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Maclear Review

Maclear review
P2B lending platform Maclear

Maclear AG is a Swiss peer-to-business (P2B) lending platform specialising in funding projects initiated by small business companies. Investors can invest in collateral-backed business loans offered through this platform under the supervision of the PolyReg General Self-Regulatory Organisation in Zurich.

Despite being relatively recent, Maclear is astonishing for the quality and technical sophistication of its platform, which, as well as demonstrating the professionalism and high standards of its management team, will make many other platforms jealous.

Let’s perform the Maclear AG review together.

Table des matières

What is Maclear ?

Maclear is a peer-to-business lending platform operating from Switzerland that connects investors with companies located in Estonia. Starting from €50, the funds raised are used to lend money to these companies needing capital to invest in production capacity, technical equipment or manpower in order to scale their revenue and profits.

The company “Maclear AG”

Between 2010 and 2020, Maclear AG was developing GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) software solutions and then was acquired by the current owners to become a peer-to-business lending platform.

They initially thought the software resources of the company would be an asset to implement a platform but eventually built their own IT product between 2020 and 2022.

Maclear is a P2B platform

Then, Maclear AG started its P2B lending activity in 2023 and is now located in Wallisellen, Switzerland and registered under the UID number CHE-115.674.165. The base capital of the company is 217,360 CHF (€226 K), in line with the amounts observed in the P2P industry.

Maclear AG is regulated in Switzerland by a Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO), under supervision of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), as a financial intermediary of the non-banking sector.

According to the Swiss regulatory framework, Maclear AG can serve as collateral and collection agent for European investors, besides the role of payment processing agent (membership confirmation).

FINMA

Maclear founders

Maclear AG was founded by two Estonian professionals in the fields of entrepreneurship, banking and investment who noticed the difficulties and complications encountered by small business companies in obtaining traditional bank financing :

Denis Ustjev is an advisory and consultancy professional with several years of experience in business consulting and capital investment. He is the man behind the idea of Maclear and owns 50% of the shares of Maclear AG alongside his friend and associate.

Aleksandr Nikitin is an expert in foreign trade, industrial projects and investments with confirmed skills in financial strategy, business analysis and banking. He also owns as an individual 50% of the shares as indicated in the share register.

Denis Ustjev

Denis Ustjev

Aleksandr Nikitin

Aleksandr Nikitin

The management team

In addition to being co-founder, Denis Ustjev is also CEO of Maclear AG. He obtained a Master of Business Administration in 2008 and has worked as Investment Planner and Financial Advisor successively for Unibank and TCF Financial Corporation.

Apart from the general management, Denis takes care of the company’s compliance with regulatory requirements, follows IT developments of the platform and coordinates with service providers (banks, payment systems, custody, verification,etc.)

The second co-founder, Aleksandr Nikitin, is the CFO of the company. After an MBA in Corporate Management and Economics obtained in 2010, he joined Zimmer International L.P. as Head of Business Development and developed skills in banking and financial modelling.

Unibank

Aleksandr is in charge of the accounting and the financial reporting, but he also actively participates in the project selection and monitoring, and is simultaneously responsible for proper and careful risk assessment implementation within the company.

Alexej Martin is the Director in charge of legal matters in connection with banking and financial market law, including capital and licence requirements. He covers KYC procedures, due diligence, pre-compliance checks and onboarding procedures for new clients.

Alexej is a lawyer holding simultaneously a Relationship Manager position at MBaer Merchant Bank AG in Zürich. He is a graduate of the University of Bielefeld (Legal Studies), the University of Münster (Asset Management) and the University of Liechtenstein (Bank and Financial Market Law).

Igor Bannikov, as Chief Risk Officer, is in charge of AML policy and ensures the compliance of the projects listed with industry standards. He monitors their proper verification and full assessment through due diligence reports and risk scoring prepared by the team.

Alexej Martin

Alexej Martin

Igor Bannikov

Igor Bannikov

Maclear statistics in 2024

Here are some statistics for the current year:

  • Total funds invested : €934,1 K
  • Total interests paid to investors : €9,7 K
  • Average annual return : 15.1%
  • Number of investors : 541
  • Average portfolio per investor : €1,225

Although difficult to assess at this stage, the platform’s beginnings look interesting, both in terms of the amounts already funded and the number of investors who have invested. Moreover, the average portfolio per investor is twice that of Swaper.

How does Maclear work ?

Maclear is a P2B marketplace where small businesses from various sectors offer individual and corporate investors the opportunity to fund their development projects. The investments benefit from a guarantee and they are backed with collateral. In return, the companies reimburse the capital and pay interests according to a predefined schedule.

Dashboard on Maclear

Maclear is a P2B marketplace

Maclear AG is a peer-to-business (P2B) lending platform specialised in small business financing (production, retail, services). The platform connects investors with companies, mainly SMEs, looking for funding to develop their in-house projects.

On one hand, there are companies that need additional capital to fund their growth through these industrial or business development projects. Their objective is to get additional funding capacity, raise their revenues and reimburse their loan with interest.

On the other hand, there are investors (individuals or companies) are looking for financial opportunities to invest their capital. They are ready to lend their money to these businesses in exchange for interest on the capital invested according to a payment schedule.

How P2B lending platform Maclear works

The reason why these companies in the manufacturing, services and retail sectors are turning to P2B lending platforms is that the excessive bureaucracy of banks is making it increasingly difficult and time-consuming to obtain loans, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.

These companies will therefore turn to private investors for a temporary injection of capital, and submit an application which will be pre-selected by the P2B platform. In particular, they must explain the nature of the project, describe its business plan and prove its profitability.

Maclear AG therefore acts as the intermediary body between the borrowing companies and the investors willing to invest in their projects. The platform performs valuation and verification processes before listing any project and is also assigned the role of payment processing agent.

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It should also be noted that, in line with the contractual framework, the platform serves as collateral agent securing the loans issued to the companies and as payment processing agent to transfer reimbursements.

Their role is to enforce rights against the collateral (pledge, guarantee, etc.) in the event of the borrower’s default.

In return, these companies pay a commission to Maclear based on the funding obtained for their project. The platform also charges for various consulting services they provide, such as financial modelling, business plans preparation, business valuation, and risk assessment.

Business advisory meeting

Chronology of a P2B investment

On Maclear AG, the minimum amount that can be invested in a project is €50, generally for a period of 12 months (sometimes less). For each investment they make, investors receive two contractual documents : a claim assignment agreement and a repayment schedule.

Most of the projects are funded by bullet loans, meaning that the borrower pays the interest on a monthly basis (Interest rates range from 13.5% to 15.8%) and the principal amount is reimbursed in full when the loan matures.

For each project a “minimum target” is specified, meaning that if this amount is not reached, all reserved funds are credited back to investors. A “maximum target” is also indicated which stops the fundraising when altogether the total investments reach this amount.

Peer-to-Business lending platform Maclear

The projects are generally listed on the platform for 1 to 2 months, which is sufficient in most of the cases. But borrowers have the option to extend the campaign duration at their discretion if the funds have not been raised during the initial fundraising period.

Once the fundraising campaign is successful, the interest payments happen every 30 days during the contractual period. The borrower can repay the loan earlier but they have to return the principal and interest accrued during the shortened period (with a minimum of 3 months).

On the other hand, if the borrower defaults on monthly interest payments for more than 3 days, Maclear will continue paying out interest payments from their provision fund until the borrower resumes interest payments according to the repayment schedule.

Best p2p lending returns ranking

Investing on Maclear

Who can invest on Maclear ?

To invest on Maclear AG, you just need to be at least 18 years old and be resident from the European Economic Area (EEA). Concerning the bank account, there is no particular condition and no restriction applies in this respect except to open it in the investor’s name.

It is also possible to invest through a company account provided that the person opening the account provides additional documents : company representatives, their right to represent the company, a commercial register extract, etc.

According to their latest statistics, investors on the platform mainly come from the following countries :

  • 🇩🇪 Germany 29%
  • 🇪🇸 Spain 23%
  • 🇬🇷 Greece 18%
  • 🇨🇭 Switzerland 14%
  • 🇮🇹 Italy 7%
  • 🇪🇺 Other EU countries 9%

But for now Maclear is only available in English and in German, which are obviously essentials, but the platform will certainly need to extend the number of languages in the future if the team wants to cover more countries and more investors.

Maclear referral

What do we invest in ?

The P2B platform Maclear offers the chance to invest in loans issued to small and medium size companies demonstrating sustainable business development and which are capable of generating stable revenues in the short and medium term.

The loan application is based on a development project proposed by these companies in real sector businesses (production, manufacturing, retail, etc.) which demonstrate sustainable performance.

In addition to minimising the risk related to the potential default of a borrower, the loan is entirely covered by real collateral from the businesses (similarly to Debitum). The collateral is mainly company tangible assets like machinery, manufacturing equipment, tools, instruments, etc.

Project sample

Where do we invest ?

The founders decided purposely to start with business projects originated from Estonia, their home country. Investing in Estonia is interesting because, apart from Lendermarket, there are relatively few platforms offering business investments in this country.

With this strategy, the management team is able to personally assess the business fundamentals, monitor their progress, and control their overall performance directly on the company’s premises.

Later on, their objective is to diversify their offer geographically and offer business projects from EU neighbouring countries. In particular, countries such as Lithuania and Finland or Switzerland and Austria where they currently assess a few potential borrowing projects.

Best P2P Lending platforms

Registration process

To register as an investor takes a few minutes thanks to online identity verification provided by SumSub KYC/AML service. For that, each investor needs a passport or an ID card, a valid email address and their smartphone or computer for photo (sometimes video) verification.

Only when the investor has been through anti-money laundering procedures, are they able to transfer funds to their account (the platform did not set any minimum or maximum amounts for the transfers).

It generally takes 1-3 business days or even faster with international online banks such as Wise, which does not charge fees for euro deposits (Maclear AG does not charge any fees for our deposits and withdrawals).

Maclear takes no fees to invest

Considering Maclear AG has only recently started its activities, the registration and investing conditions are particularly attractive for a limited period of time.

In addition to the standard annual interest on each project (between 12.5% and 12.8%), Maclear adds the following standard and additional bonus :

  • 1.5% cash-back Bonus for 90 days only for investors going through my referral link (no referral code needed).
  • Additional interest rate between +1% and +3% on top of the standard annual return on investment (temporary bonus).
  • Fixed amount of €30 for each €500 invested, meaning €60 for €1,000 invested, €90 for €1,500 invested, etc (temporary bonus).

Maclear referral

The founders have decided not to make any profit to be able to attract early investors and give them the most value they can to build trust and develop their P2B platform.

Moreover, the platform offers a loyalty program : this is an additional interest rate on top of the standard annual return on investment, that can be combined with all other bonuses described above.

There are 4 loyalty bonus levels:

  • Beta : +0.5% over €5,000 invested
  • Beta Plus : +1% over €15,000 invested
  • Alpha : +1.5% over €40,000 invested
  • Alpha Plus : +2% over €75,000 invested

Loyalty bonus until 2 percent

How to invest on Maclear ?

The P2B platform Maclear AG only offers manual investment into the projects even though the auto-invest feature should be made available within the next few months, as it is one the priorities of the management team.

But in the case of business investments and considering their duration, generally 12 months, manual investment is the best option.

To invest on Maclear, investors should refer to each project’s information, where the platform gives more details about the borrowing company, the project idea, the business plan and financial model, the market, and their key financials, as well as the collateral and guarantees they propose.

Maclear referral

In addition, the platform lists a number of details about the investments that should be taken into account by investors in deciding whether they want to invest or not :

  • Minimum target: amount to validate the investment
  • Maximum target: amount the borrower needs
  • Loan period: contractual duration of the loan
  • Interest rate: annual return on investment
  • Funded: amount already funded by investors
  • Available: amount available for other investors
  • Investors: people who have already invested
  • Project type: retail, manufacturing, etc.
  • Location: country in which the project is located
  • Interest payments: frequency of interest payments
  • Principal repayments: method of capital repayment

Is it safe to invest on Maclear AG ?

Maclear AG is a platform regulated by Swiss financial authorities offering clear risk management processes to assess companies and their projects. Moreover, as collateral agent, the platform offers a guarantee scheme based on collateral together with a provision fund to protect investors’ interests in case borrowing projects experience difficulties.

Is it safe to invest on Maclear ?

Pros to investing on Maclear

Regulated platform

As a member of PolyReg SRO, Maclear AG is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) as financial intermediary of the non-banking sector. They are subject to specific regulations to protect the interests of investors (disclosure requirements, due diligence processes, risk management practices).

They also have to ensure transparency in their operations thanks to a yearly financial audit (performed by BlueAUDIT GmbH), and an AML/AMLA audit (performed by Pfister Treuhand AG as one of the audit companies approved by PolyReg).

But at any time PolyReg can ask for an external audit as well, like they did in April 2023, assigning Grant Thornton. Maclear AG successfully passed the examination and makes available to all potential investors their Grant Thornton AML Audit report.

Anti Money Laundering audits

Good risk management

For each project, Maclear AG conducts a risk assessment process performed by their Chief Risk Officer and AML Officers. Using external data sources they perform due diligence on the company (owner, management team, historical and financial background).

Maclear also attributes a score to the project based on the company business model, reporting documents and their financial performance. They personally assess the borrower on site in Estonia to visit their physical production facilities and meet with their team.

Then, based on the risk assessment and score given to the project, they decide together with the borrower the potential loan target amount to be raised. They also agree on the collateral and guarantees to be provided to secure the loan and sign an IPAC (Investment Project Acceptance and Confirmation Agreement).

Risk management

Collateral as guarantee

The guarantee scheme implemented by Maclear AG is based on collateral provided by the borrowers to back up their business loan and to guarantee the fulfilment of their financial obligations : the pledge of assets, production equipment and machinery.

If a borrower fails to meet their contractual obligations, Maclear AG acts as a collateral agent on behalf of the investors to enforce collection and sale of pledges and additional guarantees.

In such a model, similar to Debitum, the platform carries out a plan of actions and measures and collects all necessary funds through the realisation of all collateral to cover the remaining principal of all participating investors as well as the outstanding amount of interest.

Collateral as guarantee

Maclear Provision Fund

In addition to the collateral scheme implemented for each business loan listed, Maclear offers another guarantee tool called the Provision Fund. On all successfully funded projects, the platform collects 2% from its own commission to redirect them to this Provision Fund.

The objective of the Provision Fund is to provide additional security to investors in case borrowing projects experience temporary difficulties in repayments, according to their schedule.

The Provision Fund is a guarantee for investors to receive their interest payments on time as well as the reimbursement of their principal amount. As collateral agent, the platform guarantees the schedule of payments to investors and may use the Provision Fund as a buffer if necessary.

No payments delays

Cons to investing on Maclear

A new P2P platform

As a new platform, Maclear has no operational history to demonstrate the ability of the team to effectively manage risk, set appropriate interest rates, and maintain operations. Nevertheless, the management shows extensive experience in capital investment and financial strategy.

They have demonstrated a clear protection strategy for their investors’ capital, providing clear and complementary guarantees in the event of default by a borrower.

But this system of guarantees relies on the platform itself, which must be financially sound if it is to fulfil its role as an intermediary. To do this, it is essential that the platform breaks even in the medium term (first financial report to be published in 2024).

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A single-country offering

The founders of Maclear decided to focus primarily on companies in their own country, Estonia, as they are familiar with its economic environment. In this way, they can personally assess the borrowers’ situation and do due diligence on site.

They give priority to the analysis of the first projects, which is inevitably to the detriment of geographical diversity, which is not to say that there is no diversification.

Investors diversify first and foremost by investing in different companies in different sectors. Geographic diversification, particularly in Europe (Switzerland, Austria, etc.), will come later to consolidate their business model.

Estonia

No secondary market

Maclear does not offer a secondary market yet, despite the duration of the investments, which may be an obstacle for some investors. Indeed investors placing their capital on short-term loans may prefer to invest on some more liquid platforms.

On the opposite side, medium- and long-term investors appreciate when they do not need to spend too much time reinvesting in mature loans. They place their money and leave it producing interests for months, meaning that the absence of a secondary market has no importance.

Experienced investors may also notice that a secondary market may lead to speculation when premium and discounts are offered. Some people invest massively and then resell at a premium making other investors unhappy (as on Esketit, for example).

Maclear referral

Opinion on Maclear

Maclear offers very attractive returns on investments that are secured by a wide range of strong collateral and guarantees. On top of that, as a collateral agent, the platform can legally enforce collection and sale of pledges and guarantees, on behalf of all the investors.

In addition, the platform offers a strong risk assessment policy (dedicated risk and AML officers, financial scoring process, visits on site). Moreover, a Provision Fund based on successful projects provides an additional guarantee for investors to receive their payments.

Yet, all these guarantee schemes rely on Maclear, which is still in an early stage of development and needs to establish a proven track record. Even though the legal entity Maclear was established years ago, the P2B lending activity is new and the platform still needs to gain trust.

Buyback guarantee in P2P lending

But on that, it is worth noting that Maclear is duly regulated and monitored by Swiss authorities through regular financial and AML audits performed by renowned companies. Moreover, the management team has a proven experience in capital investment and financial strategy.

The management team committed to publish their first activity report in 2024, that will show the ability of Maclear to have a sustainable business model. In the meantime, the platform is expanding thanks to high returns and interesting cash-back campaigns.

Actually, Maclear AG offers among the highest interest rates together with a loyalty program and cash-back upon registration. The platform made the choice to prioritise the size of its market in terms of number of investors and projects, over immediate short-term profitability.

Best p2p lending returns

One criticism that can be made about Maclear is the lack of liquidity, since projects generally last 12 months (sometimes less). But that’s forgetting that this is about financing business projects, which, by their very nature, need a certain amount of time to be properly implemented.

Finally, geographical diversification could potentially be improved, given that only projects located in Estonia are currently offered. However, Maclear does offer a certain amount of sector diversity, which is more important for managing risk properly.

The main challenge for Maclear is to demonstrate that their professional team will be able to turn this P2B platform into one of the fintech-based business lending leaders. In this respect, it’s worth mentioning that their website is one of the most visually impressive on the market.

Maclear referral

Thank you for reading this analysis.

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