«Our goal is to create a kind of financial supermarket, where the client will be able to solve any difficulties as quickly as possible»
Maxim Pashchenko, the founder of the crowdfunding platform Nibble, has received adegree in engineering at one of the leading universities in Siberia, known for its strong academic potential. He also received his financial and economic education atthe Moscow School of Business.
- How did you launch the project?
- Our holding IT Smart Finance is constantly developing, expanding into different countries, and the issue of funding is always relevant for credit companies. For this purpose, we decided to create a crowdfunding platform Nibble, which would partly provide funding for our companies.
- What does it mean to focus on being an entrepreneur and not on other job opportunities?
- To be an entrepreneur is to be responsible not only for yourself, but also for the whole company, for all the people you work with. On the one hand, it is difficult, on the other hand, it is a great pleasure to find and create a team of people who are like-minded, professionals of their craft, who we work with to achieve our goals together.
I became an entrepreneur back in 2005 and worked in the construction industry for some time. I like to develop new projects. Entrepreneurship is a conscious choice of a person, as in my case.
- What does this experience give you, both on a professional and personal level?
- Nowadays, the general trend is to develop personal and professional qualities in everything. The world around us is changing so fast that if you stop to develop and learn, it will be impossible to create something new. The knowledge that we have obtained before is no longer relevant.
When you are an entrepreneur and run your own business, not just an outside observer who has passed management to employees, you have to understand all the issues of your company to ensure not only its stable operation, but also its growth. That is why I'm constantly learning and getting new skills from different fields, which helps me to grow not only as a professional, but also as an individual.
- What is the key formula for team building?
- It is almost impossible to find a perfect team. I am used to find something that an employee knows how to do best and apply it in projects rather than make him or her do something he or she does not like. All this generates positive energy in the team and helps to develop projects and business in general in the most efficient way.
- How has the world of alternative loans changed since 2014?
- In comparison with 2014 the world of alternative loans has gone online to a greater extent; people are used to the fact that now they can get a loan in a few clicks on their smartphones or tablets. Back in 2014, we worked only online and during COVID19 crisis, we realized that we do not need to change anything, we adapted to this crisis in the best possible way.
«The world around us is changing so fast that if you stop to develop and learn, it will be impossible to create something new»
- Why do you specialize in this sector?
- Our team specializes not only in the credit sector. We want to make classic products more accessible in online environment in general, such as investments, credits, insurance. Our goal is to create a kind of financial supermarket, where the client can solve any problems as quickly, easily and safely as possible.
- How exactly does Nibble work?
- Nibble is a financial platform of IT Smart Finance holding, which allows individuals and legal entities to invest in already issued loans by holding companies that have years of experience in the lending market. It is very easy to invest on the platform, you just have to go to https://nibble.finance/, pass a simple registration process, choose the term and amount of the investment. Investor can use the mechanism of reinvestment, i.e. automatic re-investment of funds at the end of the loan term. There is no need to spend time on investment management, the platform will do it for you in the best way, and you just get the income. In case a loan is overdue, the company that issued it guarantees its buy-back.
- What is the difference between the work that you do in Spain and Russia? How do you adapt to new markets?
- We study new markets in detail, make analytics, look at the statistics of people connected to the Internet, as well as the number of partners necessary for our activity. We adapt our software to the country and national mentality. We run many different tests, and as a result we get a quality product that our customers like.
- Why did you choose Mexico as a country for expansion in 2020?
- We chose Mexican market after analyzing it and identifying indicators that would make the expansion profitable.
The microcredit market in Latin America has been showing steady growth since 2000, further spurred by crises such as the one in 2008-2009, after which the number of active borrowers is growing at an average of 25% per year. In total, there are about 23 million active borrowers in the Latin American region.
The competition in Europe, for example, is higher because of the large number of international players in the same field, specializing in online lending. However, rates on online microloans are lower because of the same increased competitive environment. Even though some countries do not regulate online lending directly and there is no limit on rates for MFIs.
Microfinance institutions are an integral part of the economy around the world, including in Latin America, where the market for bank lending is not well developed.
- How has the crisis affected your plans?
- It is true that the COVID19 crisis has affected our expansion plans. We are physically unable to get to Mexico, otherwise there were no big changes in our company, only calibration of the scoring model was done.
- And what about alternative loans in general? Is this a moment for opportunities?
- Demand for this product has even increased. It continues to be relevant during the crisis because everyone needs money. If we consider, for example, a cashback service, we can observe a growth of online sales, but Nibble has experienced the effect of the crisis, because people do not know what awaits them tomorrow and the issue of investing is not on the first place. Now Joymoney Russia has increased its issue of loans by 15%.
- How was the technological development of Nibble? How did you implement Big Data, etc.
- When we create a software, we use knowledge of Big Data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and of course, we apply this knowledge on new projects.
- What type of investors and lender companies are forming the platform?
- The categories of investors are quite different, in Russia they are professional ones, because according to the law an individual can only invest from 20.000 euros. If we look at the European market, we consider all types of investors, some are just beginning to learn to invest, others are professionals in the investment industry and invest large sums. The Nibble service is adapted to any type of investor as much as possible, and you can use the service with only 10 euros in your pocket.
- What benefits does the platform get?
- The platform does not charge any commission from investors but receives remuneration from companies that issue loans. Like any commercial entity, the company makes profits, not from its investors, but from the companies that use the funds. Now for an investor a profit in the long-term is not as important as the income from investments. Nowadays it is important to get income as soon as possible, because in the era of Black swan events, it is difficult to predict profits you will get, and obtaining investments here and now is the most important thing.
- What is your role as an intermediary?
- Nibble secures transactions, guarantees safety of personal data and passwords, and provides technical support to investors.
- How did you achieve higher ROI than the market average?
- Microcredit companies have always been highly profitable, but also risky in terms of default. For 6 years we have gained experience in maintaining a balance between risk and profitability. We have a clear understanding and awareness of all the risks and know how to properly quantify them, which allows our companies to be profitable and provide this rate of return for investors.
«The Nibble service is adapted to any type of investor as much as possible, and you can use the service with only 10 euros in your pocket»
- You are working on a new MySalary project. What is it about? When will it be available?
- The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work, learn and spend money. The world is transforming with incredible speed in order to create something new in an era of crisis. The idea of improving old classic products no longer works in terms of entrepreneurship. The time we live in requires new well-thought-out systems. The interests and values of ordinary people are moving forward.
One of the most important projects of our ecosystem is the MySalary project. We want to help overcome financial difficulties by transforming the traditional method of salary payment.
The Joymoney service is primarily focused on a group of people who cannot get money they need here and now in any other way. While MySalary is primarily a social project, it is the service through which employees will have access to actually earned money without waiting for the payday.
We want to give our users a sense of security, calmness and confidence in the future, as well as increase financial literacy through the tips and tools of the service. As a result of this, debt load of the population will decrease, the motivation and loyalty of employees to the company will increase, the productivity of business will grow.
At the moment we are actively engaged in attracting investment for the development of the project.
We have already developed separate blocks, such as: scoring model, monetization, time tracking. Some blocks have already been tested and are being used by other companies of our group.
In the nearest future we hope to present the MVP of a mobile application, the first metrics, and then launch the full version of the product.
- Would you like to continue creating new projects?
- Of course, we are increasing the efficiency of the existing business, creating new products, both in new product lines and in existing ones, and will continue doing so. We have many ideas that we want to implement.
- Besides expansion, what are your plans for this year of 2020?
- When we cannot expand, we focus on expanding our existing product line and try to make our products as simple and convenient as possible for our customers. We hope that in the near future the restrictions worldwide will be lifted and we will all go back to our previous way of life. I would like to wish everyone good health and more optimism in these difficult times!