Esketit : the P2P nugget
of the Creamfinance group
Esketit is a P2P lending platform that emerged quickly, driven by the power and expertise of the Creamfinance group. The aim was to distance itself from the Mintos marketplace.
The founders of Creamfinance created Esketit and brought their experience in fintech-based investments to the table.
Beyond these aspects, it was important to analyse this P2P lending platform objectively and factually. And this is what I have done below, with the desire to inject a small dose of my personal experience.
What is Esketit ?
The company Esketit Platform Limited
The company “Esketit Platform Limited” started its activity in July 2020 in Dublin, Ireland under the registration number IE673443. The platform was originally set up under the name “MDP2P” in reference to the family names of its founders.
The founders are no strangers, as they also set up the Creamfinance group in 2012 to offer financial products in emerging markets.
The group, which they still manage, is present in 8 countries and employs more than 500 people for an annual turnover of €80M.
Legally, Esketit has adopted an almost identical organisation to Lendermarket. Although the platform is under Irish jurisdiction, its operational team is based in Riga, Latvia (SIA “Esketit” n°40203276948).
But Esketit offers a feature that sets it apart from other P2P platforms. It is the only one to date where it is possible to invest using cryptocurrencies (USDC, USDT).
The P2P platform Esketit was created by two Lithuanian Fintech entrepreneurs : Matiss Ansviesulis and Davis Barons, pioneers of P2P lending in Europe.
Matiss Ansviesulis is an entrepreneur who graduated from Lancaster University in the UK with a degree in business. He also studied political science at the London School of Economics and venture capital at Berkeley in California (USA).
Matiss started his career in 2010 as a Money Market Trader at J.P. Morgan in London. In 2012, he successfully launched Creamfinance alongside David Barons.
He can also be found on the board of directors of several companies (Tagvenue, FIC Network, AirBoard) or on his vlog dedicated to the life of an entrepreneur.
Davis Barons graduated from the University of Riga in Latvia with a degree in Environmental Science. He later completed his education with studies in venture capital at Berkeley and in corporate finance at Insead.
In the past, Davis was CEO of Green Fortune, a company dedicated to greening urban spaces through science and technology. He then co-founded Creamfinance alongside Matiss as Chairman of the Board.
After his training in accounting and finance, Vitalijs Zalovs started his career with the Nordea Group. This is one of the largest financial groups in Northern Europe (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway) with a total of almost 30,000 employees.
Following this, Vitalijs participated in the launch of Mintos in 2015 as a Credit Specialist. He soon became responsible for the investor department.
In April 2021, he became head of the Esketit platform, drawing on his experience in financial intermediation, both banking and non-banking.
Daina Ruka has gained extensive accounting and financial experience in several large international companies. She started as an auditor for the consulting firm KPMG, where she developed her skills in financial control.
Then, after obtaining an MBA in Finance at the Riga Business School, she joined Mogo Finance, one of the main groups listed on Mintos.
Her career path naturally led her to take over the financial management of Esketit in 2021 together with Vitalijs Zalovs.
Some figures for 2022
Here are some figures for the current year :
- Total amount of funds invested : €54M
- Total amount paid to investors : €865K
- Number of investors : ~ 2,600
- Average portfolio per investor : €12,092
The number of investors on Esketit is still small, but they do not hesitate to invest an average amount of capital that is much higher than the average for the sector, a sign of the confidence they have in it.
In addition, Esketit is now approaching an average loan volume of over €9M per month, which is about the same as Swaper’s level.
This is clearly a sign of a P2P platform that is set to become one of the future major players in the sector.
Hardly known by the general public, Esketit has a majority of investors who are rather experienced in P2P lending. However, there is no doubt that it will soon become very popular among new investors.
How does Esketit work ?
Esketit is a marketplace
The Esketit P2P lending platform is an online marketplace where consumer lending companies (or “loan originators”) offer an opportunity to invest alongside them in return for a pre-determined interest rate.
The loan originators listed on Esketit provide loans to individuals in return for monthly interest payments. Some of these loans are then offered to investors on Esketit.
In this way, loan originators can have more capital available for their activities.
Mechanically, although they pay a large part of the interest back to the investors, these loan originators also receive interest but from capital that does not belong to them.
Some of these loan originators are subsidiaries of the international Creamfinance group while the others were created by the founders of Esketit.
On the investor side, we can grow our capital at much better returns than in the traditional banking network (between 12% and 14% on Esketit).
Typically, investors are individuals, but those with significant capital may set up a dedicated investment company.
Esketit is therefore the virtual marketplace where loan originators seeking additional funding and investors wishing to invest their savings meet.
In exchange for this intermediary role, the Esketit platform receives a small share of the interest generated, thus enabling it to ensure that the transactions are carried out properly.
The Creamfinance group
Matiss Ansviesulis and Davis Barons laid the foundations of Creamfinance in 2012 in Riga, Latvia with SIA Creamfinance Latvia. In the years that followed, the business quickly took off to expand across Europe and even beyond to South America.
The group is now run from Creamfinance Holding Ltd and has 9 subsidiaries in a total of 6 countries. All of these companies are centred around the provision of short term loans, credit lines and installment loans to individuals.
To support its growth, the group headed by Patrick Köck is developing automated data analysis models of the machine-learning type (a branch of artificial intelligence).
These computer programmes are developed by the Austrian-based subsidiary Creamfinance IT.
This technological strategy, based on the in-house development of technological building blocks, quickly paid off.
Creamfinance was successively ranked in 2016 and 2017 as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies (Inc. 5000 ranking).
This high-growth strategy has enabled it to develop its international presence :
- Creamfinance Czech s.r.o. (Czech Republic)
- Creamfinance Spain S.L.U. (Spain)
- Moneyveo México S.A. (Mexico)
- Kim Finance Sp z.o.o. (Poland)
- MDP Finance Sp z.o.o. (Poland)
- DJK Finance Sp z.o.o. (Poland)
- CreditON Group SIA (Latvia)
- SIA Creamfinance Latvia (Latvia)
- Creamfinance Denmark APS (Denmark)
Of these 9 companies, 5 have joined Esketit : the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland (except DJK Finance) and Mexico. This leaves room for growth and interesting prospects for the future.
It should also be noted that Creamfinance still uses the services of Mintos for other companies, notably for its Polish subsidiaries.
The other loan originator
The other loan originatos was founded by Matiss Ansviesulis and Davis Barons outside of Creamfinance but in partnership with other established Fintech players.
This is the Jordanian company Money For Finance.
Money For Finance (Al Mal Finance Company LLC) offers small consumer loans (under €600) with a 30-day maturity. Launched in December 2020, the company currently operates five branches.
The company was established in partnership with Juris Čirkovs, another successful Fintech entrepreneur. It is headed by Jordanian Hamzeh Mahafzah who previously worked in the banking sector (Capital Bank of Jordan , Bank al Etihad).
Chronology of an investment
On Esketit, the minimum amount that can be invested in a loan is €10. An investor can therefore quickly diversify his assets on this platform.
Currently, the interest rates paid on Esketit vary between 12% and 14% depending on the loan originator.
In addition, there is a loyalty programme which allows you to obtain a bonus rate of +0.5% or +1% depending on the amount invested. This brings the maximum return on Esketit to 15%.
I started on Esketit quite recently since I opened my account in May 2022. But considering the quality of this very solid platform (see my ranking), I will increase and consolidate my investments continuously.
The majority of loan terms on Esketit are between 1 and 3 months, making it a very liquid marketplace. Some of the investments on offer are for up to 28 months at the most, but these are rare.
In any case, interest is paid every month regardless of the company in which one invests. The investor receives both the repayment of part of his capital and the payment of interest corresponding to a period of 30 days.
If the borrower is late in repaying the loan, they have to pay additional interest for each day of delay.
If this delay reaches 60 days, it triggers the buyback guarantee : the capital is repaid in full and the interest due is also paid in full (including interest on arrears).
In this case, Esketit’s operation is rather standard compared to other P2P lending players in Europe. This mode of operation provides good predictability thanks to a clearly defined payment schedule.
Investing on Esketit
Who can invest on Esketit ?
Investing on Esketit is very simple as you only need to be 18 years old and have a bank account within the European Union or the European Economic Area whose countries accept SEPA payments.
Esketit does not require you to be physically or fiscally resident.
For example, a German living and working in Cambodia can become an investor on Esketit as long as he has a bank account in the EEA.
It should be noted that a company can also register on Esketit if it can prove its legal existence (registration in the trade directory, legal representatives, etc.) and if it has a bank account in the EEA.
Once a company has a European bank account, this is sufficient for Esketit to comply with European anti-money laundering legislation.
Currently, Esketit has a majority of experienced P2P lending investors looking to diversify their assets (including me). They come mainly from these countries :
What can you invest in on Esketit ?
A majority of the investments offered on Esketit are short term loans (less than 30 days). But it is also possible to invest in staggered loans (less than 28 months).
Apart from the term of the loan, Esketit specifies the country of investment and the return that is offered to us as an investor. We don’t have any information about the borrower’s record, which is fine by me.
I am not interested in the borrower’s pedigree and the reasons for the loan as I would be unable to assess the borrower’s case.
It is the role of loan originators, staffed by lending professionals, to review borrowers’ files.
I put part of my capital at the disposal of these financial partners, focusing on the rate offered and the country where I intend to invest. The rest is the work of the teams on the ground.
In this sense, Esketit benefits from the experience of Creamfinance and the technical expertise of its IT teams to make the right decisions.
Where can you invest with Esketit ?
One of the strengths of Esketit that interested me the most was the diversity of the geographical areas. I can invest in the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland, Mexico and Jordan.
In fact, Esketit offers investments on three different continents : Europe, North America and Asia.
From this point of view, it is certainly one of the most diversified platforms that I know of to date.
It is interesting to be able to spread one’s capital over economic zones with very little correlation and thus diversify one’s investments.
For my part, I am happy to be able to add three countries (JO, MX, LK) to my P2P lending portfolio and thus increase the coverage area of my assets.
It took me 5 minutes to create my account on Esketit. The process is simple, fast and fully automated.
All you need is a valid ID, a smartphone and a valid email. Account creation is instantaneous and validation of the ID is done within the hour, regardless of the day of the week.
Esketit then asks standard questions for a P2P lending platform : where we get our income from and how much we want to invest. And we have to certify that we are not politically “exposed” (like Julian Assange for example).
Esketit also asks us for our address and country of residence. This is perfectly normal, as the platform is legally obliged to ask for this information.
But what really matters is the location of our bank account (regardless of citizenship). This account must be located in the European Economic Area (to avoid money laundering).
(Transfer)Wise accounts are allowed provided that they are denominated in euro.
How do you invest on Esketit ?
Just like other platforms (read my review of Lendermarket), Esketit gives us the possibility to invest manually on the loans that are listed.
To do this, simply go to the “Market” tab and select either the primary or secondary market. From there, it is possible to filter the loans according to our investment criteria :
- Type of loan
- Borrower’s country
- Loan originator
- Loan with / without extension
- Interest rate
- Remaining term
- Proposed amount
From the list of loans that appears, all that remains is to choose the one that interests you and then click on “Invest”. You can then enter the amount you wish to invest and that’s it!
The 3 Esketit strategies
The Esketit platform also offers us automated investment strategies that its teams have predefined themselves. It offers us 3 strategies that will allocate our capital differently between the different loan originators.
Diversified strategy : 1/3 of our capital is invested in the Czech Republic, 1/3 in Spain and 1/3 in Jordan. The average expected return is 12%.
Jordan strategy : we only invest in loans originating in Jordan with an overall return set at 14% per annum.
Creamfinance strategy : here our investments are split half towards the Czech Republic and half towards Spain with an estimated average yield of 11%.
The customisable strategy
It is also possible to create your own fully customised and automated strategy (and even several). Esketit thus caters to investors looking for a different allocation than the strategies predefined by Esketit.
Creating an automated investment portfolio on Esketit is quite standard.
To do this, simply go to “Auto-invest” and then “Custom strategy” and define the investment criteria in the same way as the manual investment.
Once our funds are invested, Esketit provides the loan agreement for each investment made.
Is it safe to invest on Esketit ?
Whatever asset we invest in, by definition it carries a certain level of risk (stock market, cryptos, real estate, etc.).
Here I highlight the points that I think are important about Esketit. It is from these and several other elements that I decided to invest on this P2P lending platform in May 2022.
The Creamfinance Group guarantee
The Esketit platform is owned 50/50 by the founders and shareholders of the Creamfinance group : Matiss Ansviesulis and Davis Barons. It is therefore in their interest to establish a strong partnership between the two entities.
As a result, Creamfinance places a portion of its proposed loans for investment on Esketit, a portion that I would like to see grow over time.
The 2021 report is particularly impressive as it shows a turnover of €45.4m and a historic profit of €3.4m.
Thus, in addition to each company’s own buyback guarantee, Creamfinance brings its group guarantee to its five subsidiaries on Esketit :
- Creditair (Creamfinance Czech s.r.o.) 🇨🇿
- Creditosi (Creamfinance Spain S.L.U.) 🇪🇸
- Lendon.pl (Kim Finance Sp z.o.o.) 🇵🇱
- Extraportfel (MDP Finance Sp z.o.o.) 🇵🇱
- Lendon.mx (Moneyveo México S.A.) 🇲🇽
It should be noted that the other company involved in Esketit, Money For Finance, does not benefit from the group guarantee as it is owned directly by Matiss Ansviesulis and Davis Barons, not Creamfinance.
Overall, this group guarantee (combined with the seniority of the loan originators, their profitability and the annual audits) explains why the Esketit platform scores so well on loan security in my P2P ranking.
Admittedly, this only concerns Creamfinance subsidiaries, but on the one hand I trust the expertise of the other companies listed, and on the other hand there is nothing to prevent me from investing only in companies owned by the group.
Esketit is quite amazing from the point of view of geographical diversification. Despite a small number of operators (6 in total), the platform offers investments on three different continents.
As on Lendermarket, you can find investments in the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain (Read: Lendermarket analysis and opinion). But you can also invest in the Middle East (Jordan) or South America (Mexico).
This geographical diversity is systematically accompanied by a buyback guarantee on 100% of the loans listed for investment.
Esketit is not regulated
Like the vast majority of P2P lending platforms, Esketit is not regulated as Ireland is very liberal in this respect.
With 10 years of experience, the founders of Esketit have chosen the best possible legal environment for the platform (and therefore for investors) with Ireland.
However, in discussion with the CEO of Esketit, they are considering obtaining a licence in the medium term, although Irish law does not require this.
First annual report expected
Although the founders are very experienced in P2P lending, Esketit is still a fairly young platform. This explains why their first annual report is expected for 2021 (i.e. in 2022).
But of course, the platform is still in the development phase, which requires investments commensurate with their ambitions.
For the time being, the important thing to note is that Esketit intends to use an experienced auditing firm (BDO Ltd), and the audit will be performed in accordance with current international standards (IFRS).
My opinion on Esketit
Esketit has quickly become an important player in the European P2P lending scene, thanks in part to the excellent reputation and long experience of Creamfinance.
The Creamfinance group quickly brought it a significant flow of investment. At the same time, investors quickly trusted the professionalism of its founders.
I find that Esketit has all the fundamentals I need for my investment practice. But I expect some improvements in terms of geographical diversity and user experience.
Diversify loan originators
The strength of Esketit is that it offers geographically decorrelated investments located on three different continents.
But Esketit still has a lot of room for improvement if it is to offer truly effective geographical diversity.
Firstly, of the 5 loan originators present, only 3 currently provide investments on the platform : Spain, Czech Republic and Jordan.
It is noted that no loans are offered from Latvia and Mexico in particular.
And more generally, investors would like Esketit to offer more companies on its platform (especially in Europe).
This would further increase the confidence of investors, who would in turn invest even more.
Observing cash-drag means that our capital is not fully invested, which lowers the return of the platform.
Cash-drag is the enemy of the investor who seeks to maximise his return on investment while spending as little time as possible on monitoring his platforms.
However, I have never seen the slightest cash-drag on Esketit, which constantly offers very large quantities of loans to invest in.
Not only do investors find loans in abundance, but also at relatively attractive rates.
An active secondary market
When I started investing on Esketit, I was (pleasantly) surprised to find that the platform offered a secondary market. This is rare enough to be highlighted.
But on top of that, the feedback is very positive. The tests carried out show that resales are taking place quickly.
It is possible to sell €10K of investments in one day, which is quite exceptional.
This relatively high level of liquidity is an important consideration for particularly active investors.
This particularly high level of liquidity should not obscure the fact that Esketit is still a young platform created in 2019.
It is true that its growth has been relatively rapid so far, but it still has some milestones to reach. In particular, it has to pass the threshold of 10,000 registered investors and €100 million in loans funded.
Once this is done, I expect a significant influx of new investors. It is then up to Esketit to be able to absorb this influx of capital by offering even more investment opportunities.
Improving the investor experience
At present, the Esketit platform is fairly easy to use. But some features are not very intuitive, while others are a bit limited.
In the predefined strategies, the cash-out function is rather confusing. You have to set a target amount that is lower than the invested amount in order to activate the cash-out.
On the self-investment side, it is also a pity that there is no possibility to set a minimum and maximum amount to invest per loan.
This is the reason why I prefer manual investment for the moment on Esketit.
Alternatives to Esketit ?
But I wouldn’t be surprised if Esketit replaces some of the second-tier platforms, such as Iuvo, in the portfolio of established investors.
When I evaluated Esketit against my usual fifty different criteria (see my ranking), the platform quickly made it into the top five.
This is largely due to the returns offered on the one hand and the level of security of the investments listed on the other.
This is why Esketit quickly became part of my portfolio to diversify my P2P lending assets.
To this I would add that I am quite a fan of the founders who have a real entrepreneurial spirit, who have mastered online and offline communication, and who even like me on Twitter sometimes.
They succeeded in creating a strong international group while quickly (after only 10 years) handing over the reins to a CEO who had come through the ranks of the group.
From a professional point of view, this is rare enough to be noted as it is an act that few entrepreneurs are capable of (or are forced to do).
It also shows their desire to develop their new nugget Esketit by focusing on its growth.
For my part, I am very satisfied with this platform even if I expect a real advance in terms of development and diversification of loan originators. And I will also be vigilant on the financial ratios that the platform will not fail to produce each year.
But today, Esketit has all the cards in hand to do great things and become a reference in Europe.
Glad to be part of the adventure !
I hope that my analysis of Esketit has given you a better understanding of this platform and helped you decide if it fits into your P2P lending strategy or not.
As usual, the idea is to offer a factual analysis and to share my point of view as a private investor (I am not a financial advisor).
I remain available for any questions or additional information that I may have forgotten.
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