LoanVi is a Vietnamese fintech startup with a monumental ambition. The company aims to bridge the gap between Vietnam’s unbanked individuals – a staggering 70% of the population – and fixed income investors. In a financial system characterized by legal barriers and lender paranoia, LoanVi is the only startup tackling Vietnam’s peer-to-peer lending market. However, if it should succeed, it would be first mover in a market serving over 50 million unbanked Vietnamese citizens.
LoanVi was founded by Hai Nguyen, Vince Nguyne, and Chris Le. The young trio have prior-career experience in innovation platforms, management consulting, and software development. To bridge Vietnam’s underbanked population with investors, they created a system that works similar to that of an already established peer-to-peer comparable: Lending Club.
Individuals who want to borrow money make a “Borrower” account, where they spend roughly 15 minutes filling out a personal profile. The profile includes a variety of parameters that LoanVi uses to determine a borrower’s trustworthiness. If LoanVi’s system approves the borrower, he can begin posting loans onto LoanVi’s database. The purpose of these loans can range from buying a car to renting a house.
On the other end, individuals who want to invest would open “Investor” accounts, which require minimum deposits of 500,000 VND. The investor can then peruse LoanVi’s database of loans for favorable opportunities. Once such options have been identified, the investor and borrower would agree on an exact loan amount, an interest rate, and a payment interval. Investors can withdraw cash at any time, and are given live data on how their loans are performing and their exact return rates.
The benefits of using LoanVi’s platform are twofold. Investors are able to achieve a higher rate of return than offered by banks, and individuals with no credit history are able to borrow money.
LoanVi has already achieved considerable traction. In 2014, it was one of the only companies to graduate from Vietnam Silicon Valley, a four-month incubator launched by Vietnam’s ministry of Science and Technology. It followed that momentum last June in Seoul, when it was picked up by SparkLabs – one of Seoul’s top accelerators.
The momentum could be well justified. LoanVi is currently the only player in a market that could potentially tap 70% of Vietnam’s population. Other disruptors have been shy to verge into P2P given the country’s prevalent fear of online scam and strict banking regulations. However, LoanVi’s endorsement from the government’s very own Ministry of Science and Technology could be a sign of favorable regulatory changes to come.