Having seen a market opportunity, Leo Tyndall came to WLCF with a vision to launch an Australian P2P lending platform that would focus on supply chain finance. With a legal background and significant financial sector experience, Leo had a clear vision for marketlend.com.au, and needed a tech partner to build and maintain his platform.
Leo had an idea for providing a revolving credit facility to borrowers on flexible terms, allowing them to facilitate preferential supplier payment terms. It would allow borrowers to negotiate terms and discounts.
Given the nature of Australia’s borrower finance market and the intricacies of the country’s financial regulatory system, Marketlend needed to work with innovative technology that allowed for investment in supply chain finance, or lines of credit, in order to offer a workable solution for Australian businesses.
The idea was to launch a site that would form a network of investors and borrowers who could benefit from transparent transactions, competitive rates and stable returns. The platform would enable “sophisticated and wholesale investors” to lend to SMEs directly and securely, and would initially be focused on domestic borrowers located in Australia, who work with both national and international suppliers. Businesses would pay an unutilised facility fee for funds available but not borrowed, and a utilised facility fee for funds on loan.
One of my key decision factors was that I needed a partner who would grow with me, enabling me to realise step increases in share capital, which would allow me to achieve favourable terms with investors. The team at WLCF have supported us throughout our fundraising stages.
The collaboration between Marketlend and White Label Crowdfunding combined vision, ideas, expertise and technological knowledge. Extensive communication, discussion and cooperation led to the successful creation and launch of marketlend.com.au.
The Marketlend project provided an enjoyable challenge for the WLCF team. Project Lead Manager Pawel Szewczyk launched the tasks and began the platform creation process.
At the beginning, he worked directly with Leo and his financial advisor on incorporating their business model into the Marketlend application.
Then, collaborating closely with Project Manager Evelyn, Pawel brought together other members of our international team to undertake the tasks required to build the platform and meet the various requirements.
There was a degree of complexity involved in the incorporation of the two loaned amounts: utilised funds and unutilised funds, and it was not possible to create the repayment schedule up front, as the team were working with dynamically-calculated daily interest for both types.
Marketlend’s financial advisor designed a business model, the team finalised the details, and we then developed bespoke logic for the platform; something which has now given the site a unique selling point.
Pawel and Evelyn spoke to the Marketlend team regularly, primarily via Skype, holding frequent conversations and meetings to review progress, understand specifications and make decisions.
This was one of the most demanding but also one of the most exciting projects I have had the pleasure to work on. It was great collaborating with Leo, and while some of the requirements presented tough challenges, I believe we worked well as a team to find and implement solutions.
Other challenges during the project included the integration of external credit decisioning engine, CreditWorks. We worked closely with their team and as a result were able to implement a solution that works smoothly for Marketlend and facilitates the pre-vetting of applications before they arrive. Processing repayments for all loans on a single day of the month also proved a challenge, as it put a strain on the server. To counteract this, we upgraded the database and refactored some of the processing logic to be optimised for improved performance.
Marketlend was successfully launched in 2014, and rapidly reached the impressive milestone of facilitating the lending of $10 million Australian dollars. The platform continues to function as an Australian peer-to-peer lending platform unlike any other in the market.
The Marketlend site creation process was both challenging and rewarding. The final product incorporates various features of many P2P platforms, including a secondary marketplace, an automated bidding mechanism and both capital and interest repayment functions. Third-party integrations with applications such as Zoho CRM mean that customer data is shared with another CRM tool.
Borrowers have a great degree of flexibility, as they can make regular repayments of both interest and capital; just interest; or just capital, as well as partial repayments. By eliminating the middle step in a borrowing process, lenders are achieving higher returns from their investments and borrowers are paying less interest from both their utilised and unutilised credit lines. The Secondary Marketplace is then in place for lenders to sell investments on to others.
As with most major software projects, the stakes are high and customers are sensitive to the performance of their platform. It is highly rewarding to see the growth of the Marketlend business; we are excited about the platform’s future.
The rapid adoption of Marketlend by its many investors has led to the need to undertake some performance tuning of key interfaces. The dashboards are useful for the aggregation of all lender data in one place, but can be quite intense on the database when used by thousands of investors simultaneously.
The Marketlend homepage features a counter that reflects the total loans the platform has funded to date, a staggering figure for a platform founded in 2014.
The future looks promising for the site, set to hold faster growth, further automation and improved user experience.