For growth: crowdlending for small and medium-sized businesses

Crowdfunding platform Voordegroei focuses on SMEs who need financing. The market is growing, but also needs to mature, according to co-founder Bart Vemer. Vemer states that crowdfunding is far from a hype. He sees a future for crowdlending, business loans that are financed by private individuals, he says in conversation with Hans Voorn during eFinancials

Crowdfunding platform Voordegroei focuses on SMEs who need financing. The market is growing, but also needs to mature, according to co-founder Bart Vemer.

Vemer states that crowdfunding is far from a hype. He sees a future for crowdlending, business loans that are financed by private individuals, he says in conversation with Hans Voorn during eFinancials. "It is a market that has been under development for a few years now and you see that it grows very fast, with fits and starts. We have to make sure that we make the market professional so that we get a nice growth bonus for it. "

This is done on the one hand by regulations from the AFM and Europe. On the other hand, many entrepreneurs still have cold feet, but in the coming years they will certainly discover the possibilities of crowdfunding, is the conviction of Vemer. "But the biggest difference is in the investors. We need to focus more on the pension funds and the investment funds. There is a lot more money. You get much larger volumes and then it becomes much better known. "

It raises the question whether it is still crowdfunding, if pension funds step into this form of loan. "Formally I always think that if I should mention something, we would do crowdlending, borrow or finance directly. Only we have the AFM in the Netherlands and we have decided that we are in the crowdfunding category, so in that respect we are a crowdfunding platform. "

Vemer sees four forms of crowdfunding: donations, reward-based, share swaps and crowd lending. "Dutch companies mainly focus on Dutch crowdfunding platforms. That is a sector in development. The moment we have made some steps you will see that there will be a lot more segmentation. We as Voordegroei for example only focus on corporate loans from companies that have existed for at least two years and need at least 250, 000 euros. Otherwise, Voordegroei is not your platform. "

Pension fund or individuals

How exactly does it work? Suppose a company needs 250, 000 euros. For the first time, growth in the stock of investors can be considered as eligible. "It may be that we have one pension fund or one asset manager. It may also be that it is a number of wealthy individuals that invest. Or a combination of these. We have a network of investors ready to work that way in a very easy way such a company can be found. "

The loan can be public, whereby everyone can respond, or directly. According to Vemer, Voordegroei meets an urgent need. "The SME has less and less opportunities to get his money from a bank. On the one hand, this has to do with regulations in response to the crisis and on the other hand you see that banks close more offices than open. It is becoming increasingly difficult for SMEs to borrow money from the bank so they have to go somewhere else. And for some companies that can in principle go to the bank, it is a marketing tool. "

Finally, Vemer has a number of recommendations for interested SMEs. "Make sure you know in time when you need financing. The good SMEs already know that they will need money in half a year. Make sure that you are informed by your accountant or in some other way about the possibilities and that you make a good financing mix. A mix can for example consist of a part at a bank, a part leasing, but also a part alternative via crowdfunding. "

This interview was included during eFinancials 2016, the event for the senior and middle management of banks, insurers, mortgage lenders, pension funds and other financial institutions.