Faced with a challenge to secure business funding, business owner and entrepreneur Daniel Rajkumar devised a solution that would not only facilitate access to loans for SMEs, but also encourage collaboration and mutual support among enterprises.
Rebuildingsociety.com facilitates commercial loans for British businesses by uniting borrowers looking for funding with investors who are motivated to support smaller businesses while earning a passive income.
The platform was founded in 2012. Daniel wanted to offer people the trust, transparency and mutually-rewarding relationships that he believed were missing from the financial field at that time. The aim was to create a site that would become a society that inspired and encouraged businesses to grow, in which lenders would be rewarded for their risk and support of businesses.
I’ve always been passionate about supporting SMEs and early-stage, innovative businesses, often overlooked by the banks for lack of understanding.
With this in mind, Daniel launched a peer-to-business lending platform from which both borrowers and investors could benefit; an online site where there is communication, dialogue and honesty; and where the individuals themselves are in control. The financial agreement is complimented by the element of support; lenders have the opportunity not just to invest their money, but also to support a business in which they too have a vested interest.
Rebuildingsociety is really an attitude. It gives SMEs the opportunity to connect with the various different lenders with whom they can cooperate.
The Incomlend team approached White Label Crowdfunding with a clear idea of what they wanted to create. They were looking for a technology provider who could create a supply-chain finance platform without lengthy in-house development times and uncertain results. They didn’t want to spend time “reinventing the wheel”, choosing instead to work with a provider with previous experience in creating platforms of this kind.
Rebuildingsociety.com allows borrowers to sign up and submit loan applications, to be confirmed by an admin user and listed on the platform’s marketplace. The lender user type, meanwhile, can register, be verified, add funds to their account, and then proceed to bid to invest in loans on the marketplace. Once the loan is fully funded and the bids become loan parts, the lender has the option of trading their loan parts on the secondary marketplace. The broker user can register and submit applications on behalf of another party.
An important element of the platform designed to enhance the transparency and collaboration so important to the ethos of the site is the discussion forum area. This enables an open dialogue between the parties involved, encouraging each one to learn about the other, resolve any doubts that arise, and ultimately lead to a more stable, dynamic, interactive lender-borrower relationship.
Working with tight resources proved challenging, but the recruitment of a talent manager early on helped ensure that the right aptitudes and potential were found in the key employees. Being resourceful and using a global team comprised of people with specialised skills helped the company overcome the challenges they faced.
In a new industry, it’s hard to find people with the right experiences. It’s possible to find related skills used in a similar firm, but to be truly ground-breaking, we needed to invest heavily in training and sharpening the skills of the team to help realise the vision.
The graduates who were recruited early on are now capable of management positions, and they are currently looking to take on the next wave of talent, to prepare the company for the next five years.
Rebuildingsociety.com was successfully launched in September 2012, and the first public loan was completed in January 2013. The first two loans were privately arranged, so that the team could test all the key functionality end-to-end. It was a stable version one release, and the essential principles of the platform haven’t changed much since the very beginning.
The company itself has grown in a steady and organic fashion. Since the P2P lending industry has become regulated, greater emphasis has been placed on usability and acting on user feedback. The team is aware of the concerns of the regulator, and has made lots of small improvements, focusing on mobile and tax incentives like the Innovative Finance ISA. As time has gone on, various pages have been revisited, in order to improve performance, speed, functionality and usability.
Since the launch of rebuildingsociety.com, the team, which includes legal, financial and business development experts, has helped hundreds of businesses to execute their visions for business growth. They have raised the awareness of the FinTech sector in the north of the UK, supported the charity Positive Money, and gained full authorisation from the FCA. Their aim for the future is to help businesses understand where they are exposed to risk that threatens their survival.
New finance will revolutionise traditional finance. It really is a case of the industry reinventing this space.
In 2014, Daniel founded this very company, White Label Crowdfunding, inspired by the potential of the technology behind such platforms. His experience in founding rebuildingsociety.com taught him several important lessons that he has applied to his new business, and he continues to run the two in parallel.