February 2020: the big write-off

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February 2020: the big write-off

I read a Dutch article that showed why investing is so interesting compared to keeping your money in a savings account. Suppose you have 100,000 euro in a savings account, and that the interest percentage is practically zero (which it is at the moment). And inflation plus taxes amount to 3% per year. What is the value of your savings after 18 years? It turns out it is around 52,000 euro, so almost half of your initial funds..

So what is the result if you would have invested the same 100,000 euro? Suppose we have the same 3.5% of combined inflation and taxation per year, and your investments give you a 8% return per year. After the same 18 years you’ll find the total value has doubled to 220,000 euro.

Having said that, it is of course vital to invest wisely. One of the mistakes I made was to invest in 2 platforms that promised superhigh interest rates plus guarantees (Kuetzal and Envestio). These turned out to be a scam, and I have now written off my money there. I know, a classic mistake. To show what the dramatic effect is on my return rate and monthly interest/income, I have shown both my overall returns including the writeoffs, and the returns for the other platforms to show the difference.

You must be curious by now, so let’s move on to the numbers!

Portfolio overview February 2020

My definition for my passive icome is this: if my portfolio has increased in value, this increase is my passive income for that month. This is the value I can safely extract without jeopardizing my future income stream. If my portfolio decreases in value, my passive income for that month is zero. A withdrawal would further decrease my future income stream. Of course a decreased value of my portfolio does not only mean that my passive income is zero, it also affects all future incomes as there are less funds to generate that income.

Last month the interest payments I received totalled € 656.23 but the total value of my portfolio decreased because I have written off my funds at Envestio and Kuetzal. Therefore my passive income this month is zero.

The average rate of return over all other platforms is 10.9%, the table below shows the details for those platforms. I have added a graph below with my historical returns, there you can see the return rates when Envestio and Kuetzal are added to the equation, and ‘the drop’.


PlatformInterestXIRRValueInfo
 Bondora€ 27.796.8%€ 5,556 Info
 Brickstarter€ 5.281.3%€ 2,020 Info
 Bulkestate€ 45.655.8%€ 3,690 Info
 Crowdestate€ 106.0810.5%€ 5,811 Info
 Crowdestor€ 89.6215.9%€ 8,593 Info
 EstateGuru€ 5.019.5%€ 2,881 Info
 EvoEstate€ 0.000.0%€ 2,015 Info
 Fast Invest€ 54.5413.4%€ 5,429 Info
 Flender€ 18.775.8%€ 2,827 Info
 Funding Circle NL€ 32.848.7%€ 4,399 Info
 Grupeer€ 77.1314.4%€ 8,450 Info
 Iuvo€ 80.4711.6%€ 10,113 Info
 Lender & Spender€ 9.134.0%€ 2,774 Info
 Mintos€ 32.1111.1%€ 5,854 Info
 NEO Finance€ -0.63-1.5%€ 2,499 Info
 Reinvest24€ 5.21-3.8%€ 994 Info
 Robocash€ 0.705.9%€ 1,033 Info
 TFG Crowd€ 17.1117.3%€ 1,298 Info
 Twino€ 41.1810.9%€ 5,843 Info
 Viainvest€ 8.2410.1%€ 2,069 Info
Total€ 656.2310.9%€ 84,149

The XIRR column contains the annualized rate of return since my first deposit into that platform. Click on a column header to sort the table by that column, twice to reverse the sort order. I have an overview page for each platform, you can click on the magnifier glass to visit that page.

Write offs

This month I have written off Envestio and Kuetzal, as these platforms turned out to be scams. I have joined a group of investors for each platform, that are jointly trying to recover the funds via legal means.

I noted my net deposits to these platforms, which is the total amount I deposited minus the total value of my withdrawals. I did not use the total value at the time of write-off, as these include value increases such as interest payments that I did not really receive, so I guess that isn’t really lost.


PlatformStart dateWrite-off dateNet depositValue
 Envestio2018-09-032020-03-01€ 7,500€ 0.00
 Kuetzal2019-04-162020-03-01€ 2,500€ 0.00
Total€ 10,000€ 0.00

The effect of the write-offs is clearly visible in the charts below. There you can see the effects on my historical return rate and passive income.

Passive income per month

The green line shows my passive income when Envestio and Kuetzal are not taken into account (something I should have done to invest more wisely..). Noticably lower, but without the drop-off.

The gray line shows my passive income inclusing the written-off platforms. Most of the chart is a lot higher, but as it turned out that wasn’t real. So this month my passive income is zero.

Historical returns

My historical return rate shows the same picture. 12% when Envestio and Kuetzal are taken into account, and between 10-11% when we’re looking at the other platforms only.

You can see the big drop from 12% to 0.7% after the write-off.

But I guess I am lucky: even with this big loss my overall return rate is 0.7% which is still a lot higher compared to a savings account..

Activities

To show you how little effort is involved when investion via crowdfunding and crowdlending I have added an overview of the manual actions in the last month:


PlatformDateActivity
 EvoEstateFebruary 3€ 400 invested in Nave Menorca (16.4%)
 IuvoFebruary 14Withdrawal: € 500
 EvoEstateFebruary 17€ 200 invested in Savanorių pr. 178, Vilnius (11.5%)
 CrowdestateFebruary 17€ 100 invested in Raekoja plats 13, 10146 Tallinn (13.5%)
 BrickstarterFebruary 18€ 500 invested in Ático Santo Domingo, Cádiz (9.6%)
 BulkestateFebruary 19Deposited funds: € 500
 NEO FinanceFebruary 19Deposited funds: € 500
 BulkestateFebruary 21€ 250 invested in Vienības Alley (Final stage), Riga (11%)
 ViainvestFebruary 22Deposited funds: € 1,000
 CrowdestorFebruary 22€ 50 invested in WarHunt Movie - Pre-production started with Mickey Rourke as one of leading actors (18%+12%)
 CrowdestorFebruary 25€ 50 invested in Renovation of historical apartment building on Miera Street (II) (14.8%)
 NEO FinanceFebruary 25Deposited funds: € 2,000
 CrowdestateFebruary 29€ 100 invested in Suure-Pärna, Liikva (II) (11.55%)

I did check the platforms every now and then, but this was purely for fun. It wasn’t necessary to get these interest payments and return rates.

Platform updates

 Bondora

Bondora now has more than 103,000 investors from 85 countries, and in total more than 343 million euros has been invested. I am quite happy with the Go&Grow option, where you get max 6.75% interest which is added on a daily basis. Not a lot compared to other platforms, but the big difference is that you can withdraw all your money at any time. This isn’t even possible with Invest&Access from Mintos.

It is possible at Bondora to invest by yourself, but I have heard that a lot of investors lost money that way. The average return rate for all investors on the platform is 10.6% but that does not give you the option to withdraw at any moment. So I prefer the lower return rate with the instant liquidity. After all, it still beats all savings accounts.

My investments at Bondora returned € 27.79 last month, and my average return rate is now 6.8%.

Click on the graph to visit my Bondora overview page

When you register through this link you’ll receive a 5 euro bonus. Just give their Go & Grow option a try for a few months, and don’t try the other advanced options.

 Brickstarter

On the Brickstarter platform there is now 1 project open for investment (‘Ático Santo Domingo’, with an expected return rate of 9.3%), 15 projects are under management to generate rental income and build up a value increase of the property, and 3 projects have exited with the sell leading to an overal return rate of 9-11%.

I have now invested in two projects, hopefully a new project will become available soon so I can invest the rest of my funds.

My investments at Brickstarter returned € 5.28 last month, and my average return rate is now 1.3%.

Click on the graph to visit my Brickstarter overview page

 Bulkestate

One of the projects at Bulkestate, Miera Street, has repayed the loan early. This is halfway the investment period, but they payed the accrued interest (35 euros) which they would otherwise pay at the very end of the investment period (in September). So this has a positive effect on my return rate.

New projects become available on a regular basis, but these are filled quite fast. I do have a good feeling about this platform, so I have deposited an extra 500 euros this month. And as an investor you’ll get en email that tells you when the next investment opportunity opens a day or two in advance. And most projects are open for investments at least an hour or two, so plenty of change for all investors to invest. Do keep in mind that manual investments take precedence over auto-invests, so it is better to set a reminder in your calendar.

My investments at Bulkestate returned € 45.65 last month, and my average return rate is now 5.8%.

Click on the graph to visit my Bulkestate overview page

 Crowdestate

This month I received 90 euro interest on Crowdestate from a single project: Astangu 18/20. This project pays interest per quarter instead of per month. So the ‘sawtooth’ in the graph below continues nicely, until the end of the project in September. I hope by that time there will be some nice projects available that pay interest per month.

But not all projects are on time with their payments. As you can see below, there are several projects behind in payments. Lines in orange are late, and the date listed behind it is just today’s date:

The Tammelehe 4 project for instance is a few months behind in payments. Crowdestate has sent an update that they still think there is a chance that the money will be repayed, but that they have started preparing for bankruptcy if there are anymore unreasonable delays.

Nord Company is a bit problematic too, but according to the latest news this company can resume payments mid-march. So we should see those real soon.

I am not really worried yet, most projects have real estate or other valuable properties as collateral. So there is a good chance that invested funds can be returned. The question is how much if the owed interest can be paid, how long it will take, and what the final return rate will be.

My investments at Crowdestate returned € 106.08 last month, and my average return rate is now 10.5%.

Click on the graph to visit my Crowdestate overview page

 Crowdestor

Crowdestor is one of the platforms that promises the highest interest rates, and has a buyback fund to cover defaults. After recent events these promises of high returns in combination with the buyback/safety measures this is more a warning signal than a positive signal, so I decided to have a look at it. The height of the buyback fund and the rules are published on their website:

After an initial deposit into the fund Crowdestor is adding 1-2% of each new project to the fund. This slowly builds up the fund, but what if the fund needs to be used? The fund is larger than a lot of projects, but there are also projects that are a lot bigger than the fund. And what if more than one project goes into default? Will the fund be used for the first project, and will it then be empty leaving the other investors in the dark?

I asked the platform about the distribution rules that are mentioned on the buyback fund page, and I received an email with the explanation. It turns out the ratio between the volume of the project and the volume of all outstanding projects is key. Crowdestor will first try to recover as much of the money via the collateral and other claims. Only then will the fund be used to cover (part of) the remainder.

When the fund is used for a project, the total volume of outstanding loans is taken into account. Suppose a project defaults and 500,000 euro cannot be recovered, and the total volume of outstanding loans is 30 million euro. That means the project accounts for 1.67% of all outstanding loans (500.000 divided by 30,000,000). This means that according to the distribution rules 1,67% of the buyback fund may be used to cover the project. If the fund contains 300,000 euro, 1,67% means that a maximum of 5,000 euro may be taken out of the fund. And that means that an investor that invested 1,000 euro in the project will get a maximum of 10 euro out of the buyback fund.

This is not a lot, but there is a positive side to it. The most important thing is that the platform does not promise high return rates in combination with a 100% buyback without a means to back that up. This adds a bit to the trust in this platform. Of course it should be communicated more clearly, at the moment the buyback fund page does not clearly explain the distribution rules. The current distribution rules allow all projects to fail at one and still giving each project a fair share of the buyback fund. But to cover all projects the buyback fund must be equal in size to the total volume of outstanding loans. And it will take a long time for the fund to reach 30 million euros. On the other hand, it is impossible to predict the number of projects that will go into default, and how long it would take the fund to replenish.

My investments at Crowdestor returned € 89.62 last month, and my average return rate is now 15.9%.

Click on the graph to visit my Crowdestor overview page

 Envestio

I have added Envestio to the separate “Write-offs” overview. Legal steps are being taken to declare bankruptcy and to retrieve the money of the investors.

 EstateGuru

EstateGuru has added rewards to it’s referral program. When a friend registers via your referral link you will both earn a 0.5% bonus of all investments by that friend in the first 3 months. There are now referral awards for referring more people: you’ll het 10 euro investment credit after referring 5 friends, and a hoodie will be sent to your home address after referring 25 friends.

You can find your referral link in your EstateGuru account by going to “Settings” and then “Referral program”.

My investments at EstateGuru returned € 5.01 last month, and my average return rate is now 9.5%.

Click on the graph to visit my EstateGuru overview page

 EvoEstate

I am slowly investing my money at EvoEstate. There is an auto-invest function, but I have decided to manually invest my first deposit of 2000 euro. I want to invest 200 euro per project, and so far 1400 out of 200 euros is invested.

EvoEstate does not finance projects, it publishes projects from other real estate platforms. The auto-invest shows which platforms you can expect projects from:

I only want to invest in the “skin in the game” projects, where the platofrm owners have invested personal funds in. Some of these projects were from Reinvest24 and Brickstarter, and I already invested in those projects directly at those platforms. To prevent ‘double investing’ I will invest manually until my initial deposit is fully invested, and then I will enable the auto-invest.

I have yet to receive my first interest payments at EvoEstate, so my average return rate is stil 0%.

When you register via this link you’ll receive a bonus of 0.5% of all your investments in the first 6 months.

 Fast Invest

My interest income at Fast Invest has been cut in half, but that is because I withdrew about half my funds there. There are no real signs of problems with this problem, apart from the lack of transparancy and the lack of experience of the management. But i feel a lot better now I am risking a lot less money here. And it also gave me the opportunity to start at several other platforms.

Good news for investors from Portugal: Fast Invest has added Portuguese to the website languages. This brings the number of languages to 7. And I think that is a good sign. The attention to the website, the functionality and statistics, plus the effort to translate everything into so much languages is not something that you would expect from a scam. This gives me a bit more confidence in this platform.

My investments at Fast Invest returned € 54.54 last month, and my average return rate is now 13.4%.

Click on the graph to visit my Fast Invest overview page

 Flender

My return rate is slowly climbing on the Irish platform Flender. I took some time to spread my deposit over multiple investments, so it took more a little over a month for the first interest to be payed. Now I receive around 19 euros per month, which is a return rate of 8-9% per year. So I think my return rate will be climbing till it reaches those numbers.

I receive an email about once a month that my auto-invest has invested for me. The loans on Flender are installment loans, so I receive both interest and a bit of principal each month. That is also the reason why my auto-invest can invest around 100 euros each month. A nice advantage of this is that this will result in a fast spread over a lot of different loans.

My investments at Flender returned € 18.77 last month, and my average return rate is now 5.8%.

Click on the graph to visit my Flender overview page

 Funding Circle NL

The Dutch branch of Funding Circle NL celebrates its 5th anniversary, Funding circle itself was founded 10 years ago. Since then 77,000 companies have received loans and the number of private investors has grown to 94,000. The total volume of outstanding loans is more than 4 billion euro. Funding Circle is active in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, and the USA.

Funding Circle has started publishing their financial account in 2019, and these show a 55% increase in year over year revenues. But pre-tax losses climbed by 40% to 50 million GBP while the company spent more on marketing and staff. It has been suggested that Brexit is one of the reasons, and that it is also caused by an increase in bad debts in the UK. It is a bit worrying, something to keep an eye on.

My investments at Funding Circle NL returned € 32.84 last month, and my average return rate is now 8.7%.

Click on the graph to visit my Funding Circle overview page

 Grupeer

From February 27th onwards it is possible to activate 2FA authentication at Grupeer. This offers an extra layer of security, as a username and password are not enough to log in. You also have to enter a security code that is generated each time by the Google authenticator app. This way your money is safer. You do not have to activate FA, but it is obviously a good idea.

My investments at Grupeer returned € 77.13 last month, and my average return rate is now 14.4%.

Click on the graph to visit my Grupeer overview page

When you register via this link you’ll immediately receive a 10 euro bonus. This is alo the minimum amount for investing, you can try Grupeer for free.

 Iuvo

I have deactivated my auto-invest at Iuvo. I have invested almost twice as much here as in other platforms, so I will slowly withdraw funds until my account value is comparable to other platforms.

Iuvo has ceased working with Business Bank Group (BBG) from Georgia, because this company failed to make payments in time. Apparently the person who was the driving force behind this company had a serious accident, and the company has since then been hindered to operate with its funds. There are not a lot of investors affected, as only 0.4% of the loans on Iuvo are originated by them. Iuvo has taken legal steps to get the funds back.

My investments at Iuvo returned € 80.47 last month, and my average return rate is now 11.6%.

Click on the graph to visit my Iuvo overview page

 Kuetzal

I have added Kuetzal to the separate “Write-offs” overview. Legal steps are being taken to declare bankruptcy and to retrieve the money of the investors.

 Lender & Spender

My return rate at Lender & Spender is very stable at 4%. Not spectacular, but it is a Dutch platform so it is close to home for me. And still a lot better than a savings account.

My investments at Lender & Spender returned € 9.13 last month, and my average return rate is now 4.0%.

Click on the graph to visit my Lender & Spender overview page

 Mintos

Mintos introduced the first version of their mobile app. You can track your investments, and I expect more functionality to be added regularly. You can find the app in the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android).

My investment values at Mintos are fluctuating, especially in my RUB account (Russian Rubles). But this is mostly caused by fluctuating exchange rates. My return rate in RUB is fairly stable around 14%. The exchange rates affect my numbers because I convert the values to euros each month, so I can show the totals of all platforms in euros. But overall it seems like my KZT and RUB accounts have increased my Mintos return rate by about 0.5%.

My investments at Mintos returned € 32.11 last month, and my average return rate is now 11.1%.

Click on the graph to visit my Mintos overview page

When you register via this link you’ll receive a 1% cashback bonus over all your investments in the first 90 days.

 NEO Finance

I have started at NEO Finance this month, with the funds I withdrew from Fast Invest. I’ll introduce this platform in the near future once I have some more numbers.

 Reinvest24

This month I received dividends from both projects on Reinvest24, totalling 5.21 euro. This doesn’t seem much, but on a yearly basis this would give a 6.8% return rate. This is not reflected in my XIRR yet, because of the one-time investment fees. And this is just around half of the expected returns, as we should benefit from the increase in value when the properties are sold.

Projects from Reinvest24 also show up on EvoEstate, where the owners invest personally in them. Not something to follow blindly, but all in all not a bad sign I think.

My investments at Reinvest24 returned € 5.21 last month, and my average return rate is now -3.8%.

Click on the graph to visit my Reinvest24 overview page

 Robocash

Robocash celebrates its third birthday this month. Since the start in 2013 the number of financed loans has risen to 1.5 million, with a total value of 147 million euro. The number of investors has reached 10,000 and the group perates in Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Kazachstan, Vietnam, and Singapore.

I have mixed feelings about this platform. Is is operational for several years, does not use external originators, and it offers a buyback guarantee (after 30 days, including accrued interest). Automated investing wordt really well, in loans with 10-12% interest. But this is not reflected in my returns. My online dashboard shows “12% average interest rate”, but this must be just the average from the current set that my funds are invested in. My actual XIRR is 6-7%, so that does not even come close. I think this is caused by the recent problems for Robocash in the Phillipines, so I hope my returns will grow to what they should be in the near future.

My investments at Robocash returned € 0.70 last month, and my average return rate is now 5.9%.

Click on the graph to visit my Robocash overview page

 TFG Crowd

Last month I wrote an article about TFG Crowd, and I have updated this with the responses I received from TFG Crowd, Edeland, and Tivo/Cofediction. You can find the article here.

I have finally received emails from the cofediction email address, and according to them the website will be up soon. In the meantime it is possible for me to buy the coffee, and of course I do not want to skip the opportunity to have a coffee tasting. So I have replied that I want to buy one of every type of coffee available:

I have also had contact with Edeland, and I can have a look at their corporate data (contracts, balance, fleet, etc). I will have to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement, and I have just returned a signed copy. So more will follow.

My investments at TFG Crowd returned € 17.11 last month, and my average return rate is now 17.3%.

Click on the graph to visit my TFG Crowd overview page

 Twino

I noticed my auto-invest at Twino had stopped investing, and over 700 euros was uninvested. It turned out there were only loans available with interest rates of 8%, and I have set the minimum for my auto-invest at 10%.

I have temporarily added another auto-invest that invests in these 8% loans, a bit reluctantly, but 8% is better than having my funds sit idly and have a return rate of 0%. As soon as loans become available with higher interest rates I will stop this temporary auto-invest.

My investments at Twino returned € 41.18 last month, and my average return rate is now 10.9%.

Click on the graph to visit my Twino overview page

 Viainvest

No news about Viainvest, but of course that is not a negative thing. The performance of this platform is quite stable at 10-11%, zo I have deposited an extra 1,000 euro here. This should be visible in the graph next month.

My investments at Viainvest returned € 8.24 last month, and my average return rate is now 10.1%.

Click on the graph to visit my Viainvest overview page

When you register via this link you’ll receive a 10 euro bonus if you invest 50 euro or more.

And finally…

It was surprising to see that even with the big write-off of my funds at Envestio and Kuetzal my return rate is positive at 0.7%. That’s still better than eny savings account. If I had managed to avoid those platforms my return rate would have been 10.9% as you can see in my overview. I hope others can learn from my experiences..

That was it for this monthly update. You can subscribe via the contact page and you’ll receive an email the moment a new update is published. Or just visit again next month, that’s up to you.

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You can find my previous posts, including tips and results of the previous months, here.

 

Comments: 5

  1. Finance Freedom says:

    What is your average income from affiliate links?

    • fvangenderen says:

      It is enough to cover my expenses, not enough to cover the time I spend on it.. I have a regular daytime job, and this is just something on the side. And I am by far not able to emigrate to Portugal.. Couldn’t even move to the next village.

    • fvangenderen says:

      OK, I’ve decided to calculate it for you (two sources). My total income from affiliate links this year is EUR 89.41 (from January 1st to March 11th). So that is approx EUR 35 per month this year.

  2. Joe says:

    Have you written off your investment in Grupeer in March? Another scam on top off the corona. Hard times.

    • fvangenderen says:

      Hi Joe, I am not writing off my investment in Grupeer in March, but I will as soon there is definitive proof. Or other confirmations. I am sad to say that it looks like that is very near though 🙁
      I hope you’re not heavily affected, by the debacle or the current crisis! Kind regards, Ferry

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