Nordic Venture Forum: Loanland

    Here’s the second startup in a run down of startups that I saw at the Nordic Venture Forum last week in the beautiful city of Copenhagen, Denmark. All the startups present at the forum were seeking either financing from the investors or partners for their business.

    Loanland (Sweden) – Loanland is a P2P marketplace for loans, offering customers & investors new financial opportunities.

    Loanland is the first P2P (social) lending site in Sweden, offering the Swedish market a new alternative to banks and credit institutes where you can decide your own terms & conditions. It is not only an alternative for people looking for a loan (borrowers) but also for anyone looking for investment opportunities ( lenders).

    Loanland claims to offer all of the following:

    • Letting the customer set her own terms
    • Direct access to the loan market
    • The best interest rate in the market for borrowers & lenders(!)
    • An alternative to banks, financial institutions, pawnshops and micro loans
    • A new type of investment

    The company is currently providing unsecured loans to the Swedish market. The Swedish market for unsecured loans to households amount to around 160 billion SEK (around 16 billion EUR or 20 billion USD) at present and with unsecured loans to SMEs the figure is about 500 billion SEK (around 50 billion EUR or 63 billion USD). The market has grown 15% annually during the last few years. Gartner Group has estimated the P2P lending to take 10 percent of the loan market by 2010.

    Loanland’s business model is based on a ‘reversed auction’ model, where the borrower creates a loan request  defining the loan amount, duration of the loan and the maximum interest rate, and then the potential lenders bid downwards on the interest rate. For this process to happen smoothly, Loanland provides the market place and assists with administrating the market, credit rating, loan agreement, reports, payments and claims. In effect, Loanland makes its money by taking a setup fee and a transaction fee from the conducted loan transactions.

    Loanland is using an open source platform that it has developed, automating most of the processes. The technology is based on Java, J2EE, MySQL, Tomcat, Spring and Hibernate. The platform and auction engine allows individual and automatic bidding, electronic signatures, integrated credit scoring and efficient payments.

    The company launched in December 2007 and has already over 10 000 members and 5 000 registered borrowers and lenders. They have 6 million SEK (600K EUR or 750K USD) deposited out of which 95 percent is lend out as loans. Quite significant number considering that the startup operates currently only in Sweden.

    This is exactly the right time to be a new type of financial service provider in the market when many of the economic underpinnings of the markets are tested and people are looking for alternatives for all the massive lehman brothers of the world. Loanland for its part is combining the financial industry with Web 2.0 and is allowing its customers to provide and impact content.

    Many of the facts and figures are from the good people at Nordic Venture Forum.