans with mitigated risks. As a result, investors receive attractive yield and make real social impact. Lendahand has totally funded more than EUR 11 million, including almost 1400 entrepreneurs and creating over 2,200 jobs across the globe. Moreover, Lendahand recently was granted an EU-wide MiFID license and is now regulated by the Dutch Authority for Financial Markets (AFM).
Eduard Tee, CTO of Lendahand, unveils the powerful combination of technology and alternative finance: “Our platform consists of several campaigns all linked to one business project in which individuals can invest, starting from an amount of EUR 50. All projects are located in upcoming economies spread over three continents. Currently, we have ongoing projects in the Philippines, Colombia, Ghana, Mongolia, Zambia, Cambodia, Kenya and India. Every venture has an own unique story. Besides funding a chicken farm or pepper plantation, people are investing in a person, often with a family. Eventually a small amount creates benefits for a whole community. The selection and due diligence of all these businesses is conducted by a carefully maintained local partner network consisting of renowned financing entities with thorough knowledge of the local market.”
The team of Lendahand currently consists of 11 employees with solid backgrounds. Founder and CEO Peter Heijen worked at private bank Theodoor Gilissen and CFO Koen The, comes from Goldman Sachs. Besides the financial talent, CTO Eduard Tee (ex-Deloitte) and CMO Peter Stolze (ex-T-Mobile) are the main forces behind the sophisticated IT and Digital Marketing of Lendahand. Investing with Lendahand happens only online. Making an account is a question of minutes whereas the projects, financial conditions, yield, and duration are clearly presented on the website. After the selecting a project and this has reached the required amount of funding, the investment is sealed and ready to initiate. On average, the funding of a project takes only 5 days. Participants get repaid in equal parts every six months and receive on top of that a 3-6 percent return on an annual basis.
Eduard Tee: “We are unique in the sense that we have a profit-based business model offering financial return to our investors and generating social impact on a global scale at the same time. The agreements with our local partners have proved to be effective and thus far, have generated a very stable portfolio without any defaults yet. Together with our local partners we exercise quarterly audits primarily aimed at financial KPI’s. We also demand a measurable impact of every investment in line with our vision on a sustainable and inclusive economy around the world. Another unique feature of Lendahand is our digital strategy. As our customer interaction happens mainly online, we constantly try to improve the digital journey of our lenders using the latest analytic tools and exploring innovative resources with growth hacking.”
The concept of Lendahand shows how the untapped capital markets in emerging countries can be made accessible for individual foreign investors. Simultaneously, entrepreneurs around the world can get affordable funding that they would normally not have access to. Everybody wins. With a tech-driven approach and an EU MiFID-license, Lendahand has the potential to expand rapidly and probably will go live in other EU countries in the upcoming year.