Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – Stefan Willebrand, the former manager of a U.S.-based hedge fund, CEO of financial advisory firm Bricknode AB, and founder and chairman of Kreditbörsen, is now also the man behind a new Peer-to-Peer lending service for borrowers and investors in Sweden. Kreditbörsen’s speciality is offering borrowers a simple process for loan applications with risk-adjusted interest rates and exists to challenge traditional banks in providing credit for small- and medium-sized enterprises, also potentially extending to consumers at a later date.
“As in all our projects we want to build a stable base for the long term before we make any projects public in order to assume the main part of the risk ourselves,” Mr Willebrand said about the Peer-to-Peer lending service launch. “Kreditbörsen is no exception, as we have built the whole operation from the ground with our own capital since 2011 with a very strong team. We started our lending business because of two things. We have for ourselves seen both sides of the coin. Throughout the years, we have been frustrated borrowers and unhappy investors, [and]with Kreditbörsen we wanted to build a service that we could use ourselves to generate good and fair returns on our capital. All underwriting is associated with a certain level of risk where the interest levels are set in a responsible manner while considering the soft variables for the borrowers.”
“My own background has mattered quite a bit in the creation of Kreditbörsen,” he continued, “where I started my career as an entrepreneur in 1998 as a financial analyst, operated my own hedge fund in the U.S. and an online broker in England. The result is an ecosystem within Fintech with Willebrand Invest as a public investment company since 2010, Bricknode as a developer of a financial platform since 2010 and the LendyTech group within financial services since 2011. The launch of Kreditbörsen enables new ways of financing within the ecosystem where we can offer entrepreneurs and FinTech-companies that use the Bricknode Platform for various types of capital.”
Accordingly, Mr Willebrand is aiming for a loan portfolio of between SEK 300-400 million ($35-45 million) over the next two years.
“I don’t believe in taking three per cent when a loan is made,” he said. “It does not provide the incentive to issue fresh loans.” Contrary to perception, Mr Willebrand does not think it is as much the overall P2P model that is failing as it is how Swedish players have approached it.