Flender is a social peer to peer lending network. The difference from other p2p platforms is that on Flender the borrowers and lenders often know each other. Flender makes it easy and professional for businesses to invite their customers, family and friends to participate in a loan and to earn decent interest rates from it, instead of the business borrowing and paying interest to a traditional bank. Oli Cavanagh founder of Flender explains more:
Can you describe Flender in a nutshell?
Flender is an innovative peer-to-peer platform for both businesses and consumers. It is currently live in Ireland and about to launch in the UK.
What is the difference between Flender and other p2p platforms?
Flender uses the social circles of borrowers in order create a new underwriting technique
which based on whether people who actually know a business or a person are also willing to lend to them. If so, then their loan is opened up to other lenders who don’t know the person or the business.
How does Flender position itself in this market?
The ‘F’ in Flender stands for Friend, and our approach is that friends, family and fans of the borrower are brought in first, which means that the interest rate demands of these lenders is usually lower than those demanded by lenders on other peer-to-peer platforms.
Flenders has a crowdfunding campign on Seeders, can you tell us more about the valuation, equity being and future expansion?
We raised £500,000 for 10% in our public crowdfunding round on Seedrs.com. See https://www.seedrs.com/flender We felt it was useful to do a public equity crowdfunding in order to show that the crowd work, which we were successful in demonstrating.
We plan to grow the company in multiple other markets across Europe and North America, and anticipate acquisition interest by either competitors or institutions within 5 years.
What tools will Flender offer to enable businesses to pitch their loans to family, friends and customers?
The entire process is very user friendly and self-service, meaning a loan application can be published as a campaign within 30 minutes. This compares very favourably to bank loan applications, which can take up to 25 hours of management time.
Will Flender perform due diligence on the businesses pitching their loans on Flender?
Yes, all businesses go through affordability and credit checks before being published. The loans are not given a rating but of course we have an additional level of underwriting from the friends and family / customer participation at the beginning of the funding campaign.
Does Flender offer loans across different Sectors?
Initially we focused on hospitality, now we have expanded to energy companies, construction companies, flower shops, clothes retailers, technology companies and more using the platform.
Who will be able to to access the loans listed?
In the beginning it is by invite only but borrowers have the option of putting their campaign on the public marketplace once they have raised a portion of the funds through their own social circles.
What default rates do you expect on Flender?
Ireland already has the lowest peer to peer default rates in Europe (less than 1%), and we anticipate our rate being even better because of our social circle underwriting model.
What is the expected ROI for investors?
Is Flender open to international investors?
Yes and we already have quite a few countries in Europe and outside Europe participating. We think this is because of the low default rates in Ireland making it very attractive to foreign investors.
You have been working on this project for two years, what drove you to keep at it every day until you reached the success you have today?
Belief in our USP and the enticing triple digit growth of the market.
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We thank Oli Cavanagh for the interview.