Alternative finance is gaining traction in the Nordics


Crowdfunding and alternative finance has grown from 6 billion USD in 2013 to 16 billion USD in 2014, and is estimated to have doubled in volumes to 34 billion USD in 2015 globally. As the segment matures, the grey area lenders and not less secure platforms are exposed and either closed down or fading into obscurity. In the Nordics Trustbuddy closed down last year, thinning out the herd and leaving more room for the sustainable platforms. Nordic Crowdfunding Alliance estimates a total of 9,6 million EUR raised through crowdfunding alone in the Nordics between 2012 – 2015. A quick look at the alternative finance space shows no signs of slowing down with a wide array of companies across all categories of alternative finance. I have attempted to categorize the companies by country as well as category, crowdfunding, marketplace lending and invoice trading.

Norway is a crowdfunding platform, with a track record focusing on charitable causes. recently got into the equity-based crowdfunding space. Learn more at

Frunder is a crowdfunding platform focusing on raising capital in a social and a community setting. The service is aiming to help young athletes to raise capital for new equipment from the local community, schools to raise capital from parents and relatives for class trips, or simply to engage your friends and those around you to help out to fulfill a dream. The site is not yet live, but is said to launch in Q1 2016. Learn more at

New Jelly is a crowdfunding platform focusing on raising capital for cultural initiatives for musicians, authors, filmmakers. Learn more at New Jelly.

In addition, the French crowdfunding platform Spark Up has launched a Norwegian equity-based crowdfunding site, and there is yet another promising equity-based platform with an estimated launch in Q1 2016.


FundedByMe is a crowdfunding platform aiming at the international market, and is perhaps the most well-known crowdfunding initiative from the Nordics. The FundedByMe platform operates on the “all or nothing” funding principle, where investments are made on a pledge basis and pledges are not released unless the project meets or exceeds a pre-set funding target. Learn more at FundedByMe.

Tessin Nordic crowdfunding is an equity based crowdfunding platform. Learn more at Tessin Nordic.

Toborrow is a marketplace lending platform directed at small business loans. Toborrow claims to be the first P2P lender in Sweden and is partially owned by Bonnier, a large Swedish media corporation. Learn more at Toborrow.

Föreningsinsamling is a crowdfunding platform directed at sports teams, schools and non-profit organizations seeking to raise capital. Learn more at Föreningsinsamling.

Lendify offers what the claim to be the first real marketplace lending platform in Sweden. The Company operates a marketplace online credit platform that enables people to borrow money and lend money from each other – without the involvement of bank. Lendify has raised a small amount of angel capital from undisclosed investors. Learn more at Lendify.

Kameo is a marketplace lending platform offering SME lending. Kameo is aiming at the Scandinavian market and is providing an efficient marketplace for investors to invest in the SME-segment. Learn more at Kameo.

Lendlink is a marketplace lending platform for consumer loans promising to provide consumer finance at better interest rates than incumbents. Learn more at Lendlink.

Savelend is a marketplace lending platform for consumer loans promising to provide an alternative investment opportunity for their investors than the banks. Learn more at Savelend


Lendino is a marketplace lender providing access to debt investments for both private and institutional investors. Lendino received $42.8k in debt financing in 2014. Learn more at Lendino.

European Receivables Exchange is known as Dansk Faktura Børs in Denmark and is an invoice-trading platform where companies can turn invoices into cash. Dansk Faktura Børs is Denmark’s first and only online marketplace allowing companies to sell outstanding invoices to raise working capital. The first auction was held in May 2012, and since then more than 700 auctions have been completed. Learn more at Dansk Faktura Børs.

Booomerang is a crowdfunding platform. Learn more at Booomerang.

Betternow is a crowdfunding platform for charitable causes. Learn more at Betternow.

Aidbuilder is a crowdfunding platform for charitable causes. Learn more at Aidbuilder.

Donation Road is a crowdfunding platform for charitable causes. Learn more at Donation Road.

Flex Funding is a marketplace lending platform focusing on the SME segment. After experiences from the Danish market, the platform will be launched in other countries, focusing on the market potential in Northern Europe. Learn more at Flex Funding.

Dansk Låneformidling is a marketplace lending platform for business loans focusing on early stage growth companies in search of capital. The service also provide a financial mentor-option for companies in need of guidance, connecting capital with necessary competence. Learn more at Dansk Låneformidling.

Udenom Banken is a marketplace lending platform for property lending aimed at the underbanked/subprime segment. Learn more at

Better Rates is a marketplace lending platform for consumer loans promising to provide consumer finance at better interest rates as well as a profitable investment option for investors. Learn more at Better Rates.

KreditMatch is a marketplace lending platform focusing on the SME segment. Learn more at KreditMatch.


Fixura is a marketplace lending platform for consumer loans promising to provide consumer finance at better interest rates as well as a profitable investment option for investors. Learn more at Fixura.

Fellow Finance is a marketplace lending platform for consumer loans promising to provide consumer finance at better interest rates as well as a profitable investment option for investors. Learn more at Fellow Finance.

Lainaaja is a marketplace lending platform for consumer loans promising to provide consumer finance at better interest rates as well as a high yielding investment option for investors. Learn more at Lainaaja.

Invesdor is a crowdfunding platform that operates an EEA-wide debt and equity crowdfunding platform. Invesdor claims to be the first European crowdfunding player with a MiFID-level license for investment advice, reception and transmission of orders, and placing of financial instruments. Learn more at Invesdor.

Mesenaatti crowdfunding is a reward based crowdfunding platform. Learn more at Mesenaatti.

One things is for sure, with this much activity in the alternative finance segment, things are about to change.

From more in-depth material on alternative finance in both the Nordics and Europe as a whole, I strongly recommend as the most comprehensive sites covering the segment to my knowledge. Please let me know if I have missed any companies.


For those in search of summer reading material


After a busy couple of months with many interesting developments in fintech, I’ll be taking a couple of weeks hiatus from updating my blog for the summer. Feel free to check out my previous posts from the last couple of months in the meantime.

Since the launch of my blog in late february I have covered numerous subjects that interest me. A common denominator for the majority of my blog posts is the changing landscape for financial services, where I have looked at how tech giants are challenging incumbents though the launch of Facebook Pay as well as what plans Google may have for the insurance industry. Ia have also covered how industry convergence is reshaping finance, with the Scandinavian media industry is also joining in on the fun.

Not only are established companies from converging industries challenging the existing ecosystem, but the number of unicorns in fintech steadily increasing, with P2P Lending as one of the areas of high potential for disruption as well as bitcoin and blockchain as a potential game changer. I have also given a reminder that regulations are not always a constant, and Iceland’s proposed change in the monetary system is a brilliant example.

Over to regional perspective, I have devoted a lot of time giving an overview of fintech in Scandinavia, including fintech in Sweden, or more specific the greater Stockholm region, how Denmark is focusing on a more specialized approach and the growing Norwegian fintech scene. There are also several bank driven fintech initiaitves, and some claim the Nordics as the potential silicon valley of payments.

In addition to my focus on fintech, I have also looked into more general subjects like how to hire digital talent, interpretation of Net Present Value when interest rates are negative, and how sharing in the sharing economy is everything but caring.

While you wait, you could also check out the older material on my blog (in both English and Norwegian) and stay tuned for my next contribution at TechcCrunch scheduled July 12th. There I will look closer at real time banking and the correlation between ISO 20022 and Blockchain.

Thank you for all the feedback and encouragement. Have a great summer!


Marketplace lending should not be easily dismissed


P2P-lending has been one of the hottest topics in fintech for a while, and everyone (including myself) got on the bandwagon when it came to exploring the implications of P2P-lending when interest in the topic peaked around Lending Clubs IPO. Through 2015, the headlines has become fewer, but the segment still shows significant growth, with companies like Funding Circle showing 200% year-on-year growth.

While Lending Club received a close to $9 billion market cap valuation following the IPO as well as the unicorn status Prosper, SoFi and Funding Circle, chinese marketplace lending platform Lufax is valued at a staggering $10 billion. The number of billion dollar valuations in marketplace lending give an indication of the perceived potential in the segment.

For those who still perceive P2P-lending as an online platform for gray market loans that will collapse as soon as investors start losing their investments, here is how Lending Club actually works:

  1. A lender applies for a loan at Lending Club
  2. A bank (WebBank in Utah) actually issues the loan
  3. Lending Club acquires this loan from the bank and keeps it in their balance sheet
  4. Lending Club issues an unsecured structured note with a reference to the given loan
  5. Lending Club sells this security to an investor
  6. The lender pays interest and principal directly to Lending Club, which takes a cut, and pays the remaining interest and principal to the investor

This means that the lender never owes any money directly to the investor, but Lending Club handles all debt towards investors.  It is also worth while noting that this model allows Lending Club and Prosper to operate at a default rate of 5%.

The law firm Richards Kibbe & Orbe estimates that 80 percent of the investments in the U.S. P2P market originate from private equity and hedge funds, where the latter uses P2P loans as a way to invest directly in the debt market without commercial banks as intermediaries. This shows that the primary value proposition for marketplace lending is as an alternative asset class for investors. For lenders, marketplace lending is an alluring option for startups and SMEs that experience a funding gap since they do not meet traditional credit scoring requirements at incumbent banks.

The big question is: Could marketplace lending venture beyond unsecured loans and reinvent banking by challenging the cost of capital related to the banks ability to create credit? As of today, banks have a competitive advantage due to the abilityto create money through the banking license, but regulations sometimes tend to backfire, and in that case marketplace lending could be perceived as “a rare bird in the lands and very much like a black swan.”