On Friday the 7th of June, over 240 people among P2P platform representatives, P2P investors, and bloggers came together in Riga for the 1st edition of the European P2P Conference. This P2P Conference was certainly a memorable one! Taking place at the wonderfully unique RISEBA Architecture and Media Center H2O 6, this event brought together people from 24 nations representing the entire community to display just what makes P2P crowdlending so unique – its diversity, its cross-sectoral nature, and its collaborative spirit.
The event, hosting interesting keynote speakers, an array of informative presentations, and topped off with a fun evening and second-day entirely dedicated to networking opportunities.
All sessions of the conference focused on establishing communication channels and trust among the entire P2P community: P2P platforms, bloggers and investors as well as exchanging ideas about what the future holds in regards to the European P2P industry.
Personal P2P Conference Takeaway
Being the only Portuguese attending the P2P conference, I decided to start publishing the Savings4Freedom blog in my native language. Starting this month, all content will be made available in Portuguese. I hope with this decision to contribute to informing all Portuguese speaking countries that are looking to diversify their savings portfolios with fixed income assets.
Key Personal Notes & Breaking News – P2P Conference
These are the main news presented on stage or discussed in person during the P2P conference:
Why we are here? Key influencers shared their thoughts.
During this initial session, the participants had the chance to listen to and engage with key opinion leaders of the P2P crowdlending community, Lars Wrobbel and Kolja Barghoorn. It was a motivational chance to gain first-hand experience from these investors/influencers on stage.
Both shared the opinion that P2P crowdlending is:
- An investment – Be ready to lose your money;
- Just another asset class in their portfolios: they invest from 5 to 10% of their assets in P2P platforms, but I listen other investors sharing that their portfolios present 20 to 40% in P2P assets.
- Opening investment opportunities outside our own countries.
- Transparency is key. The more well-established platforms are actively answering strick regulations and sharing all relevant information with authorities, markets, and investors…
Banks, Bigtechs and bad debts – P2P industry under pressure
This was one of the most interesting sessions. Grupeer, DoFinance, Viventor, and ViaInvest representatives shared their thoughts about establishing their reputation, how the financial industry is answering the P2P crowdlending market growth and what will be the next steps to these P2P crowdlending platforms.
Grupeer – Becoming a digital bank
Vladislav Filimonov presented a very clear strategy for Grupeer to become a digital bank by acquiring an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license. This decision will not only answer all regulatory frameworks as it will bring independence from the traditional banking structures. Later I had the change to lunch with Valdislav and listen to his commitment towards establishing Grupeer as one of the leading P2P crowdlending platforms in Europe and an example to the entire industry.
Viventor – Partnerships with banks to increase securitization and guarantees
Viventor presented an alternative, deepening the partnerships in existence with banks towards increasing the securitization and guarantees offered to Viventor investors. This will lead towards banks offering their traditional guarantees to Viventor investors but also to decrease the finance costs of investors and borrowers.
DoFinance – Obtain insurance license to accept direct deposits without becoming a bank
Henrijs Jansons from DoFinance presented another path: working towards obtaining an insurance license, so it can receive transfers and manage assets directly without the strict need of obtaining a banking license. This seems like a middle ground approach.
ViaInvest – Not clear at all
Based on the answers from Eduards Lapkovskis, I was not able to understand what the future will be for ViaInvest. I was not impressed by his stage presence.
Mintos: New Product (Invest & Access), mobile APP by Q4 2019 and Banking License
Martins Sulte, Mintos CEO, shared the impressive story of the Baltics towards becoming the main hub of P2P leading platform development, but the most interesting information was:
Mintos New Product – Invest & Access
With Invest & Access, Mintos aims to offer a product that makes investing and withdrawing money quick and easy.
- You can create your portfolio just setting the amount;
- The returns equal the average Mintos platform interest rate;
- The new loans offered by the platform will be available to this product first, ahead of Auto Invest or manual investments;
- You can withdraw your money anytime due to the single marketplace among investors.
Mintos Mobile App
Martins announced that un the final quarter of 2019 Mintos will launch the mobile App so many investors are asking for. It was possible to test the beta version of the App at the Mintos both in the exhibitor’s area and I can share that it was very intuitive and easy to use. I’m really looking forward to it.
Mintos will become a digital bank: IBAN and Credit Card
The last but more relevant news shared by Martins is that Mintos is finalizing the process towards becoming a Digital Bank. This means that in the near future, Mintos investors will also be able to have an individual IBAN associated to them and well as being capable of using a Mintos credit card for their daily needs.
Interesting days ahead for the leading European P2P crowdlending platform.
Meeting and talking with P2P crowdlending platforms
One of the most interesting aspects of the conference was the possibility to meet in person team members of the P2P crowdfunding platforms in which I personally invest. I want to share my impressions on two particular conversations: Envestio and Kuetzal.
Envestio – A responsible company development approach
I was very curious to learn the reason why Envestio wasn’t among the exhibitors at the P2P conference. Being one of my Top P2P crowdlending platform choices, I was looking to meet and talk with the Envestio team. I was very happy to meet with Liene (Investment and Development Advisor) and Alesia (Senior Account Manager) that were kind enough to answer all my intrusive questions.
The highlights of the conversation:
- Envestio wants to focus its existing resources on its defined marketing channels. being the first P2P conference the team decided to participate as attendees to consider if they should allocate budget in a new edition;
- The Envestio product development team is currently ultimate an auto-invest feature to answer this number one investor demand, the release is expected for the end of the summer. The developer team is small and they don’t want to hire more to ensure a low burn-rate for the company;
- The Envestio team is aware of the demanding pressure from investors to have more projects available to invest. They are actively looking to establish partnerships to ensure that a growing number of high-quality projects becomes available, but they emphasized the importance of following all legal, economic and due diligence steps necessary to guarantee that the projects presented are viable and will be successful.
Kuetzal – Ambition to become a P2P crowdlending platform giant
Among the attendees was Alberts Cevers, CEO of Kuetzal. I was very satisfied to meet and talk with him more than once during the event. In my first iteration during the first day of the conference, Alberts was kind enough to listen to my personal feedback on the Kuetzal platform user experience, during the second day a more in dept and personal conversation happened.
The highlights of the conversation:
- Kuetzal wants to grow fast. The current high-interest rates aim in a transparent manner towards bringing a significant number of new investors to the platform;
- The existing 14 projects available in Kuetzal to invest demanded the analysis and evaluation of more than 400 projects. Alberts is really proud of the projects that are part of the investment portfolio of Kuetzal and offered a personal tour to visit individual projects and their promoters;
- Kuetzal is actively looking towards closing partnership deals that will allow more projects to join the platform and not exclusively from the Baltic nations. As in the case of Envestio, Alberts highlighted the importance of the due diligence steps necessary to guarantee that the projects are viable and will be successful;
- The Kuetzal product team will work to improve the dashboard and reporting sections of the platform to allow a higher level of control by the investors of all relevant information as well as to increase the details of every invested project.
Alberts is an ambitious and well-intended entrepreneur with an impressive wish to succeed. I only can wish him the best. I’m sure that I will keep in touch with him and follow closely Kuetzal progress.
P2P CONFERENCE OFFER: until July 31, new clients can benefit from an extra sign-up bonus. If you sign up and invest through my referral link, you will get a 0,5% cash back from all investments you make within the first 180 days. But when you register and add the promocode P2PCONFERENCE you will get a 15€ register bonus!
P2P Crowdlending Platforms Exhibitors
Many of the P2P crowdlending platforms I use were present at the P2P conference.
Some new platforms were present as well. I will check them closely over the next few weeks and share my feedback later.
Day 2 – Relaxing and Networking at Jip Marupite
On the second day of the conference, the P2P Conference offered a relaxing environment at JIP Mārupīte, a beautiful activity park with its own beach and lake just outside Riga.
It was the perfect opportunity to discuss investment strategies, portfolios and personal stories with other like-minded investors. A really great opportunity to learn and growth!
I want to highlight two good friends I made during the event:
- Mika Koivisto from Aloita Tasta, a leading blogger from Finland; and
- Carmen Corral from Invertir en Préstamos P2P, from Spain.
Thank you both for our pleasant conversations and for sharing experiences in P2P investments.
I’m sure this is just the first of many events that will focus on P2P crowdlending as the industry grows and more people become familiar with the offers to invest their savings.
Looking forward to continuing the conversations with the community and opening a new chapter in Portugal with the blog in Portuguese.
Do you want to Invest?
Check among the P2P crowdlending opportunities available on Savings4Freedom, always taking into consideration that all information is entirely based on my personal experience.