isePankur, the social-lending service, was established in 2008 and pioneered the concept of social lending in Estonia. The service allows individuals and small to medium-sized enterprises to borrow and lend between each other, skipping the whole traditional banking process.
As of yesterday, isePankur will be known as Bondora and the new brandification won’t be the only change to take place during the upcoming eight weeks in the Estonian p2p loan pioneer.
First and foremost, Bondora has confirmed a recent capital raising of €1.3 million led by primarily German investment funds and angels, and joined by isePankur’s own international customers who jumped on the boat after hearing about the round.
Among the backers we've been told to find Mark Noetzold, João P. S. Monteiro and Mati Otsmaa, all hardened businessmen from the management sectors across Europe who will join the Bondora board of directors.
Pärtel Tomberg, CEO of Bondora told us in an interview that the funds will help the newly baptised Bondora to expand more widely across Europe and will be strongly influential in their product development and strategic marketing, though marketing will be further emphasized in the near future.
“We’re continuously investing in marketing, but the current round can’t build a major campaign. Quite soon we might seek another round of investment”, Tomberg added.
In terms of product development, isePankur, - well since they changed their name we might as well start using it - Bondora is going to do a complete frontend makeover of their website and they plan on launching their mobile app, all within the next eight weeks. The website renovation will simplify the looks and add a new marketplace for more experienced investors who seek broader loaning opportunities. This restricted access marketplace will go under the name Bondora plus. More on that when the time is right.
In other news, Bondora launched in Slovakia in the middle of last month with promising predictions, and as you can read from our previous coverage, the Finland launch last year didn't go that bad either. In conclusion Bondora in spreading out fast and across all language barriers, which helps us better understand the etymology behind their new name; Bonding, breaching and Euroopa, which is Europe in Estonian. Additionally we mustn't forget credit is the synonym of bond. All in all the name Bondora carries elements from all of these key words and transforms them into something more approachable and tonally more catchy from a global perspective.
Tomberg sounds both pleased and excited about the new name and the companies future.
"Over the last 5 years we have brought together over 70,000 customers from 29 countries to borrow and lend on our platform. Today we have a product, where a telephone engineer from Estonia could get funds to renovate his flat from a dozen of lenders located in any European country. Not only our borrowers get a chance to have their loans financed, but they get the best available deal on the marketplace."
A secretary from Slovakia, for example, ready to pay 28% for a €600 loan to study English, might end up paying only 12% because lenders pile in. It is a simple and secure application process for the borrowers and a possibility to diversify private investment for the lenders.
At the moment 26% of our lenders come from Germany, 11% from the UK and 4% from Switzerland (with the rest being spread across Europe). With the rapid growth of the company in the last year, the old name could no longer accommodate room for our cross-border growth, that is why today we are also launching our new name – Bondora, and our website available in 23 languages,” - commented Tomberg.
In Q1 2014 Bondora’s loan demand comprised:
Spain - 37, 609,455 EUR
Finland – 23,132,300 EUR,
Estonia – 15,094,810 EUR
Slovakia (started March 2014) – 702,200 EUR.