Financial Services Disruptor Collin Crowdfund Brings Businesses and Investors Together Via Innovative Mendix-Built Platform
- ‘Mini-bank’ to service small- and medium-sized enterprises, investors, and employees created from scratch in just seven months with low-code technology
- Mission-critical enterprise app built with Mendix has 30,000 users
- $300 million invested to date through user-friendly platform
BOSTON – February 18, 2021 – Mendix, a Siemens business and global leader in low-code application development for the enterprise, today announced that Collin Crowdfund, a Netherlands-based financial services firm, has used the Mendix low-code platform to build its crowdfunding platform. The innovative platform offers creditworthy small-and-medium-sized enterprises attractive non-traditional growth financing, and investors an opportunity to earn a good return on their money. Collin Crowdfund almost completely automates the financing and investment process and optimally facilitates all parties involved — entrepreneurs, investors, and the ‘Crowdfund Coaches’ that assess the applications.
The founders of Collin Crowdfund, Jeroen ter Huurne and Jan-Willem Onink, noticed that many SMEs are not growing to their full potential due to a lack of financing via traditional banking institutions. On the other hand, many investors are looking for creditworthy investment opportunities with an attractive yield — people who want to help a local business or fund a young entrepreneur to realize their dreams. Collin Crowdfund successfully connects these parties.
Starting from zero, they focused on building trust and good loans, not just the greatest volume of loans. The results so far show their success: about $315 million (€259 million) invested, almost 1,200 loans have been approved and published, 99.50% successfully funded. All of this is made possible by an innovative low-code-based platform that Collin Crowdfund developed in collaboration with Dutch Mendix partner Appronto.
Creating a mini-bank from scratch in seven months
The platform was developed in just seven months by a team consisting of an internal developer and four external consultants from Appronto, with help from Mendix. The team used the Mendix low-code platform, which is a visual development approach to application development that allows developers with different levels of experience to create applications for web and mobile, using drag-and-drop components and model-driven logic through a graphical user interface.
The biggest challenge was managing all the transactions going through the system. “We were developing a ‘digital mini-bank’ from scratch, ensuring that our bank runs efficiently and according to the rules, which proved quite a challenge,” said Bram ter Huurne, information manager at Collin Crowdfund. “The platform is the beating heart of our business, so it was essential that it functions properly. We chose Mendix because we were looking for a solution that would allow us to achieve fast go-to-market. There was no off-the-shelf solution available, and adapting an existing product would be more expensive and time-consuming than building a new platform using low-code. Moreover, we are now adjusting our platform every six weeks with innovations and improvements in response to feedback from our customers, which would not be possible with a standard solution.”
Technology with a human touch
The Collin Crowdfund platform has nearly 30,000 users, mainly investors, and 40 back-office employees. Everyone, from loan applicant to employee, logs into the same ‘My Collin’ platform back-end. However, different user groups have different roles and front-ends to meet their needs.
A loan applicant enters a specially designed funnel, where he must digitally submit a variety of basic documents, such as recent annual account records, income tax returns, and an extract from the Chamber of Commerce. In contrast to a bank, where it mainly comes down to the numbers, a Crowdfund Coach assesses the entrepreneur’s creditworthiness through a personal conversation. If the Crowdfund Coach gives the green light, the Risk Coach makes a thorough risk analysis, and then the application goes to the “Green Light Committee,” a group of experienced directors with extensive knowledge about corporate financing. Once everything is approved, the loan application gets a Collin Credit Score and will be published on Collin’s website, here potential investors can find it and consider investing in the loan. Investors also receive a notification from the app on their smartphone at 11:00 AM, known in the investor’s community as “Collin time.”
Offering a white-labeled low-code platform
Crowdfunding is becoming more mainstream, and Collin Crowdfund wants to help boost the industry’s growth by white-labeling its application. Ter Huurne says, “Crowdfunding offers not only an interesting return for investors, but can also be a way to, for example, support a local company in the region or to help develop groundbreaking products. By offering our platform white label, multiple parties can offer this way of financing. Because we built the platform with Mendix, it is easily adaptable to fit everyone’s wishes and requirements.”
Joelle de Prez, customer success manager at Mendix, says: “Collin Crowdfund has shown that with Mendix’s low-code platform it is possible to develop an all-purpose platform optimized for multiexperience use in an emerging sector where no solution is yet available. Collin Crowdfund took a lot of chances, but succeeded, in a remarkably quick and efficient way.”
Bas van der Horst, managing director at Appronto, says: “The platform we built for Collin Crowdfund automates almost all processes, from loan application to payment, ensuring a quick and secure way to help SME’s finance their business ideas. Especially in times where traditional banks are less inclined to help out, our platform, now with over 30,000 users, has proven to be an excellent solution for both entrepreneurs and investors. The people at Collin Crowdfund have the same entrepreneurial approach and keep innovating and making their platform better. A true example of what you can achieve when using the Mendix low-code platform.”
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