From 1,000 euros to 100 million. Meet three investors who got us there
Written by Lily Zhou on 24 June 2021
Last month Lendahand celebrated the great milestone of 100 million euros in investments made. We can't say it often enough: we couldn't have achieved this without you, our crowd. This milestone belongs to all of us. That is why we called three investors who have been investing in Lendahand since the beginning to listen to their stories and experience with the platform.
A win-win situation
Eva has been an investor at Lendahand since 2013. She has a great social heart. Through her work at KLM, for example, she is involved in Wings of Support: the charity foundation of KLM’s employees.
Eva: “I wanted to do even more and through my in-laws I got to know Peter Heijen ( Founder of Lendahand). I was already investing through Kiva back then, and I think that's a great way to help people. When Peter told me about Lendahand, I was immediately hooked. It's a win-win situation: you help people further through [investments] and you also get something out of it.”
Gert, an investor since 2014, was immediately enthusiastic when he got to know Lendahand. “I got to know Lendahand quite randomly: I was waiting somewhere and picked up a Libelle magazine, something I would normally never do, and then saw an advertisement from you. I was already familiar with crowdfunding and it immediately felt right for me. I think it's great that Peter has been able to turn a dream into a reality. So many people come [to Europe] while this is not their own home. With Lendahand you can say that you let the economy grow locally so that they can continue to live in better conditions in their own environment and culture. I think it's good that we let these entrepreneurs make their dreams come true for a fee, that's how you activate people."
Ton, who has been an investor since 2013, also strongly believes in our model. He had his own company for more than 40 years, so he knows better than anyone what entrepreneurship is like. He wants to help fellow entrepreneurs through his investments. “An entrepreneur does not want a present, he wants to borrow and is proud that he repays the loan. I think this is different from an NGO that gives you the money. When it is a loan, you will do your best.”
Gert: “I used to know all the projects by heart. Today that is no longer possible. My first project, Maria and her woodworking company have always stayed with me.
What strikes me is that, female entrepreneurs pay back the loans much better. Equality between men and women needs to improve in the world, which is why I like to invest in such projects.”
Eva also likes to invest in female entrepreneurs: “Now I am thinking in categories, women and children, but in general I prefer to invest in them. Other than that, I don't really have any tactics. I always look at what I can spare per month and you offer a nice mix of projects.”
When asked why they have always remained active on the platform, Gert answers: “Because there is no better crowdfunding platform where you can also make a social difference. I know a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes before a project is on the platform and that's how I know it will be good.”
Eva: “I think it's great that you have grown from a couple of people to a professional company and that I'm kind of part of that. Despite the fact that you have become bigger and bigger, you always try to involve the crowd and keep us well informed. And so far I have always received my investment back!”
This does not apply to Gert and Ton. Both have experienced defaults.
Gert: “Especially the first default really hurt. Of course, things can go wrong and often it is very unfortunate, not only for yourself or Lendahand but even more for the entrepreneur. But you learn from it, and yes, you take that risk with you. At least this way you do something [good] with your money.
Ton: “I'm in the luxurious position that I don't have to live off the interest. Despite the fact that [some] projects have not gone well, overall I still have a positive return because I have been in it for years. And I always think that hopefully, it helped people, even if I lost my investment.”
All three recommend the guidelines of the AFM: never invest more than what you can afford to lose and spread your investments.
From 100 million to 1 billion. What do they recommend for the future?
Ton: “You have gone from 1,000 euros to 100 million within 8 years, so I also believe that you can reach 1 billion within 5 years. It will be interesting to see what will happen as soon as the [savings] interest rate goes up again. The question is then how social all investors are. If they are all just as social [as I am], then it will be fine.”
Eva: “Keep offering a variation of projects, different types of entrepreneurs, countries etc. People want choice and control, something we say at my work KLM. I hope and think that social impact will become increasingly important for people.”
Would you also like to share your story as an investor at Lendahand with us? Let us know by sending an email to [email protected]
By the way, did you know that we created a community with and for our female investors? Join our "Flourish" group on LinkedIn here.