Finterview: Robo Cash
Time for another Fintech Finterview. I talked to Sergey Sedow CEO and Founder of Robocash. Robocash is a p2p Credit platform. You can earn money from consumer credits in Spain, Russia and Kazakhstan
Please describe your company and product
Robo.cash is an investment company that is included into an international financial holding which started its work in Russia 7 years ago. So currently the holding comprises four successfully working affiliated credit companies in Spain (Prestamer.es), Russia (Zaymer.ru, FinTerra) and Kazakhstan (Zaimer.kz) and the P2P-investment service Robo.cash. The credit companies are represented by the high-tech automated online services and well-developed offline net that issues PDL-, Installment and Secured loans and has more than 2 million clients. As for Robo.cash, it is an investment platform which is based on a “peer-to-portfolio” model and operates within the European Union. By the end of 2016 the whole team of the holding had 900 employees and the actual number has already reached to more than 1100 employees in total.
Why did you start your business?
Robo.cash has become a logical step in the development of the financial holding. In 2015 we started developing international markets by having set up a credit company in Kazakhstan which has appeared to be a great success. There was an immense increase of loans issued to new customers and we realised that an extra funding was needed. Initially, we were intended to attract international financial funds. However, due to the unstable state of relations between the European and Russian financial markets at that time, there appeared an idea to proceed to the European P2P market which turned out to be the best decision. To be mentioned is the fact we decided not to pursue the traditional model and preferred the “peer-to-portfolio” model to attract investments not to a single loan but to the whole company portfolio. And that is how we came to the idea of an investment platform that will attract funds to the credit companies. To be said is the chosen direction has proved its efficiency.
What customer problem will you solve? Your main USP?
The most significant point about the platform is the full automatization saving time of our investors. We understand perfectly well that personal participation in the investment process may take a great deal of time. Robo.cash investors do not take part directly in the process. They just set necessary parameters of investments and earn money. Additionally, there is the cutting edge automated scoring system excluding any human factor related risks which has been designed completely in-house by the own IT-team. Then, Robo.cash provides one of the highest interest rates in the market – up to 14% in average which is additionally supported by the complete buyback guarantee for all loans and a high turnover of assets that is possible due to the short terms of loans issued by the affiliated credit companies.
So briefly speaking, Robo.cash is a fully automated platform based on a “peer-to-portfolio” mode which helps investors to earn more in less time with a greater confidence about the money.
How is your startup financed? In what funding phase are you?
To start with, it should be mentioned that Robo.cash was not designed to make a profit. There has not been used any white label solution to create it. The key purpose of the platform is to attract funds to the affiliated credit companies. From that point of view, it is far more interesting to speak about the financing of the financial holding. Before Robo.cash, the group of companies was financed from its own funds completely, no third-party companies were involved. However, with the launch of Robo.cash, we have started to attract third party assets. As for the funding phase, currently, we attract funds into loans issued by the credit companies in Kazakhstan and Spain. In the nearest time, Russian loans will become available too. The platform is strengthening its positions in the P2P market. We consider expanding to the lending market of Mexico and the other Latin American countries. Of course, the exact information will be announced later when all the related issues are solved as we prefer not to rush into groundless statements. But we believe that investors of Robo.cash will find other lending markets to be provided quite attractive too.
Please describe your business model (You can use a canvas picture)
We have a quite simple business model: the credit companies issue loans and then pass them to the P2P platform Robo.cash that attracts investors in its turn. The size of interest rates we provide to our investors has become possible due to high credit interests in the market of the alternative lending where our loan originators operate.
Please tell us some facts about your team? Who are the founders and what are their skills?
The growth of the holding would be impossible without the reliable and professional proactive team we have succeeded to form. The team leaders are truly skilled professionals who are perfectly organizing the company work and always ready to support their employees. At the same time, our team is quite young as an average employee is 28 years old. And it is a real pleasure for me to work with all those people and to see the results of our mutual work.
As for me, I am a graduate of the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Science and have a PhD in Economics. In 2010 I became a co-founder of Finterra that is an offline network issuing microloans in Russia. Then in 2013 there was created an online lending Russian service Zaimer.ru and in 2015 there appeared an online Zaymer.kz and offline lending network in Kazakhstan. In 2016 we developed an online lending market of Spain with the launch of Prestamer.es and in the beginning of 2017 started the P2P platform Robo.cash.
Short answer: Disrupting banks or enabling banks?
Despite the fact that P2P-lending appeared as a disruption to banks and has a different target audience, there is a tendency of integration. Actually, it is quite possible that in the nearest future banks start implementing innovative features characteristic to the existing P2P-platforms and platforms cooperate with banks in order to implement better scoring technologies and provide better investments safety.
In what are you better than banks?
If we talk solely about Robo.cash, then automated processes and the higher interest rates should be considered. At the moment there is almost no news from banks about the increase of interests on investments so the alternative finance provides an investor with a great opportunity to diversify a portfolio and get a higher turnover of funds in short and medium terms. Then, in contrast to banks, we try to explain to our investors where to put the money in and what aspects of the P2P lending platforms be attentive to.
What are the biggest future challenges for banks and for your company?
To be mentioned are the analytics of massive big data and its integration with the taking traction Artificial Intelligence. Their implementation into day-to-day business processes could provide quite competitive advantages to any company. However, there is another point coming to light. The more data there is and the more control is surrendered to computers, the more seriously data safety risks should be taken. So one should consider the handling of cybersecurity risks too. For Robo.cash we have already implemented anti-fraud software solutions and improved identification processes.
The key point for us is to continue building innovations and new capabilities in order to be ready to handle successfully all the challenges, disruptions or innovations any moment they come in the future.
Are you satisfied with the progress of your startup? Are you on target?
Surely, we are satisfied with the progress achieved in a quite short period of time. More than 900 investors have joined the platform and 2 million Euro of investments have been attracted in six months since the start. The dynamics is remarkable and proves that we follow the right direction.
Any tips for people who like to start a fintech startup?
In order to get the startup to success, one should always keep the focus on the key aspects of the business. It is better to ignore the hype about other startups in the media but always consider existing trends, clients and customers’ needs in order to stay innovative and provide best solutions.
What are your plans and milestones for 2018?
To begin with, we are going to expand the list of countries we work with until the end of 2017. It is planned to start accepting dollar investments and develop markets outside the European continent next year. That will help us attract new opportunities and broaden our presence in the P2P-market. However, we will definitely stay attentive to comments of our investors in order to continue providing services of the highest quality as we do it now.
Additional Question: For what more private thing you would leave everything behind?
For my family definitely, but I think that in this particular case I would be unhappy too. The work is an essential part of my life and means as much for me as my family does. I am really passionate about what I am doing as much as being with my family.