Helios P2P – Sri Lanka’s First Peer-To-Peer Lending Platform secured their second round of funding from John Keells X which is the corporate accelerator of John Keells Holdings PLC. Helios P2P were winners of the 2017 John Keells X accelerator programme and the first startup to receive funding for the second stage of the accelerator. Helios P2P launched in August 2018 and through its online platform (heliosp2p.com) connects borrowers and investors together, transforming the way people access credit and fills the void for both potential lenders and borrowers by bringing in the globally popular peer-to-peer lending experience for Sri Lankans.
The peer-to –peer lending industry, valued globally at $64 billion in 2015, is growing at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 50%. Its credentials have been established as an asset class which delivers predictable returns for investors shielding them from stock market volatility. The emergence of P2P platforms has opened up the consumer credit market which was earlier open to only institutional investors such as banks and non-banking financial institutions, allowing income-seeking investors to diversify their portfolio with an alternative investment strategy.
Like a lot of good stories, this one starts with two friends. Both Nuzhi Meyen and Shanaka Perera graduated together with Statistics degrees from University of Colombo and studied together in qualifying with CIMA. Both further went on specializing in Data science in University of Moratuwa and University of Warwick respectively. Helios started as a FinTech company in bring their experience in financial and technology to revolutionize the consumer credit market.
How P2P lending works
Peer-to-peer lending allows investors to lend directly to companies or individuals, and participate in large pools of loans, thereby limiting their risks. Helios P2P pre-verifies borrowers before listing them as well as performing KYC checks. Helios P2P uses an automated credit evaluation mechanism based on their proprietary analytics model to screen of borrowers and to rate them from minimal risk to very high risk based on their profiles. All information about the borrowers is transparently mentioned on the dashboard and can be used by investors for selecting their prospective borrowers
The online platform has significantly reduced the cost of vetting and matching borrowers with potential lenders, creating an alternative to physical banks who typically charged a lot more to facilitate loans. The benefits are passed on to both lenders and borrowers,
Lenders can get highly competitive returns of around 14% to 30% p.a when compared to average returns delivered by other market linked investments such as the stock market and fixed deposits. Helios P2P has taken steps such as using their proprietary model for debt scoring as well as partnering with a debt collection agency to help their lenders manage inherent risk and earn more. Lenders are able to choose from a predefined set of tenures as per their needs. Month-on-month returns in the form of Equated Monthly Installments (EMIs) can be re-invested to generate compounding returns. Investing in P2P lending adds to diversification of the lenders market-linked investment portfolio. Additional diversification in P2P lending can be attained by investing across borrower profiles. The platform facilitates the service to the lenders with no charges.
Borrowers can obtain their credit by applying online with a few easy steps. The full process is digitalized and consumers no longer have to stand in queues to obtain their loans. This provides credit to consumers with limited access to traditional avenues of finance.
The secured funding money will be used to expand Helios P2P product range and further grow its customer base, to further the goal of financial inclusiveness in an increasingly digital world with a winning situation for everyone involved.
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