It's not about the stock markets.
Tell us about your journey with Lendbox so far.
For far too long, banks and financial services players have offered the retail investor tons of complicated investment options, but have kept the simplest one - and the golden goose - just for themselves; retail credit. This is the driving force behind the inception of Lendbox.
To take it up a notch, we’re launching our new investment platform soon - Per Annum, by Lendbox.
Is Per Annum different from Lendbox? Is it better than other investment options?
Per Annum is an offshoot of the original Lendbox platform. These are the ‘Crème de la Crème’ of debt investments, bundled together. Through this platform, our investors will be able to invest in the most creditworthy population of India - the top 2per cent. Our first offering is in partnership with Uni Cards, one of the hottest BNPL players in the Indian Fintech space right now.
By combining our strengths, we have managed to put heightened risk mitigants in place, and every transaction is transparent without exception.
‘Better’ is a relative term and changes person-to-person. It is definitely one of the most exciting opportunities for retail investors today.
Why are people moving towards such new age investments?
I have observed that in interactions with our investors over the last 6 years, one fact remains unchanged. Other than stable earnings, they crave diversity. Smart investors understand that the key to wealth is putting their eggs in many baskets. We built Per Annum at the very intersection of stability and diversity. To add to this, the scope for innovation in traditional investments like stocks and Mutual funds is limited. With the advent of direct MFs and discount brokerage platforms, there isn’t much left to disrupt in these industries. People want their investment portfolios to keep up with the ongoing fintech boom.
Who are your competitors? Not just in P2P, but in the Fintech community as well.
The new age Indian Wealthtech space is doing wonders. The brilliant folks at Grip invest, Strata and KredX are paving the way for Fintech start-ups. More than competition, they are all fellow disruptors and there is enough space in investors’ wallet shares for all of us to grow simultaneously. Rather than eat out of each other’s slices, there is scope to increase the size of the pie.
What would be your answer to someone who thinks ‘P2P investments are too risky’?
Finance is termed ‘personal’ for a reason. Investment is a very personal decision and I would never recommend anyone to invest in something they don’t understand – P2P, crypto or other new options out there. My advice is to start small - allocate 5 per cent of your portfolio to P2P and increase your exposure only if it works for you.
How do you choose whom to lend to? Tell us more about the kind of people who would take a loan through Lendbox.
We source borrowers organically and through B2B2C partnerships. They range from an NTC (New to credit) professional at a blue chip company, who won’t get a credit card from his bank since he doesn’t have sufficient ‘credit history’, to an MSME merchant who wants to withdraw his receivables two days in advance from his payment service provider. We have diverse offerings which will cost the borrower 10per cent p.a. to 24per cent p.a., depending on the risk category they fall into.
What does the future hold for Lendbox?
I strongly feel lending is the easiest investment option. The most lucrative lending products such as BNPL, digital loans and credit cards, receivable financing, working capital loans - are all still dominated by large institutions and hold tremendous earning potential. We want to be able to bring this opportunity to anyone who has Rs 50,000 to invest.
Ekmmeet Singh is the CEO of Lendbox.