What is Flender?
Flender is a business crowdfunding platform based in Ireland, and that was funded in 2015. Over 4,300 investors have already used the platform at the time of this writing, and funded over 13 Million Euros worth of loans.
They focus on funding Irish business projects with quite solid returns, usually above 10%. It's actually quite unique to see such a platform with decent returns in Ireland, and I really like that fact as it allows me to diversify my portfolio geographically across Europe, as most similar platforms are usually located in the Baltics region.
What Returns Can I Expect From Flender?
Flender advertises an average return of 10.4% on their site, which is in line with the yield you see on most of the projects (most of them are in the 8-13% returns range).
Having started to invest in the platform in July 2019, it is way too early for me to confirm the announced yield at this stage, but the early repayments that I received from Flender are exactly what was expected. With the projects I invested in, my overall return should be around 9.3%, as I chose a quite conservative approach (more on that later). I will of course update this part once I receive more results from Flender.
Is it Safe to Invest on Flender?
As for all business crowdfunding platforms, investing in Flender comes with some level of risk. However, they have a very rigorous evaluation process for all the projects that they put on their platform, and they are especially looking at three points for each project that they consider for their marketplace:
- Credit check: they use the independent platform Credit Safe to get a full report about the financial health of the company
- Affordability: they check that the borrower can actually afford to pay back the loan with their current cashflow
- Creditworthiness: they check the company's financial data in detail, including checking their bank statements and audited financial accounts
With this strict selection process, only the best projects end up on the platform, and they currently have a default rate of just 0.7%.
Also, you can invest in each project from just 50 Euros, which is in the lower range compared to other similar platforms in Europe. This means that with the same amount of money, it is easier to diversify your investments on Flender, therefore reducing the overall level of risk on your portfolio.
How to Start Investing on Flender?
It is really easy to create an account and start investing on Flender. The whole process of creating the account took me less than 5 minutes. After that, it is also really easy to deposit money on Flender, as you can actually pay by debit/credit card and have your money instantly available on the account. I did that with my Revolut card, and the money was available for investments instantly. If you prefer, you can choose to pay via a traditional bank transfer instead.
Once your account is created, you can then browse deals on the platform:
As you can tell from this picture, projects tend to get funded really quickly on Flender (more about how to solve this issue later). For each project, you can then access a much more detailed view with all the information about the project and the borrower:
On each of those projects pages, you will find all the details about the project, for example who is the company wanting to borrow money, and why they need the money for. You will also find all the financial details of the project. It's also on this page that you can actually invest, by simply entering how much you want to invest in the project (starting from 50 Euros) and confirm your investment.
Using The Auto-Invest Function
As I mentioned in the previous section, projects tend to get funded really fast on the platform. Luckily for us, Flender offers a really nice auto-invest function, called AutoFlend, which I've actually been using for all my investments on the platform. Here are the settings I used:
As you can see, you can select some auto-invest settings for each range of project duration on the platform, which I think is really nice. As I mentioned before, I chose to have a quite conservative approach on this platform, so I only chose loans graded A+ to B, and for all project durations. I especially chose the maximum investment on each project equal to the minimum possible investment on the platform, to make sure that I get a very diversified portfolio on Flender.
My Results so Far With Flender
I started to invest with Flender in July 2019, with a sum of 250 Euros as I usually do on most platforms I try out. Here is a screenshot from my latest account overview:
I invested in total in 5 projects via AutoFlend, which invested 50 Euros in each, mainly A or B+ projects. So far, I received some repayments from all projects, and they were all on time and exactly the expected amount. I will definitely update this section as I get more results from Flender, but so I can say I am definitely happy with the platform.
Should You Invest On Flender?
So far, I am really happy with Flender. The platform offers business crowdfunding projects that went through a very strict selection process, and that offers really solid returns for investors, usually around 10%. I also really like the fact that it is based in Ireland, which allows investors to diversify in another European country. On top of that, the platform is really easy to use and offers a great auto-invest function with a lot of parameters, and yet really efficient & easy to use. Overall, I really recommend trying Flender to diversify any crowdlending portfolio.