Features, FINANCE

Potok.Digital’s business risks prognostication

Since its launch, website Potok.Digital owned by Alfa-Bank, has issued over RUR 1 bln loans and is now growing by 30% a month. By the growth rate, the service is ahead of its competitors who have disclosed their statistics.

We see a stream falling from point 23 | Drawing by Yuri Aratovsky

How it works

Potok.Digital was established in August 2016 and according to Kontur Focus, closed the year with a net loss of RUR 11.8 mio ($219K). Until late November 2017 the company was owned by a Cypriot offshore entity, Abh Financial Limited, affiliated with Alfa Group. Since November 23 though it is owned by Alfa-Bank. It should be noted that the change in the ownership took place a month before the “Kremlin list” was published. The list included, among others, Alfa-Bank beneficiaries, Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven whom the US threatened to sanction by freezing their accounts.

Potok.Digital is a crowdlending platform where individuals can grant loans to small businesses. For a small company it is always a challenge to get a loan in a large bank. Potok.Digital founders intend to resolve the problem and offer small companies an opportunity of getting credit loans from private lenders. A borrower is to submit respective documents (usually, a banking statement), undergo some scoring process (which happens automatically, without a personal interview with a prospect borrower), and then, within two days, can receive the money requested. There is no need to visit the bank or to provide a collateral. The facility can range between RUR 100K and RUR 2 mio and is extended at 2% per day.

To get a loan at Potok.Digital, a company has to operate for at least 12 months and maintain a positive balance on its settlement account for the last ten months.

A Potok.Digital investor can make up to 30% per annum which is three times higher than a bank deposit interest. The minimum installment for an investor is RUR 10K ($170).

Potok.Digital has become a leader in crowdlending and crowdinvesting in Russia along with Start Track, Town Money, Venture Club, and Planeta.ru. In this context Karma decentralized P2P loans platform can be mentioned as well. Last January, it raised $10 mio at an ICO.

In 2017 Potok.Digital issued somewhat a thousand loans totaling over RUR 600 mio ($10.5 mio). Since its incorporation in 2016 the company extended 1,899 loans for RUR 1.03 bln ($18 mio) in the aggregate. In 2018 lending volumes are actively growing and Potok.Digital’s loan portfolio increases by 30% per month. For a comparison, Start Track crowdinvesting service which operates since 2013, has raised through loans and other financial instruments over RUR 1.6 bln ($28 mio) for its customers, while Town Money since 2012 has raised over RUR 1.8 bln.

We have set a company which cannibalizes on Alfa-Bank’s main product, the credits”, Nikita Abramenko, Potok.Digital’s CEO, says.

Yet Potok.Digital has been building up on Alfa-Bank’s reputation and brandname.

We raised the first RUR 30 mio facility in 19 hours, while the fourth RUR 30 mio facility was raised in a couple of minutes”, Abramenko notes.

Cash gap bridge facility

Not long ago, Potok.Digital implemented Seeneco business risks forecasting technology. The system analyzes financial reports of a company and sends it a notice in case of some cash deficiency. Since such a notice is received well in advance, an entrepreneur can bridge a gap by borrowing some money. In a personal office at Potok.Digital portal one is offered a facility at 23% per annum, to be furnished by the investors of Potok.Digital. The money will be transferred within two days. 23% per annum is a preferential rate whereas a standard rate for a loan is 2% per day. Potok.Digital therefore is optimistic about successful operation of and demand for Seeneco.

What they say about Potok.Digital

Andrew Krasov, Director of Dorida Web, posted on February 3 a comment in Potok.Digital’s Facebook account:

I’ve been an investor here for a month. Average interest is 15%. IMHO, not bad at all. Don’t know about the borrowers, but being an investor is very simple, quite like opening a deposit with a bank”.

Alexei Shchyogolev commented:

I requested 600K, but because of my outdated online banking interface (no SMS authorization) the bank only approved 500K. But in one single day, with no delays, paperwork or any waiting”.

Vyacheslav Danilov, CEO of SM-Project design bureau, posted a different story:

Your mechanism is identical to that of a bank. We have requested a loan. Your robot told us to get lost. We sent letters to all possible e-mail addresses but have had no reply. We have been unable to reach out to any human being to speak to over phone or to negotiate the situation. I have a feeling all you need is our banking statement which contains our business information”.

A Potok.Digital representative responded to the negative comment by Vyacheslav Danilov in the following manner:

We have a scoring system of our own. The entire procedure is accomplished automatically online with actually no involvement of human beings to be phoned. That allows to simplify and accelerate all of the processes. Our service is not universal and fitting all types of businesses. That does not mean though that our platform does not work or functions improperly”.

What sort of businesses are unlikely to get loans from Potok.Digital?

There are businesses where the share of cash transactions is inherently very high. We will therefore be unable to see their true turnover after they load their banking statement into our system”, the company representative explains.

By Natalia Kuznetsova


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