AltFi recently covered the launch of a new European peer-to-business lender – Investly. The Estonian-based platform is perhaps the only site to have attempted cross-border functionality from the very outset. That ambition in itself, not to mention an innovative range of products and powerful technological features, make Investly worth a closer look. We caught up with Siim Maivel - Founder and CEO of the platform - to learn more.
Could you give us a brief introduction to the platform?
Investly is a new crowdfinancing platform that enables SMBs to get a loan, by introducing these companies to investors from around the globe. On our platform we bring the latest technologies from established financial services to the crowdfunding scene, to provide SMBs the funding they need and investors a good return on their investment. Currently launched in Estonia we are now looking to add a second finance option by developing an invoice discounting function that will sit alongside the loan product on the platform.
What are the backgrounds of the management team members?
Our Group CEO Siim, is an economist with a banking background; specialising in building products for financial services.
Vishal is our CTO and over the last few years he has mostly focussed on Groovy and Grails development. Taking a number of high traffic applications from scratch through to production. He also has excellent experience with AWS infrastructure and other cloud based services.
The third member of our team is Ruth, who is an experienced strategy and marketing expert for Media and FinTech companies. Most recently she worked from concept to launch to successful exit with the financial planning tool OnTrees.
What are the benefits of entering the P2P market in Estonia?
Estonia is technologically one of the most advanced countries in Europe, with a dynamic financial sector and a highly adaptive culture. Investly is the first platform of its type to launch in Estonia, which offers a great opportunity for us to innovate and shape the market.
Tell us about your cross border approach - you're planning a launch in the UK I believe?
Investly’s strategy for European expansion has been planned and built from the outset. Crowdfinancing requires well-established public IT infrastructure and good quality credit agencies. We have identified several countries that have these conditions in our initial launch plan. Estonia is our first country followed by the UK with other markets under preparation for the coming year.
From which countries do you accept investors/borrowers?
Investly already has mostly EU investors lending on the platform. We can enable SMBs to borrow funds in markets we have launched in, currently Estonia and then in the UK when we launch later in the year.
What investment products does the platform offer? How do these products differentiate the platform from its competitors?
Unsecured business loans
Currently, financial relationships are stiff and one-sided. We intend to change that through continuous customer development to offer a more dynamic long-term relationship between the borrower and the lender.
By using the latest e-infrastructure and cloud based accounting systems, we believe that we can bring Amazon’s style efficiency gains to invoice finance. By doing that, we can bring invoice discounting to a much wider customer base.
What was your motivation for launching the platform?
Siim was working for a large bank and was shocked at how often they refused finance to small businesses that were actually credit worthy. After reading a report that stated that in Europe the number of businesses getting turned down for funding was actually two thirds of those applying, he felt motivated to look at what could be done to help these businesses get funding to grow.
Where do you see yourselves in a year's time?
In a year’s time we hope that we’ve had the chance to provide businesses with the vital funding they need to grow and succeed, therefore demonstrating that the best financial services are not exclusively for large corporations.