In the current, turbulent context of the lending market, today we would like to share with you our recent interview with Edgars Mass, the CEO & Founder of Boldyield, a platform focused on asset-backed loans which I added to my portfolio last year and which I personally think it is one of the most interesting crowdlending companies to follow (and maybe join as investors) in this 2020… Enjoy!
ES – Spanish: Esta es la versión original en inglés, pero pulsa AQUÍ si prefieres leerla traducida automáticamente en español 😉
1. First of all, for all our readers who still don’t know about your platform, just briefly: What is Boldyield? how does it fit in the current lending market? and what do you offer to potential investors?
(EM – Boldyield) — BOLDYIELD is a P2B crowdlending marketplace focusing on operations guaranteed by real assets instead of diffuse buybacks and providing new investment proposals such as maritime assets, all managed by a solid team of proven experience in the business lending sector. We are offering investment opportunities in 3 reliable industries such as Maritime Transportation, Real Estate and Business project Financing within one place.
We have entered this market as we see a great potential in p2p business model as well as gaps in the current market situation – as more strict rules for qualifying to bank lending products, as lack of transparency in p2p industry, which we are trying to use by offering customised products and providing all the information about us and our projects from the very first day.
2. I really think a strong team is one of the key ingredients for a successful crowd-investing platform. One of the things that attracted me most in the beginning about Boldyield was the team you have put together, including Arturs, Aivars, Viktorija -a very friendly and well-known face many bloggers and investors remember from Grupeer- and of course yourself, Edgars, with 15+ years of banking / lending experience… How do you bring together this team? and what is the main role of each of you in daily operations?
(EM – Boldyield) — Indeed, the team is one of the most important success key drivers and I can admit that I was very lucky to find companions like this – passionate, experienced, reliable.
With Aivars and Arturs we already went through water and fire many times in previous professional experience and they always proved to be professionals of their business with a big capital letter.
With Victoria we met while working at Grupeer and I realized very soon – this is the energy, competence and promising spirit of Youth with which I would like to complete our team.
My background is banking and lending industries with experience in Large Corporates Management and Financing as well as Business Debt Restructuring in ’08-10 crisis; Thus, naturally embedded the approach to cautious analysis of received information, collecting it from different sources, making conclusions from the worst possible scenario method. There were many cases in bank-lending experience, when directly such activity in potential borrower and project analysis let us to avoid defaulted stories.
Arturs Sneiders is our man of law – Head of Legal. Arturs gained his experience while servicing legal entities for many years as well as actively working in the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia while preparing National Laws for Consolidating Latvia and European Union laws. Currently, he inspires a new generation of Maritime industry by holding courses in some Universities based in Latvia.
Aivars Ločmelis – Our Wisest Head – Board Advisor. He is not involved in daily business operations, however, he regularly supports us with wise, real and also different experience-based advice as he has extraordinary track-record in running the biggest companies in Baltics as well as being a bank co-owner a time ago.
And Victoria – our Magician of Marketing and Communication. Currently, she supports me in everyday duties, is responsible for investors support, everything related to marketing, positive atmosphere and creativity.
3. In the light of recent events with some high-yield platforms, and specially all concerns regarding to Estonian platform Kuetzal… What do you think about these events?, what differentiates Boldyield from these high risk platforms? And being a relatively new platform how do you think you can earn the trust of the investors?
(EM – Boldyield) — In terms of Kuetzal, I would say that this kind of final was expected, as the red flags were raised a good time before. I am sure the success or failure of any project depends on the team who is running it and its previous experience. If the team is lacking this experience – then there is a simple game of luck, which Kuetzal, unfortunately, lost.
The difference in case of BOLDYIELD – our business is not related to some start-up, too optimistic or even exotic industry/region financing. Instead BOLDYIELD itself and every selected Borrower company is led by responsible people, that use their best practice and knowledge to stand out of a majority.
4. Specifically about Due Diligence for each project, can you tell us a bit in detail how you choose each project, validate the borrower and in general terms protect the investor interests?
(EM – Boldyield) — Actually, each of our team members is more or less involved in the decision-making process. As for the financial part, I personally do the first credit analysis, research and consider every detail of available information and put together all due diligence material for a decision. Then together with the rest team members we are evaluating the project risk profile from the different sides, re-verifying all gathered info, then approving or declining the project funding application. For the additional external proof of financials and due diligence correctness I’m in touch with appropriate industry experts – from business owners up to previous bank-lending colleagues, having at least 10+ years of exclusive experience in the particular industry, therefore holding thorough and most updated industry data.
5. Regarding your asset-backed signature feature for all your projects, it is really interesting and quite a novelty the maritime, ship-backed, projects… Being something new in the European P2B lending market… what is the potential of these kind of maritime investments?, how safe they are -for example compared to property-backed loans?… would you say it is a good way of increasing diversification in a lending portfolio?
(EM – Boldyield) — Maritime lending indeed is very specialised, not as open as real estate, and more difficult to understand for a wide range of lenders. But still attractive to those, who take time to explore it, find the right option to diversify part of portfolio, as the maritime is global and fundamental industry of a whole world economy. 90% of all globally trading goods are moved by ships.
Compared to property backed loans it also has its ups and downs, yes, maybe sometimes even more than in real estate, but in general not directly correlated to the real estate sector. Thus, providing a good alternative to put some part of invested funds in another global, serious and long-term-sustainable industry.
In terms of investment security – shipping industry has similar asset registering order as in real estate – there are ship registers and every ship can be mortgaged just like a property. Also, several options for ship insurance are present – starting from general ship insurance policy, up to third party losses liability and freight loss insurance – altogether covers most of present risks similar to property business, leaving the risk-room at a market side.
As to market – we have targeted a niche in dry bulk Short Sea Shipping across Europe, which means entry level (project volume) is lower, adjusted to be closer to P2P industry average project volume, and also taken together with experienced partners, overall having acceptable risk/return ratio for investors. While banks are more and more cautious in their decisions because of previous negative history having a number of over-positive decisions, the room for alternative financing in the shipping sector is open wide enough.
6. During my months as an investor in Boldyield I see you put great emphasis in communication and customer service -the thank you cards for the first investors was a very nice touch- and it is also one of the things I value most about Boldyield… I also see you are hearing your community and will start making monthly interest payments a standard for all coming projects… what other features and improvements can we expect for the next months? And what are your plans and goals for 2020?
(EM – Boldyield) — A couple of years ago, some of the Latvian banks were “the one to watch” in terms of providing an excellent banking service in the whole of Europe. And as all of our team members had a banking experience, even Victoria, we know firsthand what a good banking service should be and will try to implement it at BOLDYIELD from the very beginning. Currently, for example, we are polishing the benefits of our VIP investment service, which we find to become a very competitive and unique service in the industry in terms of benefits, conditions and great customer experience.
7. Anything else you would like to share to the TodoCrowdlending.com audience?
(EM – Boldyield) — We would like to sincerely suggest everyone to be more serious and cautious in terms of choosing the platform and projects to invest in. Despite the fact that p2p lending stands for passive income, the auto-invest is not something that should be used when operating with an investment portfolio of thousands of euros, especially taking into account the latest industry events. There are several factors that is important to focus on:
1. Do Your own due diligence and look for additional information about the borrowers, sometimes even this is enough to conduct an opinion about its legitimacy;
2. Verify the people behind the platforms. In some cases, we find it strange that the members, who stated to be investment advisers (the position that is supposed to be the contact – oriented) has only 2 or 3 connections on Linkedin. Nowadays there is no problem to lend the money, the real challenges appear when this money should be collected back and here the overall experience, competence and the team ability to act in crisis situation is very crucial;
3. Do not be afraid to ask for additional updates of the projects that were financed some time ago, but there is still no information about what was done with Your funds. You as a direct owner of the claim right are allowed to require this information;
With all mentioned above, we truly believe that it is possible to avoid the recent events of repeating in near future.
In conclusion, we would like to thank all the investors that have already joined BOLDYIELD and wish to everyone profitable investment opportunities. Special thanks to Jesus and all todocrowdlending team for doing an impressive input in the development of alternative investment industry.