Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in driving employment. However SMEs in emerging countries lack proper access to finance which limits their growth. Local banks think they are not worth their time, and at the same time they are too big for microfinance institutions. Providing financing opportunities to small companies with 5-100 employees can therefore have huge social impact (more jobs, less poverty), and it’s an excellent investment opportunity at the same time.
Lendahand is a Netherlands-based crowdfunding platform (see www.lendahand.com) that provides individuals the opportunity to finance SMEs in emerging economies at an attractive interest rate. These SMEs are carefully selected by experienced and solvent local partners, who are planted in the local community and willing to take the full credit risk to the SMEs. The risk for the lenders on our platform is therefore limited, while they receive an annual fixed interest rate of 3-4%, get social returns, and stay in control of how their money is used.
Snapshot of Lendahand
Lendahand was founded in 2011 and the platform went live in 2013. We are currently active in the Philippines and Colombia. There are currently more than 250 enthusiastic and loyal lenders on our platform. These lenders have funded 100+ small companies so far (for the amount of almost EUR 450,000) and so helped create around 200 jobs. Please find the growth chart in the Attachments.
Lendahand expects to do a total of EUR 650,000 this year. We are confident that more than EUR 30 million will be lent via our platform in 2018. By that time we will have 10-15 local partners around the world.
Lendahand currently earns an annual fee of 3-5% on the loan volumes.
Lendahand comprises of 4 people that are professionally keen and socially engaged. They have gained extensive work experience in financial services, banking, consulting/strategy and marketing.
Peter Heijen - Founder: a man with a mission. He founded Lendahand after a trip through Bangladesh where he noticed that entrepreneurs play a key role in reducing poverty in their surroundings but find it hard to grow due to lack of access to finance.
After his studies in Econometrics at Erasmus University Rotterdam he continuously worked in the financial sector. Amongst other things he managed a one billion euros long/short equity portfolio at one of the largest pension plans in the Netherlands.
Peter Stolze - Marketing: He studied Business Administration at Radboud Universtity Nijmegen. After working at Holland Consulting Group for six years he held various positions at T-Mobile, lastly at Corporate Strategy as advisor to the executive committee. After that he became responsible for the branding of Micro Credits at Cordaid.
Peter is very interested in new forms of development aid and sees an important role for social enterprises. He believes in stimulating self-reliance by providing fair loans.
Koen The - Finance: Koen has worked for several investment banks in London such as Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital. That was before he decided he wanted to belong to the group of people naïve enough to think they can change the world.
Through Lendahand he wants to give people the opportunity to get honest jobs so that they can provide for their children and have them enjoy education. His MsC in Econometrics comes in handy, just as the MBA that he obtained at UC Berkeley on a Fulbright scholarship.
Loes van Rheen - Business Development: Loes wants to prove that a healthy, profitable company can have a social impact. Loes has a masters in International Business Administration (TiasNimbas Business School, cum laude). After two years of financial consultancy at Ernst & Young she worked on the sustainability in the agricultural supply chain.
We have grown rapidly with a minimum in marketing efforts. We are now ready to shift gears and increase awareness of our unique and compelling offering. In order to facilitate growth we will make some important improvements to our online platform and make sure that we are able to provide loans in an African country by the end of this year.
We do not project exceptionally high revenues, but rather present realistic numbers. You will invest in a experienced and talented team that has an offering that has passed the proof of concept stage, and is able to deliver the revenues and returns as projected. We will deliver you financial and social returns!
Through our user-friendly online platform we offer individuals the opportunity to lend to successful small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging countries. One can select which companies to fund and start lending amounts as small as EUR 50. The lender receives a fixed annual interest rate which currently ranges between 3-4%. The loans have a maturity of 6-24 months and are repaid every 6 months.
We use a network of local partners for distribution of the loans. They are experts in the field of lending to small companies and financially stable. They also bear the credit risk to the SMEs, meaning that if a SME is not able to pay back, the local partner takes over the repayment obligation and makes sure that our lenders get repaid (plus interest) after all. The local partner keeps a provision on the balance sheet for that.
Once the loan has been paid off, the lender can choose to lend to another small company, or withdraw the money and have it transferred to his or her bank account.
The crowdfunding market in the Netherlands is growing rapidly: from €28mn in 2013 to an estimated €255mn in 2016. Lendahand expects to capture €6.5mn in 2016, a market share of 2.5%.
Our product appeals to both donators and investors/savers. The Dutch market of private donations for international aid is €450mn. The market for foreign investments by Dutch private investors is €50bn and private sustainable savings in the Netherlands amounts to €14bn. These numbers provide the framework that Lendahand operates in.
On the demand side there is a financing gap for SMEs in emerging countries of around €500bn. As far as we know Lendahand is the only online platform that focusses purely on financing SMEs in emerging countries.
Lendahand has a content based marketing strategy. We have defined 4 specific storylines which form the core ingredients for our PR activities, advertisements, blog posts, social media appearance and search strategy.
Lendahand intends to reach the public via the written media and online media. For example, recently articles were published in "Consumentengids”, “Libelle” and on “nuzakelijk.nl”. We publish 1 or 2 blogs each month discussing one of our storylines. Lendahand cooperates with a PR agency to reach the relevant media and we see social media as a very important channel to reach our target groups and build a committed community.
Traffic on our website is generated via Google and Facebook and links from crowdfunding websites. Lendahand aims to expand this strategy. Our online platform is designed to optimise conversion of traffic, retention of money, and winning share of wallet with existing customers. One of the next steps is to further improve the website in order to optimize conversion rates.
We are in advanced discussions with 3rd parties to gain access to their user base in lieu of a revenue share. At least one of such a strategic partnership will go live later this year. Moreover, we focus on the Dutch crowdfunding market for now but intend to do an international roll-out in 2015. Finally, we plan to attack the institutional market in the Netherlands, based on a carefully defined B2B strategy.
Lendahand was initially funded by a subsidy from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2011. A first equity seed round of €150,000 was closed in April 2014 with 5 angel investors. At the same time Lendahand took on debt financing (first tranche of €17,500 in April and a second tranche of €17,500 expected in October).
Lendahand still holds a healthy liquid position, but to accelerate growth, Lendahand is seeking for an additional €60,000. This capital will be used to improve the online platform, fund the marketing campaign, and find a new local partner.
Simultaneously, an employee pool of 2% will be created and current shareholders are invited to invest to maintain their stake (4 of which have indicated that they are willing to buy at the same valuation as the Symbid cooperation will purchase the shares).
The post-money valuation will be around €1.2mn, meaning that the Symbid cooperation will achieve a 5% stake in Lendahand.
We expect to generate €475,000 in revenues and be cashflow positive in 2018, when focussing on the Dutch crowdfunding market only. However, proven success enables us to execute an international roll-out which will have a significant positive impact on our top-line. Once we have the right product suite and pipeline of SMEs, we will also attack the institutional market. Both these growth strategies are not accounted for in our current figures. We will do so once there is more certainty of executing them, but for now these are basically free options.
Based on our projections we expect to deliver a 30-35% IRR to investors.