Taplend: Viktor Ihnatiuk

Allowing users receive up to £2,500 from friends or financial institutions in minutes, this app aims to become "the Booking.com for loan offers"

Name: Viktor Ihnatiuk
Company Name: Taplend
Location: London
Date Launched: 15/11/2016
Twitter handle: @taplend
Website: taplend.co.uk/en

Tell us what your business does:

Taplend is a financial help service. With our app, people can get up to £2,500 in a few minutes, provided by friends or lending companies.

The problem we are solving is a fairly common one for all of us – situations when you need money urgently, but cannot get it immediately. The mechanism of Taplend is a very simple one: after the user downloads the application, he sets the desired amount of money and return terms, submits detailed information and sends a request via the service to his friends or credit companies.

After the request is accepted, it takes a couple of minutes for the money to come to the user’s bank account or mobile wallet.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

One year ago, Volodymyr Rubtsov and I, ex-CTO of PrivatBank and a co-founder of Taplend, discussed the current state of fintech. We believed that current lending market players are still too slow and old school. That’s why we decided to build Taplend – a new generation lending web/mobile platform, which allows users to borrow money instantly and under the best possible terms.

How did you know there was a market for it?

While working in the p2p lending area, we noticed that the average time to get a loan through such a platform is around three days, under affordable rates. It is clear that millions of people have the urgent need for money.

This problem is solved by payday loan companies. Such companies can provide people with the cash within one day, but under a very high interest rate, so in the end you may get into a debt trap. That’s why we want to solve these problems with Taplend. We decided to combine the fastness of payday loans, along with affordability of p2p platforms.

What were you doing before starting up?

I was working on uCredit.com.ua – a p2p lending platform, that I founded two years ago and was acquired by a private group of investors a couple of months ago.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

I have been doing business since I was 12. At the age of 17, I founded a successful e-commerce business, which is now ran by my younger brother. So yes, not only wanted, but I always did.

How did you raise the money?

In April 2016, I met representatives of Gruppo Banca Sella – the largest Italian private banking group. They invited us to present Taplend to their bank. The heads of the bank really liked the project and made us an offer.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Our business model can be split into two parts:

  1. We let friends help each other with money under a 0% interest rate. Taplend would be useful for these people, who might face the strong need for the financial assistance to be provided as soon as possible. In other words, Taplend is a p2p money transfer tool for friends to help each other. In this case, we charge a small split fee from transactions between the users.
  1. Besides asking from friends, Taplend lets the user request the loan from our partners – financial institutions. In this case, we let the user to choose the lender among the list of companies, after this we provide him with specific loan application form (depends on the lender).

When the user finishes filling the application form, we send this data to the lender. If everything is ok with this data, the user gets his request approved, receives the money and the lender pays Taplend a lead generation fee.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

As we don’t have our own payment infrastructure, we need to use the capacities of companies such as PayPal.

For start-ups, it is usually very difficult and quite long to build partnership with such companies. For example, when we tried to create a partnership with Venmo, it took a few months to negotiate the right model of cooperation. After all their open API for developers was closed for everybody, it caused the closing of a big amount of services.

We were not the exception, and because of this situation we had to switch from the US market, on which we previously focused on to the European, in particular the UK market.

What was your first big breakthrough?

To make a partnership with Gruppo Banca Sella, which helped us to launch on the UK market.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

You should never give up, because if you have a lot of barriers – you are going the right way. The only important thing that you need is a passionate team, which will move along with you, no matter if you have the money or not.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

In five years, we want to become a “Booking.com” for loan offers, where people from all over the world will have an opportunity to get a fair loan. Stay tuned and don’t forget to try Taplend.

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