100 million and counting...
Written by Koen The on 25 May 2021
Dear valued investor,
Back in 2013 we had never heard of the Sustainable Development Goals or ‘impact investing’. But somehow we had this itching feeling that people want to help people in developing countries by investing in projects that they could pick and choose.
So there we were, trying to change the world from Maarssenbroek, which is close to Maarssen, which is close to Utrecht, which is close to Amsterdam. You definitely have to have a certain naivety to start something like Lendahand.
Peter Heijen was already working on this when he, Peter Stolze and myself sat down to see if we could come with an ambitious and profitable business plan. Because in the end you can try to change the world, but you first have to keep up your own trousers, as we Dutch people like to say.
In order to come with a plan, we had to ask ourselves a lot of questions. Can we give socially minded investors the opportunity to pick & choose their projects and impact while obtaining a decent financial return? Are there really people out there that want to invest in small businesses, in exotic countries that they might not have been to, through a website they never heard of? Can we find shareholders for Lendahand? Can we do this starting out of Maarssenbroek? And would we ever be able to reach EUR 100 million? Of course the answers were always something to the order of ‘yes’, ‘definitely’, ‘easily’.
Then reality started to kick in and things were starting to become complex. OK, pure chaos, really. But yet, here we are celebrating again an epic milestone. We envisioned reaching our big dream of EUR 100 million in investments in the first few months of 2020. And here we are, it’s May 2021 and we’ve done it! OK, it took us a year longer to get here, but the important thing is: we’ve done it!
Of course it’s not really about reaching EUR 100 million. Volume ain’t nothin’ but a number. What it’s really about is that the 9,000 crowd-investors on our platform have been able to create positive impact by investing in almost 3,000 projects. Their money has helped small businesses create jobs, install solar home systems, sell clean cookstoves, etc.
For ourselves the 100 million number means that we have shown proof of concept. We have an awesome team that is building a profitable company (not there yet!) while pursuing a social mission and having fun. There is so much you can say about millennials (with an average age of 34 years, most team members are Gen Y), but they are not John Mayer, waiting on the world to change. Together we have built the portfolio, investor base, technology, and operational framework. And, not unimportant, the mindset to learn and become a better company.
Our next big dream is to facilitate EUR 1 billion in lending by the end of 2026. Give or take a few months 😉. Again, it’s not about the number, it’s about realizing big plans. Expect exciting things from us, such as gender lens investing, local currency loans, and automatic investing to name a few.
Of course, it all depends on you whether we are able to realize this dream. Because in the end it’s the individual investor that creates the positive impact.
We thank you for being part of our journey and hope you will be with us as we are writing the next chapter in our book of dreams. Let’s all lend a hand!