The only difficulty is the P2P platform itself. The site should be comfortable, reliable, secure and support a large number of languages (this will increase the reach of the audience). It is difficult to create such a platform, but if you approach this wisely, you will have every chance of success.
How to build a peer-to-peer lending platform
Step 1: Decide on a business registration form
When choosing a form of registration of a legal entity, such moments should be taken into account:
- Registration as a corporation or a limited liability company will protect against creditors in the event of bankruptcy or force majeure.
- Corporations impose significantly more requirements than LLCs, including requirements for accounting and tax reporting. In addition, corporations must hold shareholder meetings at regular intervals.
- Different forms of registration imply different tax statuses, but an LLC can choose to pay taxes as an LLC or as a corporation.
- The corporation is obliged to distribute profits and losses according to the share of ownership of each participant. In LLC distribution occurs according to the operating agreement, the terms of which are determined by the participants of the company.
Step 2: Register the company name
Usually, a company (trademark) must be registered in the state in which the business will operate. For P2P platforms, this is the main office location. At this stage, you need to take into account such moments:
- The name should be free, which can be checked on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
- The brand name does not have to match the domain name.
- Registration rules may vary widely by state.
- It is desirable that by the name of the company people can understand the scope of activities and the registration form (this is mandatory). For example, P2P Lending, Inc., if it is a corporation, or P2P Lending, LLC, if it is a limited liability company.
Step 3: Register the platform domain
Domain is your website address. It should not be very long and easy to read. Abbreviations are welcome if this is an abbreviated name of the brand. The important points at this stage are:
- Domain, as well as company name, must be unique. Check whether a domain is free or not can be on many sites that are easy to find using Google.
- Domain registration requires money. As a rule, these are small amounts - up to $20, but there may be exceptions depending on the domain zone - $ 100 or more.
- When registering a domain, you do not get it into the property, but rent it.
Step 4: Create a team
This is the main success factor of any project, so the choice of the team must be approached with the utmost seriousness. To do this, follow these recommendations:
- Staff need to be staffed with people who know how to operate a website and are experts in finance, financial law, marketing, or advertising.
- In addition, we need people with experience in the banking sector who understand how to build a credit business and assess credit risks.
- You need to hire people with a long-term focus, that is, immediately offer long-term contracts and social packages with accumulating bonuses.
If possible, it is better to lure employees from other companies, preferably successful ones. Such people have the experience, the necessary skills and understanding of the task. In addition, so you a little bit, but shake the position of competitors.
Step 5: Raise money for start-up capital
In addition to the content of the site and other operating expenses at the start, you will need money to issue first loans. Do not expect that P2P investors will immediately come to your site. You can collect money in the following ways:
- Primary Coin Offer (ICO / STO). You can create tokens that will bring dividend profits or reduce commissions.
- Attracting venture capital. To do this, you need to make a detailed business plan and reach out to business angels - people who invest a lot of money in exchange for a share in the business.
- Bank loan. Need a solid pledge.
The amount of startup capital depends on the cost of developing the platform, team size and marketing strategy. The price of creating a platform for P2P lending fluctuates around $10–200 thousand. It will take the same amount on marketing promotion, if you use bounty campaigns - a little less.
Step 6: Develop a P2P Platform
The platform can be created from scratch by hiring a blockchain programming team or by outsourcing the development. However, it is better to use solutions like White Label — ready-to-use products that can be customized. When using White Label, it is important to remember such things:
- These are sample solutions that are not suitable for unique credit products. White Label can integrate your own credit scenarios, but this will require hiring the appropriate specialists.
- It is better to use open source white label. Such products contain fewer errors and are more trusted by users.
The development time of the P2P platform from scratch is from 4 to 12 months. With White Label, this time can be cut in three. Cost will also decrease.
Step 7: Create a web portal
When creating a site for peer lending, it is important to consider such moments:
- The portal must be integrated with the maximum number of payment gateways.
- The site interface should be intuitive and support several major languages.
- Some White Labels include basic website design. Use it only as a draft. Your site design must be unique and recognizable.
Step 8: Testing the site and platform
Each custom platform usage scenario needs to be tested and ensure that everything works as it should. In this case, most of all attention should be paid to:
- Security. The connection with the user and payment gateways must be encrypted, personal data is hidden behind seven seals, and financial gateways are closed for 1000 and 1 lock.
- Usability. The user at the first transition to the site must understand how to register, apply for a loan or invest money.
- Performance. You can find out the speed of loading a site on different devices using the PageSpeed Insights service. There are also tools to improve portal performance.
Step 9: Platform Launch
Before launching the site, you need to conduct a marketing campaign, offering first users - borrowers and investors - discounts, lower (or higher for investors) interest rates, more loyal conditions for granting a loan and the like. But you need to remember about:
- Scammers who want to get a loan and disappear. There are a lot of such people at the start, as there is a chance to find loopholes in the risk assessment or user identification algorithm.
- Hackers who can launch phishing resources, try to hack a website or launch a DDoS attack (ordered by competitors).
Step 10: Starting the Technical Support Service
Despite all the precautions, testing and debugging, the platform after launch will almost guaranteed to contain errors and bugs. And most likely, they will not be detected by full-time specialists, but by users. Therefore, it is important to quickly start a support service that will work with the maximum load in the first few months.
Thanks to this will succeed:
- Catch and destroy most of the errors and bugs.
- Understand what was missed at the time of development, and promptly add missing features, elements or instructions.
- Get feedback from users and understand what needs to be improved to make the platform more convenient and understandable.
How to comply with government regulations
Hire a lawyer. The lending market is highly regulated, so a lawyer in the state is a prerequisite for the work of any organization that is engaged in business in this segment. You need to hire a lawyer before you:
- draw up standard loan agreements;
- sign the first loan and / or investment agreement.
Work with banking professionals. A startup team must have at least one person with education and experience in the banking sector. It is needed to ensure the relevance of credit products and the compliance of procedures with industry standards. In particular, it is necessary to ensure compliance with the Law on Electronic Transfer of Funds, the Law on Private Credit Reporting and the Law on Bank Secrets.
Establish anti-discrimination policy. Federal consumer credit laws prohibit the use of discriminatory lending practices (not all, there are exceptions).
Example of indirect discrimination. Source of the image: topsimages
One should also be aware of indirect discrimination, when seemingly neutral on paper criteria for selecting borrowers in practice put representatives of a certain group of people at a disadvantage compared to other groups.