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The Alternative Finance Market in the Netherlands




By Guglielmo de Stefano on 28th January 2016


Overview

 

According to a recent report by Cambridge University and EY, the Netherlands ranked among the top five European countries in terms of volume of alternative finance transactions in 2014 with €78m, bested only by the UK (€2337m), France (€154m), Germany (€140m) and Sweden (€107). Exhibit 1 shows the total Dutch Alternative Finance Market size for the three-year period 2012-2014.                                      

Exhibit 1 - Total Dutch Alternative Finance Market size (2012-2014)  

Source: Moving Mainstream. The European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report (2015) 

 

Going into detail, the Netherlands is growing more quickly than the majority of countries in continental Europe in terms of P2P lending. 45% (€35m) of the total volume of €78m consists of P2P business lending – a 257% increase from 2013 when it was €18.2m.

 

Conversely, total transaction volume for equity based crowdfunding was €11.2m – representing growth of only 44% from 2013 when it was €6.2m. A breakdown of the Dutch Alternative Finance market in the three-year period 2012-2014 is as follows. 

 

 

Exhibit 2 - Breakdown of the Dutch Alternative Finance market (2012-2014)         

Source: Moving Mainstream. The European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report (2015) 

 

The remainder of this research contains a summary of the main crowdfunding and peer-to-peer platforms and a brief analysis of the current regulatory framework.

 

Summary of the main platforms

 

Main Equity Crowdfunding Platforms

 

Symbid. Founded in 2011, Symbid was established as an equity crowdfunding platform. The platform counts 817 propositions, 37,322 private investors, 51 professional investors and € 526,898,378 invested through the platform to date. In March 2015, Symbid launched also its solution to the SME funding problem by the name of “The Funding Network”. This new product gives entrepreneurs direct access to all forms of finance, while offering investors full transparency on the potential risks and returns of their portfolio.

 

Leapfunder. Founded in 2013, its main product is a convertible bond by the name of Leapfunder Note. After conversion the small shareholders will be bundled together into a Leapfunder Trust Office, which is a standard Dutch Trust Office (StAK). Minimum investment is set at €1,000.

 

Oneplanetcrowd. Founded in 2012, it counts more than 17,000 active investors and has raised over € 7,000,000 in funding, for 110 projects to date. The platform operates in Germany and the Netherlands, and is reportedly planning on expanding into other countries soon.

 

CrowdAboutNow. Founded in 2011, CrowdAboutNow is a Dutch equity crowdfunding platform. In the past six months, the average number of investors per campaign was 60 and the success ratio was 81%.

 

Main Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms

 

The first Dutch P2P lending platform to emerge on the market was Booper. Founded in 2007, it initially gained a lot of success, but it was temporarily shut down by the Authority of Financial Markets (AFM) after only a few months from inception, since it was operating without a regular licence.

 

After analysing Booper’s business model vis-à-vis the regulatory framework, the AFM decided Booper could continue under stricter conditions, but the platform turned out to be unsuccessful under these new constraints and went bankrupt in 2009.

 

New platforms started to emerge from the beginning of 2011. The main Dutch players are as follows.

 

Geldvoorelkaar.nl. Founded in 2011, Geldvoorelkaar has funded more than 825 projects, with a total sum of over €66m. Interest rates range from 4% to 9% depending on the risk score determined by the platform and all loans are being repaid in monthly instalments.

 

Lendahand. Founded in 2013, Lendahand is a Dutch peer-to-peer lending platform that focuses on offering meso-credit to entrepreneurs in emerging markets, including the likes of Colombia, the Philippines, Ghana, Zambia and Mongolia. Meso-credit is a kind of loan – usually relating to amounts of money ranging from €1,000 to €50,000 – that is neither satisfied by microfinance institutions nor by the banks (see exhibit below). 

 

Exhibit 3 – Explanation of Meso-credit           

Source: www.lendahand.nl

 

AltFi Data has tracked the combined cumulative lending volume of both Geldvoorelkaar and Lendahand (Jan 2010- Jan 2016), as exhibit 4 below illustrates. Only last year (Jan 2015 – Jan 2016), cumulative volumes for both platforms increased from €47,515,700 to €79,531,400 – a 67% year-on-year increase.

 

Exhibit 4 – P2P Netherlands cumulative lending volume (€m)

Source: www.lendahand.nl

 

Kapitaal Opmaat. Founded in August 2013, Kapitaal Opmaat has funded 99 projects since inception. Entrepreneurs can submit a project with a minimum financing amount of €25,000, and with a maximum amount of €500,000. The minimum investment is €100, while the maximum depends on whether the investor is an individual or not. Retail investors might invest a maximum of €40,000, whereas institutional investors have no maximum. Expected returns for investors range between 5.5% and 9.5% per year.

 

Collin Crowdfund. Collin Crowdfund’s website is not available in English, so we cannot provide our readers with a lot of detail. This platform is very similar to Kapitaal Opmaat. It offers loans with durations between 6 months and 10 years, a minimum amount of €50,000 – and a maximum amount of €2,500,000.

 

Regulatory Framework

 

There is no specific crowdfunding regulation in the Netherlands. Companies that offer financial products through online platforms are regulated based on existing laws. Investors are not allowed to invest in more than 100 projects, invest more than €20,000 in equity through an online platform, or invest more than €40,000 in debt. Projects that need more than €2.5m of funding require a prospectus.

 

The results of a survey conducted by Cambridge University about the perception of regulations in the Netherlands give us a flavour of what the general public think of the lack of specific local crowdfunding regulation. 42% of interviewed people believe that the existing regulation in the country is adequate and appropriate, whereas 19% think that the country does require a specific regulatory framework. The complete breakdown of results is as follows (Exhibit 5). 

 

Exhibit 5 - Perception of regulations in The Netherlands      

Source: Moving Mainstream. The European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report (2015) 

 

Conclusions

 

Equity crowdfunding and P2P lending are new sectors in the Netherlands and it will take time for awareness of these fundraising and investment mediums to grow. The Dutch Government seems to be promoting the space and to be really keen to tackle SME financing issues. The growth rate of the total alternative finance market from 2013 to 2014 was 59% and it will be interesting to examine the 2015 data, as soon as it becomes available.

 

With a more specific regulatory framework and more awareness around this innovative market, the Netherlands is likely to be able to compete with the top European players in the near future.

Comments

Cor Lokker

21 May 2016 11:08pm

Dear Sir, We would like to include our platform in your research. www.capitalcircle.nl CapitalCircle has been active since oktober 2015 and is focused mainly on franchise propositions. Their slogan is 'serious crowdfunding. Focus is on low risk projects. All projects come with a rating from CreditReform AG, a European Rating Agency registered by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).


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