Crowdestor is a small crowdfunding platform from Riga, that helps to fund business projects from different sectors. This peer-to-business (P2B) lending platform is gaining popularity, mainly due to high annual returns of up to 28%. Higher returns, however, always come with higher risks. Read our Crowdestor review to learn more about the website.
2/12/2020- Crowdestor appointed a new COO Anatolijs Putnja
- 11/10/2020 - Crowdestor is answering our critical questions in our latest P2P talk (to be published soon)
- 12/08/2020 - Crowdestor introduced it's new automated loan application product for borrowers
- 28/07/2020 - Crowdestor is facing a DDos attack which caused downtime of Crowdestor's website
Crowdestor's CEO answers to critical questions:
Crowdestor in Numbers
It’s always good practice to look at a platform's previous performance before signing up and investing money. If you can’t find a platform’s basic statistics, you should almost certainly treat this as a red flag.
When searching for initial information about Crowdestor, we found the following basic stats on the platform's homepage (which is no longer available):
|Total loan value:||+ €42 M|
|Number of investors:||+17,000|
|Loss of investors' money:||-|
|Average portfolio size:||-|
|Latest financial report:|
Crowdestor is not that transparent when it comes to sharing statistical data. The statisitcs page on Crowdestor shows only the number of current and delayed loans. There is no information about investor's earnings or the total loan volume.
Some of the crowdfunding platforms, Crowdestor included, offer special promo codes that reward new investors with a cashback bonus.
New investors that register and invest through our link will receive a 1% Crowdestor bonus from their average portfolio size after using the platform for 90 days. This is of value, particularly for investors who plan to invest large sums of money.
Check out this example to give you a better idea of the Crowdestor bonus:
You invest €50,000 within the first three months and you will receive €500 bonus that will be added to your investor’s account.
In order to obtain the Crowdestor bonus, you don’t need a promo code per se. Just sign up with our link and the promo code will automatically be connected to your investor’s profile. The sign-up process is very simple and it only takes a few minutes.
Crowdestor’s New User Requirements
Much like most P2P lending platforms, Crowdestor requires its investors are over 18 years old and transfer funds from their European bank accounts. Note that you need to reside within Europe to be eligible to invest. This means that investors from the US and Canada are not eligible to invest on Crowdestor.
No EUR bank account? No problem
If you are looking into a digital bank account with fast and free SEPA transfers, the N26 account might be a good option for you. It takes a maximum of two days to deposit money on your investor’s account.
Risk and Returns
When reviewing the risk of an investment on a specific P2P lending platform, you first need to look at the securities that come with the investment.
You can find some information about the securities of a specific investment in the project description.
From an investor’s perspective, the information Crowdestor provides regarding the security of your investment is less than sufficient.
Here’s a breakdown of the safety that comes with Crowdestor investments:
- Guarantee by borrower
- Intellectual property and copyrights of an online game developed by the borrower
- Commercial pledge on assets and agreements
- Provision fund
In most cases, there is not much additional information about the security of your investments, which could easily lead to confusion regarding the actual securities that come with P2P lending on Crowdestor.
The reason for this is that Crowdestor offers investment opportunities in three different segments.
- Real Estate
SME - Small & Medium Enterprises
For all SME projects, you are able to view a credit report that gives you a good overview of the creditworthiness of the borrower.
To receive more information about individual metrics, download the individual credit report on the project overview page.
In our latest talk with CEO Janis Timma, we have learned that this report will only be available for projects from the SME segment. Those projects are typically secured only by the private guarantee of the borrower.
Specialized projects come from various industries such as the energy industry, gaming industry, movie production industry, or the farming industry.
Those projects are typically secured by a commercial pledge on the business assets or copyrights on intellectual properties.
The third segment on Crowdestor is the real estate segment. As the name already says, you are funding real estate projects. Those types of loans are typically secured by a first-rank mortgage.
Note that many loans are repaid at the end of the loan term. The interest payments vary depending on the individual deal. Sometimes both, loan principal and interest is repaid at the end of the loan term.
Additionally to the above mentioned securities, Crowdestor also provides an additional protection layer - the provision fund.
Crowdestor has recently upgraded its buyback fund. From now on, it’s called a “provision fund”.
Additionally to the collateral which is the real protection of your investments on Crowdestor, you can enjoy the protection of Crowdestor’s provision fund.
Crowdestor pays 0.5% commission of every project to this fund. The status of this fund is being updated on a monthly basis.
How does it work?
The provision fund “covers” the entire loan portfolio on Crowdestor. Meaning the size of the fund will be split according to the loan amount of the outstanding loans.
And here goes the calculation (example):
Total loan portfolio: €20,000,000
Average default rate: 10%
Individual project: €100,000
Provision fund size: €360,000
360,000 x (100,000 / (20,000,000 x 10%)) = € 18,800
In short, if you invest in a loan of €100,000 and it defaults, a total of €18,800 will be distributed across all investors.
This is in addition to the collateral which will be sold to cover the loss.
Is Crowdestor Safe?
Crowdestor offers high yielding investments in business projects. In short, Crowdestor connects business owners with the crowd that helps fund their business ideas. In theory, this is a great initiative to support small and medium businesses in Europe, as you can invest from only €50.
Past experiences with similar business models show that investing in business loans is extremely risky. Retail investors have already lost millions by investing in seemingly similar platforms such as Monethera, Grupeer, Envestio, and Kuetzal.
Let’s have a look at the team behind Crowdestor, their terms and conditions, and whether we can spot any red flags.
Who Runs the Company?
Janis runs at least two more companies Eco Energy Riga and the Heat and Power Plant Association of Latvia . Janis owns a power plant by himself, which helps fund the expenses of the crowdfunding platform.
Gunars was previously the managing director at FUNDEA before he joined Crowdestor as the COO. Our quick research showed that FUNDEA is a microfinance company from Guatemala. We aren’t, however, sure whether this is the company Gunars previously worked for.
On Crowdestor’s team page, you will learn that the team runs with only 14 people. Recently Artur Geisari joined Crowdestor as the new head of SME. Artur is simultaneously the CEO and Co-founder of Monify, a fintech start-up that provides funding to SME in the Baltics and Poland. This new recruit should help Crowdestor to become the top funding sources for SME in Europe. Only time will tell whether Artur can reach Crowdestor’s high ambitions.
Who is the Legal Owner of the Company?
Crowdestor OÜ is registered in Estonia; however, their HQ is based in Riga, Latvia. In the Estonian business registry, we found that Janis Timma is the only registered management board member.
Are There Any Suspicious Terms and Conditions?
Crowdestor is funding a broad spectrum of projects from all around the world. It’s important to be aware of the terms and conditions and know your legal rights in case something goes sideways.
First and foremost, Crowdestor is only a service provider that connects borrowers (businesses) with investors. The company itself does not provide any legal or investment advice. You, as an investor, lend money to the business, which is also your contractual partner.
Crowdestor isn’t liable for any losses that might occur from any of your investment activities on the platform.
This is a standard clause used by all P2P platforms. As an investor, you should do your own due diligence about every single project and evaluate whether you are willing to take the risk and invest.
In Crowdestor’s terms and conditions, you learn that your uninvested funds are excluded from Crowdestor’s assets, which means they belong to you. Crowdestor can only use them in line with the terms and conditions - to invest in projects of your choice.
This gives you good legal ground. We are not aware of any withdrawal delayes as of right now.
Amendments to the terms and conditions
Crowdestor can amend the terms and conditions at any time without prior notice.
If you disagree with the changes, you won’t be able to continue using the platform. The positive balance will be paid out to your bank account within 10 working days.
In case you have ongoing investments, you will need to wait until the borrowers repay their loans in order to exit Crowdestor completely as there is no early exit option currently available.
Do Investors have Access to Individual Loan Agreements?
Investors have access to all loan agreements. Just click on the left menu on My Investments and choose the individual agreements.
Crowdestor’s loan agreement isn’t publicly available. You can either view it before you decide to invest in individual projects or afterward in your investor’s dashboard. Compared to many other assignments and loan agreements, Crowdestor’s contract seems much better structured.
Potential Red Flags
- Crowdestor can amend the terms and conditions without prior notice
- The lending company Monify, lead by the current Head of SME - Artur Geisari does not fulfill its obligations towards investors on other P2P marketplaces
What’s our opinion about Crowdestor?
We have had an active portfolio on Crowdestor since 2018. Our average interest rate is at 16.65%.
The P2B platform lures investors with high interest. You should know that high returns come at a higher risk.
While Crowdestor was founded by seasoned entrepreneurs, there’s a lack of transparency which we don’t appreciate. The descriptions of individual loans aren’t usually sufficient and neither backed by additional financial reports.
This can be an issue if you plan to invest several thousand Euros in a single project.
Personally, we prefer to know exactly where we put our money into. In the case of Crowdestor, you have to hope that everything goes according to the plan which is not the case as many of the projects are often delayed.
Basing your investments on hopes isn't good practice though.
While Crowdestor has exciting goals in terms of business expansion, it is hard for us to grasp that a real estate-backed loan can yield 26% while being backed by a first-rank mortgage.
In the last few months we see signs that Crowdestor is increase their transparency.
The communication of Crowdestor is limited to a dedicated Facebook Group which is only accessible for Crowdestor investors.
As a new investor you have no option to evaluate the performance of the current status of ongoing projects, which we found extremely unprofessional.
Crowdestor's platform was also previously attacked which caused downtime.
We have a small stake at Crowdestor but due to the above-mentioned concerns, we won’t increase our investment at this point. We will further monitor the development of Crowdestor and report about new changes in this Crowdestor review.
Regardless if you’re a beginner or advanced P2P investor, the platform is very intuitive and easy to use. What we also like is the recently refurbished dashboard overview, where you can track your portfolio performance. Crowdestor manages to show you all the information you need.
Currently, Crowdestor investors still need to invest manually when diversifying their portfolio as the Auto Invest feature is still in development (for several months).
We’ve had no issues when it comes to adding and withdrawing funds, with the deposit of funds taking no longer than two days.
Although there is certainly room for improvement, for most investors the current features will suffice.
Liquidity is becoming an important factor for P2P investors, particularly when there is uncertainty in the financial markets.
Due to the fraudulent behavior of P2P lending sites such as Envestio and Kuetzal, the P2P lending market experienced reputational damage.
Many investors requested to add an early exit option on Crowdestor - and Crowdestor delivered.
As we are updating this Crowdestate review, there are over 4,000 loans listed on the secondary market. In our recent interview with Crowdestor’s CEO, we have learned that currently only around 4% of the entire loan book is listed on the secondary market.
You can list your projects for sale with a premium or discounted price. The premium or discount is, however, calculated from the expected return, rather than the current value. We have informed Crowdestor about this issue and Janis Timma promised to amend the calculation.
We have tested Crowdestor’s secondary market and sold two, out of four delayed projects with a discount of 10% (from the expected return) within four days.
You should know that buyers and sellers are paying a 2% secondary market fee for every transaction.
Crowdestor’s Customer Support
We have reached out to Crowdestor several times, requesting more statistical data as well as their financial reports. To date, we haven’t heard back from anyone. We addressed our questions to various emails we could find on Crowdestor’s website without any reply.
If it is hard for us to get a response, it might be troublesome for new investors to get any additional information as well.
There is one way to get in touch with Crowdestor, and that’s via a private Facebook group. In order to join this group, you have to be a registered member of Crowdestor. If you are a new user who would like to get some information before signing up, you might not be able to get it anywhere.
Crowdestor Review Summary
We start seeing first problematic loans on Crowdestor since its launch in 2018. The P2B platform offers high-yield business loans with interest up to 30%. The popularity of Crowdestor is driven by investors who chase high interest rather than safe investments. Crowdestor, however, fails to resolve basic transparency concerns which make investing on Crowdestor very risky.
Main takeaways from our Crowdestor review:
- Invest in high-yielding business loans
- Invest across various industries
- Backed by collateral and provision fund
- Lack of transparency and poor communication
If you are keen to take the risk and invest on Crowdestor, sign up with our exclusive link and get a 1% bonus on your investments within the first 90 days.
Ready to lend with Crowdestor?
How is my investment secured on Crowdestor?
Each of your investments on Crowdestor offer different protection. Most of the projects are partially covered by the provision fund, while other securities might be borrower’s guarantees or business collateral. We recommend investors become familiar with the securities before investing on Crowdestor.
Is Crowdestor good for diversification?
Crowdestor is good if you’re looking for a secondary platform on which you want to lower the platform risk. The platform is not, however, the best when it comes to diversification as there aren’t as many investment opportunities and investors can often experience cash drag.
What’s the minimum investment amount on Crowdestor?
The minimum investment on Crowdestor is €50 per project. You need to invest much more money than on other P2P lending platforms to achieve a good diversification rate.
Is there a buyback guarantee on Crowdestor?
Unlike Mintos or PeerBerry, Crowdestor does not offer a no buyback guarantee . There is, however, a provision fund, which helps to cover potential losses.
|Address:||Roosikrantsi 2, Tallinn, Estonia|
|Phone:||+371 2733 3274|
|Opening Hours:||Weekdays from 9AM to 7PM|