The Bulgarian peer-to-peer lending platform Klear has secured a €750K investment to further develop its business and products. In the next year, CEO Loic Le Pichoux expects the platform to grow three times in Bulgaria and start expanding in the region. Varengold, the German fintech centric bank that launched operations in Sofia last year, is the backer and receives 20% equity in the venture.
“Our ambition is to expand in Europe, focusing on Central and Eastern Europe. One of the positive sides of this partnership with Varengold Bank is that they have a banking license which can be passported in any EU country and that would facilitate our expansion,” tells us Pichoux.
Тhe P2P lending model allows individuals, companies, and funds to provide loans to borrowers. It’s 100% digital and anyone with some spare money could join as an investor if ready to take the risk. On the other end of the rope, the model often provides better conditions or at least a lower price for the borrowers. In the past three years close to €65.6M have been invested through the two major P2P lending platforms in Bulgaria – Klear and Iuvo.
The next level of Klear
Klear was founded in 2016 and as a registered financial institution in Bulgaria operates mostly on the local market. Since its launch €4.3.M have been invested through the platform. Around 1200 investors have backed close to 1000 loans. The company promises its investors returns between 4.7% and 7.7%.
Consumer credits for renovations, cars, and refinancing of other dues are the usual loans granted through the platform. Being a creditor itself, Klear faces the challenge of managing credit risk and choosing trustworthy borrowers, which could turn out to be a challenge for the fast growth of the business. The company charges fixed fees for its services. Le Pichoux sees the P2P lending rather as a saving instrument for its clients than as a mainstream one. In the next months, the company is planning to launch another product.
The fresh capital from Varengold, which comes in the form of equity and loan, will be used for marketing, product development and team growth on the one hand. On the other, Klear, also plans to grow its markets. “We should be three times bigger in Bulgaria in the next twelve months. From this point, we can start to expand in the region,” explains Pichoux. Prior to that investment, Klear received a €100K boost in 2016 and was named best fintech company in Bulgaria at the Central European Startup Award the following year.
Peer to peer lending is a growing segment part of the alternative financing market. In Europe in 2017, a volume of around €3.8B was invested through lending marketplaces. A total volume of €10.3B is expected in 2022 which corresponds to a threefold increase in volume over this period, aggregated data on Statista shows.
„Supporting the development of P2P lending platforms and fintech players like Klear is among the priorities of Varengold in Bulgaria and Southeastern Europe. The financial marketplaces are changing the paradigm of traditional lending instruments by offering more favorable conditions and easier access to financing for users,” Sergey Panteleev of Varengold Sofia comments on the deal.
In the past three years close to €65.6M have been invested through the two major P2P lending platforms in Bulgaria – Klear and Iuvo.