Geldvoorelkaar.nl combines compliance and scalability in partnership with OPP
Geldvoorelkaar.nl is the first crowdfunding platform in the Netherlands. Since 2011, it has focused on funding projects in SMEs, to which it has now contributed more than EUR 530 million. The new crowdfunding regulation forced the company to partner with a payment service provider. Geldvoorelkaar.nl chose Online Payment Platform (OPP) and now has the perfect combination of compliance and scalability while still having the freedom to set up its own platform users' customer journey.
To ensure the smooth flow of money between investors and entrepreneurs in need of credit, Geldvoorelkaar.nl worked with foundations and the bank until recently. However, with the new crowdfunding regulation, this was no longer allowed. "To get a licence from the AFM (Authority for the Financial Markets) to carry out our activities, we had to start working with a payment provider, among others," says Fred van der Stappen, Director of Geldvoorelkaar.nl.
Van der Stappen was closely involved in the selection process and the implementation of the payment solution. For the selection of a partner, a shortlist was made in which OPP was eventually chosen. "We were looking for a reputable and specialised party that had experience with the dynamics of crowdfunding platforms and could, among other things, support us in working with a wallet structure. With us, each investor has recently had his or her own wallet that can be used to invest in various projects from one virtual bank account. The borrower's monthly repayment and interest are deposited in that same wallet. Another important requirement was that we could continue to do the KYC process ourselves so that we would remain in control of our community's customer journey."
Freedom in designing customer journey
The last requirement proved challenging for other payment service providers. "There was little flexibility in this area," Van der Stappen believes. Several payment providers prescribe very forcibly that you must switch to their customer journey. OPP was almost the only party that did give us the freedom to set this up ourselves. At the same time, they do support us with knowledge and experience. With this, they really set themselves up as a pleasant partner."
To ensure the smooth flow of money between investors' wallets, borrowers and Geldvoorelkaar.nl, OPP set up multi-split payments. This also included anomalous processes, such as money flows going through the notary, for example in the case of an investment in a mortgage for business premises.
Taking advantage of scale
OPP also handles the onboarding, where users' bank accounts and identities are validated. "It is nice to know that this is done according to regulatory requirements and that we can benefit from the scale they have in this area. We have quite a few investors who all had to be onboarded. This is where we worked together to see how we could make this process as quick and smooth as possible so that our investors are minimised by this."
"Behind the scenes, the onboarding did present some challenges," Van der Stappen continues. "For instance, we had to redesign our processes and make them align with the systems at OPP. Also, establishing identity is not very complicated, but all the data you get back from that must be processed in our own back office. Furthermore, setting up the payment function sometimes caused headaches. During the implementation process, we had an almost daily call with OPP to fine-tune specific issues. With this, however, we now have a system that fully meets our needs."
"Despite OPP being a large organisation, it still feels very personal. They think very actively about the right solution and are also very involved during implementation. There were short lines of communication with our IT department, allowing us to work quickly. You also notice here that there is a lot of knowledge and experience in-house, and they know what platforms need."
Van der Stappen: "For our users too, the cooperation has important advantages. For instance, there is a shorter lead time for our investors and their money is now deposited from the wallet into the project faster. The borrower thus has the credit sooner and the investment bears interest sooner. With this, we have a solution for everyone that is compliant, scalable and user-friendly."