Digitalisation is shaking up sector after sector. Uber is one of the world’s biggest taxi companies without owning a single car, and Airbnb is challenging the hotel industry despite not owning a single property.
Fixura is doing the same thing with the finance industry – challenging banks and other traditional financial institutions by helping people to borrow and invest money.
“Our website works as a go-between for people who want to borrow or invest money. Both customer groups state their conditions for the loans, and when supply and demand match, loans are created in real-time. Thanks to everything being automated, we can keep the fees low for the customers,” CEO Mirja Palola explains.
This type of business is called peer-to-peer lending and is a part of the new sharing economy. Despite the phenomenon being less than ten years old, the sector is growing rapidly and becoming increasingly established; in the US a company in this field has already been listed.
The common denominator for disruptive businesses like peer-to-peer lending companies is that they challenge old institutions and business models. One of the main differences is that the line between customer and service producer is not as sharp in the digital world.
“In the digital era, the customers are increasingly a part of the service. The role of the companies is more about creating the conditions for collaboration. By offering a technical platform you facilitate transactions and interaction between people,” Palola says.
Fixura started operations in 2010 and is the oldest and largest peer-to-peer lending company in the Nordics. Since the start, the company has been able to offer investors annual returns of over 10 per cent on average. In 2015 the company got a great recognition, when Business Insider listed Fixura as one of the most exiting fintech businesses in the Nordic countries.
Since the peer-to-peer lending sector is so new, there was for long no legal framework governing it in Finland. However, Fixura has always operated as if the sector was regulated, by setting ethical standards for its operations. This is evident in, for example, the clear insider trading rules for the management.
“It has been a bit of a Wild West scenario since there have been no clear rules. We welcome the regulation as it means a level playing field for all peer-to-peer lending businesses.”
Business sector: Peer-to-peer lending
Arranged loans in total: €47 million (by 11/2015)
Number of customers: 55,000
Annual average return for investors: 10.3%
Turnover: €2.3 million