Germany-based Varengold Bank has signed an agreement for the acquisition of 20% stake in the Bulgarian online peer-to-peer lending platform Klear. Varengold will support the development and growth of Klear in Bulgaria and SEE with a financial package, which comprises of equity and debt funding in total of € 770,000. The transfer of shares is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2019.
Klear provides individuals with the opportunity to lend loans and generate a return on investment and others to borrow quickly and easily at reasonable and transparent interest rates. With the platform, individuals can easily apply online for a loan, get approved and receive the money without going physically to a financial institution. Klear disburses loans using its own funds and charges the customer with a single fee depending on the loan amount. The investors can buy pieces of various loans, acquiring the right to receive her/his share of the borrowers’ payments. The investor receives daily flows of money in her/his wallet, including interest, which can then be reinvested or withdrawn. So far, 1,150+ active investors have provided 900+ loans through the platform amounting at more than BGN 8 M (around €4 M). Klear was founded by Loic Le Pichoux, Lukasz Lukaszewski and Nikolay Stanev, entrepreneurs with solid experience in consumer finance. It was named The Best FinTech Startup in Bulgaria at the Central European Startup Awards in 2017 and 2018.
Varengold Bank, headquartered in Hamburg, specializes in marketplace and transaction banking, funding non-banking enterprises, and supporting fintech solutions, mainly platforms for peer-to-peer lending. Varengold has an international team of 70 people. Shares of the company are listed on the stock exchange in Frankfurt since 2007. The bank opened an office in Sofia last year and announced that the branch is the first step towards expanding its operations across SEE. Commenting on the deal Dr. Bernhard Fuhrmann, member of Varengold Bank’s management board said: “The project with Klear will demonstrate the benefits of successful partnerships between new generation banks as we believe Varengold is and the new marketplace platforms that provide consumers with faster, easier and better financial services”.