Yes, from scratch! This is 100% kiwi ingenuity and pragmatism at work and just the start.
Think about this. We’ve built an investing platform, a lending platform, and a market clearing mechanism all in one. You’d agree that’s no small task and Col, our lead developer would agree. We’ve also built the whole thing on the cloud (hosted on Microsoft Azure) and used an API framework. That’s just a fancy way of saying we can now build applications for the iPhone and Android and allow other applications to interact with us.
I think this platform is pretty sexy. If it were a car, it would be a Maserati - stylish, understated, with a hint of untamed thoroughbred. For a start we can process a loan from start to finish in about ten minutes. The platform has a credit scoring engine and automated decision-making. It also emails out loan documents that can be electronically signed on a computer or phone.
So what do we do with all of this world-class technology? Well, actually we want to take it slowly. We think it’s really important to build experience in this market slowly and earn the respect of our investors and borrowers. You won’t see us charging off to write $100m in the first year. The expression, 'fools rush in', applies to peer-to-peer lending. We’re lucky to have more experience and wisdom on our team than you’ll find anywhere else. That will be important if and when we face the next market correction.
What you’re going to get with Squirrel Money is market leading personal lending rates and good stable investor returns. Our borrower fees are lower and simpler than you’ll find on other platforms. For investors, our business model is orientated towards reducing the credit risk as much as possible by using a reserve fund we call Loan Shield. This is good stuff and a first for the New Zealand market. It’s worth pointing out that this concept of a reserve fund has been tried and tested in the UK with a 100% success rate, i.e. not one investor has lost even a penny of their money.
We also don’t have a bank or corporate as a shareholder. Instead we chose crowd funding for our capital because that’s much more in the spirit of challenging the establishment. We think using wholesale funds that bypass mum and dad retail investors is missing the point. That’s why we took a bit longer and created our market-clearing mechanism from day-1. We can settle loans and then release them to investors. Everyone wins, but mostly the people win.
At the end of the day we think investors deserve a better return on their hard earned money. Viva-the-revolution!