In a Nutshell: Across the globe, small and medium-sized businesses can struggle to access capital when they need it most. Akseleran is helping promote financial inclusion in Indonesia with its P2P lending platform while facilitating much-needed funding for small businesses. The company offers SMEs competitive interest rates and flexible loans. Meanwhile, investors stand to gain healthy returns while diversifying their portfolios. Whether borrowing or lending, Akseleran makes the process simple, straightforward, and transparent.
Access to capital is crucial to the success of any business. Large companies often have the benefit of cash reserves or lines of credit they can dip into to push through to the next level or fall back on during lean times.
This handy access to funds can be a major challenge for small and medium-sized businesses. Many of these businesses operate on a much smaller profit margin and don’t have backup funds to tap into.
And banks can be hesitant to approve small businesses for loans because they lack the long-standing track record of larger counterparts. This can be frustrating for small and medium businesses that need a cash infusion to help them increase their presence in the marketplace or simply to take care of their employees properly.
But thanks to Akseleran, businesses in Indonesia can overcome funding challenges using the platform’s P2P model for loans, while investors can potentially boost profits while diversifying their portfolios.
As with so many developments in the financial field, P2P loans have sprung up within the past two decades and have steadily increased in popularity thanks to the internet and advances in technology.
We recently spoke with Ivan Tambunan, CEO and Co-Founder of Akseleran, to learn more about how the platform works and the benefits it offers both businesses and investors.
Recognizing the Need for a P2P Lending Platform
Akseleran launched in March of 2017 with the vision to make inclusive business finance a reality. But Akseleran’s story really began when Tambunan was working toward his master’s degree in law and finance — before becoming a banking lawyer for a UK firm.
“I wrote my dissertation on crowdfunding in 2014, and I knew that this concept was new in Indonesia,” Tambunan said.
Through this process, Tambunan was able to identify a need in Indonesia for more SME funding through loans.
“It would make sense to bring the concept to Indonesia, particularly given there is a funding gap in the market for SMEs,” he said. “It’s hard for SMEs to get funding because they are always requested to provide collateral.” And this isn’t something every small or medium-sized business is able to do.
Neither are people in Indonesia used to investing, said Tambunan. He said most people simply save funds in a traditional savings account, which gives a relatively low yield in the capital market.
Tambunan said that by 2016, he and his brother CFO Mikhail along with Chief Credit Officer Christopher Gultom and Chief Technology Officer Rassel Pratomo, saw the chance to bring a new lending experience to the Indonesian marketplace.
“When we launched the platform, we launched it as an equity crowdfunding platform rather than a peer-to-peer platform because we wanted to have an integrated crowdfunding platform where it offers the loan-based crowdfunding, equity-based crowdfunding, and product-based crowdfunding,” he said.
The Co-Founders quickly realized that the Indonesian market wasn’t ready for an equity crowdfunding platform. They decide that focusing on the P2P lending aspect would not only benefit Akseleran the most, but Indonesian businesses and investors as well.
Lenders Can Save Time with the Auto Lending Feature and Earn Returns up to 21%
Tambunan discussed what lenders in Indonesia can expect when they use Akseleran, and how the company has grown its investor network in a short amount of time.
“We now have more than 150,000 retail investors on the platform, and we work with more than 10 institutional lenders,” he said.
One of the platform’s most appealing features for lenders is the simplicity with which they can diversify their portfolios. The lending process is done completely online and is easy to understand even for first-time investors, according to the company.
“Give loans starting from IDR 100,000 without any additional fees, from anywhere, anytime,” according to the Akseleran website. “Akseleran uses collateral for more than 98% of its loan portfolio value. Loan applications are also strictly selected by a professional and experienced team.”
Additionally, lenders see an average return of 18% to 21% on their investments per year. The investment is much bigger and more profitable than other financial products, according to Akseleran.
With the Akseleran website, lenders can easily sort through which lending campaigns they would like to invest in. Lenders can choose from a wide range of lending sectors, including engineering, travel, entertainment, wholesale industry, oil, among others. Then they can select what type of loan — including business loans, invoice financing, employee loans, or portfolio financing — they want to facilitate.
They can also select their terms, then sort through the active loan campaigns posted on the Akseleran website.
The company also offers its Auto Lending option which provides loans automatically and aims to make it easier for lenders without having to spend time looking for loan opportunities that suit their preferences, according to the website.
Businesses Enjoy Flexibility, Competitive Interest Rates, and a Simple Lending Process
“Our aim as a platform is that we want to bring financial inclusion,” Tambunan said. “We want to make sure that these SME borrowers have access to capital.”
He said that means Akseleran can facilitate loans ranging from $100 up to $150,000. And as a group, SMEs can borrow up to $1 million.
As is true with its lending operation, the Akseleran borrowing process is streamlined and easy to navigate.
“The application process is online, and we help from the beginning to the end of the loan application process,” according to the company website. “Apply for a loan according to your unique business needs. We can adjust the loan tenor, type of collateral, and the frequency of loan repayments.”
And SMEs can access loans with competitive interest rates that range from 6.48% to 17% fiat per year, according to Akseleran.
“Pay loan fees transparently without additional fees,” according to the company website. “We only charge 0.25% per month of the total liquid loan as well as notary fees and legal documentation processes. Fees are only charged if the loan application is successful.”
To apply for a loan, simply create an Akseleran account by providing some personal and business information and wait through the 24-hour verification process.
Loan applicants must have been in business for at least one year and must be located in Jabodetabek, Banten, or Bandung.
“For businesses located outside the region in Indonesia, you can use our services as long as the loan amount is more than IDR 200 million,” according to the company.
Applicants must have also shown a net profit in the previous year. Full details can be found on the Akseleran website.
“At Akseleran, we believe in the same values or culture: standards of excellence, kindness, and integrity,” according to the company. “We believe in the purpose of our existence so that work is no longer a burden, but something that we can enjoy and do with full commitment. We strive so that every member of the Akseleran team can live these values or culture.”