Interview with Natalya Ischenko for Investisseur nomade
Silvère describes himself as a nomadic investor. Besides his great love of travel, he is passionate about the quest for a world of financial independence. His blog Investisseur nomade is dedicated to one of his business pillars which is called crowdlending. This time he collected questions from other French investors to reveal the plans of the Robocash platform.
- The share of French investors on Robocash has increased significantly in one year. You are a French speaker yourself. When will there be a French interface?
Indeed, we see an increase in the interest of the French audience in the platform. It is important for us to provide users with a favorable experience of working with us, both in terms of managing their income and on the technical side. Right now our priority is updating the interface of the site as a whole, but we plan to add the French interface this year.
- How is the decision to increase or decrease interest rates on Robocash made? What are the factors that influence the level of interest rates?
Of course, we monitor the situation on the market, but to a greater extent, when making decisions on interest rates, we are guided by the needs of the business. Robo.cash is an important source of funding for the holding. The investments that holding attracts through Robo.cash need to be efficient for the companies. If the rate goes too high, funding loans through the platform becomes too costly for the lending company, so they look for other sources. This makes us seek efficiency and lower the interest rates if it is necessary, as long as we can afford it for investors.The returns on euro in P2P are quite high compared to other assets, and combined with the general stability of Robo.cash and its default-free history, we assume that we can lower the rates along with keeping the risks at the same level.
- To what extent have you changed your business strategy given the inflationary surges around the world?
Private finance plays an important role in helping to develop a more mature and sustainable financial ecosystem. This role becomes even more important with rising inflationary pressures in emerging countries. Our strategic goal as a holding is to expand our services and products in emerging markets and become one of the top fintech companies in our field. The rising inflation rates haven’t changed this strategy significantly. The Group is working on launching a new company in Central Asia, Uzbekistan. This year we look into expanding to Latin America.
- Today, the Robocash group is established in about ten countries in the world (Europe and Asia) and is now targeting Latin America and Africa. Which countries in particular?
So far, different options are under consideration. In Latin America, most likely we will go to Mexico. In Africa it will probably be Tanzania and Nigeria.
- More generally, how are internal analyses carried out to decide to develop or stop the promotion of a given product in a given region?
At the holding level, we primarily consider regions that have broad prospects for developing access to financial services. Further, based on this, we analyze whether this or that direction is suitable for our financial model.
As for the platform, whenever we consider integrating a new loan originator, we make sure that the company is stable and efficient enough, so investors’ money is not exposed. The lending companies which are not present on the platform now are financed from their own funds.
- Shortly after you positioned yourself in Sri Lanka, the political situation in the country unfortunately deteriorated. What are your plans for the country and your partners there?
At the group level, we have continued to serve our customers in the country during these challenging times. We have restructured our operations for the safety of our employees, and slowly but steadily, we plan to develop our business there.
We are not placing any new loans from Sri Lanka on the platform because it is a priority for us to ensure the safety of investors' funds. Accordingly, we closely monitor the financial flows of creditors, as well as external events, in order to prevent any possible threats.
- Robocash has the image of a FinTech company with a good web interface. But when can we expect to have a Robocash smartphone application?
We see huge demand for it from our clients, so it is also in our plans, although we can’t speak of particular dates now. But we are actively working on adapting the site design to the mobile version. As soon as we are done with the design, we will start developing the application.
- Robocash was already talking about an IPO in 2020. Two years later, where do you stand and have you decided when you will complete this IPO?
Lately the holding has had enough liquidity to expand and grow off its own revenues and other sources of funding such as the P2P platform, among others. However, the Group has not given up on the plans to go public, and we are taking our time to prepare for it.
- The new loyalty program level (€50K) is considered very (too) high compared to the previous one (€35K). Will the loyalty program evolve in the future?
We originally envisioned the loyalty program to be a multi-stage campaign that would inspire investors to “grow” with us in the long term. The program has been running for two years. During this time the platform has grown a lot and a lot has changed, so we plan to adapt the campaign to the current investor base and our strategic plans.
- Today, what is the central element that differentiates Robocash from other crowdlending platforms and makes it unique in your opinion?
Robo.cash operates within the international financial holding Robocash Group designed to attract funding to its lending companies. Therefore, all loan originators available on the platform are affiliated lenders of the Group. The peer-to-portfolio model of operation is one of the advantages of Robo.cash, and it allows it to provide a complete buyback guarantee on all loans. This model has allowed us to make every single payment to investors on time and to the full extent.
Read the text of the interview in French on the blog: https://investisseur-nomade.fr/natalya-ischenko-interview/