Online crowdfunding platforms for European Investors

How to invest money and make a 10% return or more!? (This piece is for European’s only)

10% interest right now sounds incredible. But some of these online crowdfunding platforms have even better returns. Some easily reach 12% and sometimes even 15%.

How is it possible? It sounds too good to be true and maybe it is.

As you will see below, for now, I’m just experimenting. I recently found out about such platforms and I am, in no way, a master at it.

The cutest piggy bank!

Important & necessary: This isn’t financial advice. I’m not a financial expert as you may have previously understood and how you can see below. This is solely based on my very recent experience.

There is crowdfunding and crowdfunding!

I’ve always loved the power of crowdfunding. I helped one of my favorite vegan shoes company on Kickstarter when they got in a bit of a slump. I got great boots out of it!

I also bought my bicycle electric wheel on Kickstarter. This was a genius idea, it cost me half of what I would have had to pay afterward and it worked well. Admittedly, I often felt that I was riding with a prototype. Still, I managed to keep my vintage bike and ‘electrify’ it! Total win!

The list goes on because, over time, I did participate in several crowdfunding projects.

But then I stopped, because, I didn’t want to buy something else. I still wanted to support the growth of great environmental friendly projects, but not by buying stuff. I wanted to earn money!

I tried to register on some online platforms, but the ones I tried didn’t accept non US investors or there were other restrictions which meant I couldn’t participate.

I had pretty much given up but recently, my prayers got answered and I finally found some European crowdfunding investment platforms and I tried them immediately!

European crowdfunding investment platforms

Most of these online platforms are not new. Some are over 10 years old! Clearly, I just had not look for them properly! I’m a little pissed at myself really, but it probably means I wasn’t ready.

Here are a few names: Bondora, Brickstarter, Debitum Network, EthicHub, FastInvest, Mintos, Nibble, Raizers, Robocash, Twino… There are a lot more.

Some are specific to a country or even a region. Most invest only in Euros but some are broader. A lot of them relates to consumer credits, some to real estate, others to the financing of small companies.

How it works? Some partial answers

I am in no way a master of the matter. I understood some of it but, in truth, all these platforms have their specificities.

So, they are all different and yet all have the same basic. You deposit a certain amount in your account and it gets invested in different projects. This spreads the risks. So if you invest 100 euros, such amount might be invested by the platform in 5, 10 different projects or even more.

It seems that for most of them, the investment process is pretty much automatic once you have defined your own parameters.

All of them are free to use or at least most of them (I didn’t check them all).

These online investment platforms are not banks but should be registered as financial institution or something like it.

A lot of them are based in Eastern Europe! Why?! No clue… Robocash is Russian. Do with this as you will.

But the main question remains, how in the World do you get a 10% interest rate or even higher?!

As mentionner above, these platforms usually invest in consumer credits, real estate & small companies.

If you have a credit card, you may have realized that the interest rates are pretty high. If you’ve ever selected the “Pay in 3 installments” option when buying something, you should know there is most likely a company behind this choice who repurchased your debt and made money out of it, or something like that. As for real estate, returns can easily be that high on a project. And for small companies, I guess they don’t always get friendly loans, I don’t know.

When investing on such online platforms, you don’t get any of the details of the people who borrowed money. You just participate in a pool which refinances the loans originators. It’s quite abstract but seems to work out for every body.

And the other super important question is: How safe is your money?

A lot of these platform give some guarantees about your capital upfront, but quite frankly when you dig into the terms and conditions and the user agreement, it’s not that clear.

However, they all remind you that investing has some risks!

The ethical dilemma

To be honest, I’m not 100% confortable with the platforms I have decided to try. I’m happy that these are pretty much all automatic because I’m not sure I could make the right investment decisions. But at the same time, I’m not sure my money is put to good use.

What if my money is used to fund something that doesn’t align with my values? The next big pipeline, a meat factory, a mine, a company that produces plastic junk… I will never know, but the likelihood it is the case is there and it bother me.

As for consumer credits, I don’t know. Am I confortable with financing those? No idea. There are good and bad I suppose but credit cards are a part of our lives.

The 2 online crowdfunding platforms I’m trying right now

So far, I’ve invested money on 2 of the platforms named above: Robocash and Mintos.

The registration process was easy enough. They both had identity check. Had issues with Mintos at first, but their customer services quickly corrected this.

Transferring money is easy on both. Then you get to create your investment profile and within a day or 2, all your money is automatically invested and accrued interest & paid interest are displayed on a summary page.

You also get some general info on what’s going on. How much your portfolio is, how much has been invested, or when a repayment is late for example.

The interest earned can be automatically reinvested, if you selected such option.

It’s pretty easy and yet I must have messed up my set up with Mintos because my interest rate is 8.65% in the first portfolio I created. Then I created a second portfolio and the rate there is 12%!

I may have messed up on Robocash too actually as my average interest rate is 10.5% whereas some loans are 12.5%.

Clearly, a little bit more work is required on my side, to understand all of this!

I can’t say much more than that about such platforms, because it’s been less than 2 months. It’s fun to see the accrued interest and paid interest go up and up and up! Even if by just a couple cents!

Being super safe & conservative – what I “invested”

As previously discussed, I have a super tight budget. This is something I started during my depth year and no-buy challenge year. Before that, I didn’t know how I spent my money.

This year, I created an even tighter budget. As a challenge! In January and February, it went super well. I was so good that I saved 800 euros, compare to what I was allowed to spent based on such budget. However in March and April, I had to buy a new phone, pay my motorcycle insurance, buy tires for the new bike, etc and I went over budget.

All in all, since the beginning of the year, I ‘saved’ a little over 500 euros compare to my tight budget.

So, this is what I have invested in these online platform.

I will most likely manage to add some more, to this initial amount, as months passes.

Because for now, I consider this as an expense. I know it’s an investment! But to consider it as an expense makes me less likely to cry, if I was to lose everything (I still would!).

Indeed, it would still be very upsetting to lose such money but it wouldn’t be significant, for my financial health.

The cutest piggy bank
My piggy bank keeps my money safe! But she doesn’t do much with it 😉

Look, this may sound ridiculous to you but I’m just dabbling my feet for now. I might regret later not having put a lot more money than this, but I can’t psychologically handle the risk. It would keep me awake at night.

Obviously I know, this investment isn’t going to make me a millionaire. 500 euros invested at 10% makes 50 euros over one year! I know, ok!

But one has to do what one feels confortable with. And for now, I’m confortable building up slowly my portfolio.

The other platforms I want to try

There is another platforms or 2 that I would like to try.

The first one is Raizers. They provide loans to finance real estate projects, mostly in France and that is something I fully comprehend!

The entry ticket is 1000 euros so I’m going to wait a little. This type of investment is usually for 2 years or so, so it is an important factor to consider.

The other thing I want to try is to find a platform that finances only environmental friendly projects. I have found a few, but none that have convinced me so far. Will keep looking!

*****

That’s it!! You see no financial advise here. Just my little story on how I finally found a place to invest online, with great to amazing returns, without doing much!

It’s more of an experiment for now, because that’s what I’m confortable with, but over time, I might make it a thing. I would have to invest a truck load more, to pay for the yearly reimbursement for my new apartment though!!

I’m still really happy. I have finally taken a first step in the right direction! Learning and experimenting along the way…

Online crowdfunding platform for European Investors