The platform is breaking into South America via a partnership with Banco BMG. Lendico raised €20m in May for the purpose of (amongst other things) spurring on further international growth. This latest foray overseas is not the first time that the platform has branched out to another continent. Lendico has in the past been active in South Africa, but recently curtailed that activity.
Lendico CEO Dominik Steinkühler said of the Brazilian move:
“In Brazil we have won Banco BMG as a strong local partner. This allows us an optimal market entry. Time is ripe for a change on the loan markets to enable borrowers access to better products.”
Lendico’s international strategy has been somewhat volatile to date. The Germany-based platform began life offering consumer loans in 6 different countries, but recently threw in the towel on Spain, Poland and South Africa, owing to a reported dearth of quality lending opportunities. The word at the time of this repositioning was that Lendico would be refocusing its energies on core markets Germany, Austria and Holland.
But then the fresh €20m of capital was raised, courtesy of Rocket Internet, Access Industries, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and (we suspect) Arrowgrass Capital, and rumours started to circulate that Lendico was once again on the road to international expansion.
Lendico has also branched out in other ways over the past few months. The company began offering SME loans as well as consumer loans in March. This development came as something of a surprise, given the company’s close ties to fellow Rocket Internet offspring Zencap – a specialist, Germany-based, cross border SME lender (sound familiar?).
Lendico’s strategy to date may be perceived as a little “off-the-cuff”. Things didn’t work out in South Africa, Poland and Spain, so the platform pulled out. But an opportunity presents itself in Brazil, and thus the appetite for expansion returns. Ultimately, we shouldn’t be surprised by Lendico’s continued efforts to establish a seamless, global marketplace. Mr. Steinkühler has been as vocal as anybody in the peer-to-peer industry in his support of cross-border lending. To quote the Lendico boss himself:
“For every country we add to our cross-border investment portfolio we have to set up legal models and pricing schemes that are locally tailored and make sure to adhere to the different tax regimes. Different countries have different regulations that we have to follow. We believe however, that international cross-border lending is a vital precondition needed for the long-term success of online marketplaces. Offering cross-border investments has so far been one of our most important and gratifying strategic moves. We will continue to expand our horizons and extend our international lending capabilities.”
To summarise, Brazil is highly unlikely to be the last country to plug into the Lendico marketplace.