Dutch crowdfunding platform Lendahand acquires French counterpart Babyloan: Know more here

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Rotterdam-based Lendahand, an online impact investing platform regulated in the Netherlands, announced on Friday that it is acquiring Paris-based colleague crowdfunder Babyloan for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition may become the first pan-European crowdfunding platform for impact investments.

Recently, Lendahand raised €5.5M from the ABN AMRO Sustainable Impact Fund (AA SIF) and two French institutional investors, INCO and the NGO Acted. The investment enables Lendahand’s further expansion in other European countries and reaching more crowdfunders  with France as the first new market through the acquisition of Babyloan.

Additionally, with the new capital, Lendahand also looks to strengthen its position in the target markets and contract new partners in other emerging economies.

A French crowdfunding platform specialised in micro-loans

Arnaud Poissonnier, a French social entrepreneur, established Babyloan in 2008 to enable families in developing nations to receive affordable financing through microcredit. To date, French investors have supplied €26M in funding to more than 50,000 micro-entrepreneurs in 30 countries.

In recent years, Babyloan has encountered difficulties. Their business strategy, which is similar to Kiva’s, an online lending network that connects internet lenders with entrepreneurs all over the world, did not prove to be “future-proof”. The expenditures were larger than the revenues and it was ultimately impossible to carry on without help.

Last year, the company started looking for potential parties for a takeover of the company. Their priority? Ensuring that investors can continue to invest in entrepreneurs they believe in, and that their projects are followed up and repaid. At the same time, Lendahand was already actively looking for suitable platforms in Europe that could fit in with the international strategy.

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Lendahand’s co-founder Koen The says, “With our existing crowdfunding platform and our focus on creating social impact, Babyloan saw the ideal partner in Lendahand. And vice versa. After months of preparation behind the scenes, the acquisition of Babyloan is official today.”

In recent years, Babyloan has collaborated with a number of emerging-market financial institutions (MFIs). A number of these partners will be able to offer their initiatives on the Lendahand platform as well.

Lendahand’s mission

Founded in 2013 by Koen The, Peter Heijen, and Peter Stolze, Lendahand aims to eliminate poverty all over the world using crowdfunding. Its model is a way for investors to have a specific social and sustainable impact on the world while receiving a return on their investment.

Co-founder Koen The says, “Countries such as Kenya, Mexico and Indonesia have plenty of passionate business owners who are willing to put in the hard work to improve the world around them. Unfortunately, inflation and high-interest rates make it difficult to run a business. This is where Lendahand comes in. The platform offers the possibility of providing loans to businesses starting at as little as €50, in exchange for a fair interest rate.”

“Our mission is to fight poverty in emerging countries by investing in people and businesses. To do this, we offer loans at affordable interest rates to businesses that need financing. This allows them to create jobs and boost their local economies,” adds Koen.

On average, the company’s projects offer annual interest rates of approximately 3 per cent and to date, its default rate across all projects is 1.23 per cent. Currently active in Holland, Belgium, Sweden, and the UK, the platform’s thousands of investors have invested more than €130M in various sectors such as renewable energy and agriculture.

Licensed as an investment company by the AFM (Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets), Lendahand expects to reach €1B invested in emerging countries through its platform by 2026.

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Vishal Singh

Vishal Singh is a News Reporter and Social Media Marketing Lead at Silicon Canals. He covers developments in the European startup ecosystem and oversees the publication's social media presence. Before joining Silicon Canals, Vishal gained experience at the Indian digital media outlet Inc42, contributing to its growth with insightful content. Despite being a college dropout, his passion for writing has driven his career in journalism.

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