Dealflow, scalability, and trust – a P2P crowdfunding startup is a 3 legged stool, without one of these, it risks a collapse. P2P crowdfunding has been a relatively recent phenomenon in Singapore, with the first platforms that are still operational having started in 2014/2015.
1. Dealflow – Gaining traction and proving the concept
Lining up a decent quality dealflow and attracting companies that are stable will be the main challenge that the platforms face. Two things are required for this, first, the interest rates of between 10% – 40% annualised need to decrease to become competitive with those of established financiers. Those rates are good to compensate yield hungry investors for the risk, but are difficult to sell to companies with a stable outlook that might be able to access bank financing at a lower interest rate.
Second, platforms need to increase the organic inbound leads and automate the onboarding of new clients. Hence, the challenge is to compensate investors adequately for riskier loans, while making the interest rate attractive enough for SMEs to see P2P Funders as a strong long-term partner, and to decrease the customer acquisition cost.
2. Scalability: Making the business viable in the long run
Once a platform has been able to implement the right processes, scalability is critical for the long term viability and also mostshareholders.
3. Trust: Ensuring stable operations
Lastly, Fintech is ultimately about offering a financial service and therefore, trust is paramount. Many Fintech companies are still young and have not established a track record. Becoming a player in the P2P Financing sector requires staying power and a sufficient amount of capital.
“Crowdfunding is a participant economy driven by the crowd. And yet, we do little to nothing to educate the crowd on how they can participate and why they would want to. We cannot expect our industry to grow without making participant education a priority. Otherwise, we may face the same fate as individual campaign creators who launch without engaging the crowd first: they don’t reach their goals.”
It is true that crowdfunding is underheard of. Most people think they are rewards, donations, equity, marketing, financing, securities law or entrepreneurship. What is crowdfunding then? The key to the financial success of it is the number of backers, not money raised. It is not about just an exercise of raising money but to bring awareness to the community of the product. There are two main sources of values that crowdfunding investors bring to tech entrepreneurs, firstly are raising awareness of the forthcoming products through social media and traditional word of mouth. Investors also served as an evangelist. Secondly, the investors also benefited from crowdfunding by not being shy of their opinion.
To break down the message and quality of meaning in crowdfunding, let’s look at social media and how crowdfunding is perceived. Almost all of the educational materials around crowdfunding are focused on the person launching the campaign and not on increasing awareness and participation from new communities of potential backers or investors. There are more rooms for backers to make crowdfunding successful. That’s aside from the fact that one of the cheapest and best educational tools for how to run a successful campaign and how to nurture relationships with backers and investors after the close of a campaign is to back other campaigns. But beyond the educational merits of backing campaigns prior to launching your own, there’s an even bigger reason we must focus our efforts on encouraging participation: impact. The majority of society feels distanced from their ability to impact larger economic forces. We don’t think that what we do can have impact – that our individual financial resources are too small to be influential.