FastInvest Review – Meeting the team in Lithuania

This FastInvest review is 100% unbiased and based on my experiences.

What you’re about to read is probably the most awaited blog post in the lifespan of the FinanciallyFree blog. A lot of people wanted me to meet FastInvest in person and have some of your questions answered.

I spent 1½ days with Simona and the team. It was a great chance to learn about the company and have some of the mystery revealed. 

I’m sorry you had to wait for it, I wanted to be sure I’d give you the most accurate information possible. Here goes… Hope you enjoy it!

For those of you who don’t know FastInvest yet, let’s start out with some basic information.

What is FastInvest?

FastInvest is a P2P marketplace that connects investors with loan originators. They specialize in consumer loans in Europe and offer interest rates from 9-16% with buyback guarantee.

FAST INVEST is registered in United Kingdom. It’s daily operations takes place in Kaunas, Lithuania where 24 employees work with development of the platform, support and marketing. They have small offices in UK and Italy as well, but these only have marketing and support.

The office

Pictures say more than a thousand words. So here you go, have a look around in the FastInvest office building in Lithuania!

Inexperienced CEO?

Many people are questioning whether a 24 year old girl is competent enough to run a big company like FastInvest. Let’s just be honest, it’s not common. This was one of my main concerns when I read about FastInvest and was trying to find out whether I should invest in them or not.

Let me tell you this: I’ve rarely met someone as dedicated and passionate as Simona. She is clearly loved by her employees – people line up to speak with her when she is in the office.

She married a successful businessman at an early age. However, they don’t talk much business at home. “We are too passionate about each of our businesses. It would only lead to arguments” she said with a smile.

Simona’s story

This is the short version of her story as she told it to me.

Me: Can you tell me a your story in short?

She looked down for a few seconds before she answered.. When she looked up she was clearly touched by the question. 

Simona: “I was never like everyone else, you know… I was married early. When I was 14 I started working. I never partied or went on vacations like normal people. I completed 4-year studies in 2 years.

After finishing art study I went into the financial part of art. This is where I found my passion for numbers and let me in the direction of FinTech and Banking. Then I learned programming..

I spent thousands of hours including all weekends, all holidays, all days and nights. To create this company, I gave all my energy, strength, knowledge and dedicated my being for it.

I had the vision of a company operating all over the world, providing better banking options to everyone. When I started FastInvest I did everything myself. From email and phone support to marketing and setting up the webpage. It sounds funny now, clients never knew they was speaking with the CEO on support phone, but it was our beginning.

At some point I needed help, so I drew sketches on pieces of paper and hired a guy to help building a new web page. Then, we started to grow – people began to join us, partners and clients. Everyone from the beginning was interested in what we were doing. It motivated us to do more, to do better. 

And now, after three years, I am glad when some people say “it’s impossible that I’m CEO for a multi million euro company”. I made it possible. I believe, that every person has significant potential in their life. It’s important to be brave and diligent to keep doing what you believe in.

I never thought it would accelerate into this wonderful company we have created today.”

Me: Where are you in 5 years? What about kids and family?

Simona: “My family means everything to me. I don’t want kids because they would be raised in different offices all over the world. It would not be the ideal life to offer them. FastInvest is my child, it’s my passion.”

Simona’s car. Vision, FAITH, Persistence and Hard Work seems to be the formula for success.

Secondary market

There is no secondary market on FastInvest. Instead you have the option to sell back your investments to FastInvest at any time. There is no fee, but if you choose to sell your loans you will not receive any interest for the time you held the loans. If any interest was paid out, it will be subtracted from the amount you get back. Confused? Let’s take a quick example:

You invest 100€ in a 15% interest loan with 7 month duration. After 1 month you receive 1,25€ interest. After the 2nd month you receive another 1,25€ interest payment. Now you want to cash out. You sell the 100€ loan piece back to FastInvest and you will receive 97,5€ (100€ – 2,50€ already earned). This way you will still have the 100€ you invested originally.

It’s a great way to cash out if you need you money back quickly. However, the most profitable option to exit is to:

  1. Stop auto-invest
  2. Let your loans expire
  3. Cash out

Interest earned for loans you held the entire duration will, of course, never be lost.

Loan originators

FastInvest is currently working with 8 different loan originators. 

Many of you have asked why the names of the loan originators are not disclosed on the platform. I had a long talk with Simona about this topic and she understands it’s a big deal for investors. 

The “short” answer to the question is this:

Simona: “When FastInvest started, it was not common for platforms to publish the names of loan originators. After Mintos started publishing names of loan originators everyone else followed and it’s now becoming standard.”

She continues: “We cannot change the contract with our loan originators without re-negotiating terms and conditions. If we want to take out the part where the name of the loan originator remains private, they want something in return. Lower interest rates for example… Instead of changing existing contracts we would like the existing contracts to expire and make sure full disclosure is provided, when new contracts are made.”

Hard to change existing contracts

Simona: “We are in a situation where 5 of 8 loan originators would be okay with publishing their names with the current contract. The last 3 will be re-negotiated in 2019. All new contracts require full disclosure of the loan originator. We want to provide full transparency like everyone else.”

Me: Why don’t you just publish the names of these 5 originators and let investors know that 3 names cannot be shared at this time?

Simona: “I’m not sure what investors would say about this. Wouldn’t it create more questions about these 3 rather than focusing on the good part of disclosing the 5? 

We are currently developing a new platform for loan originators as well. The plan is to take the information about loan originators from this site and display the information in a transparent way on the investor site. All information about the originators, including financial statements etc. will be available for every to see. We are working hard to provide full transparency with all originators and everything we do, this is our main priority.”

Artists like beauty and perfection

It’s pretty clear to me that her background in art shines through in everything she does. She is perfectionist with focus on details. She doesn’t feel comfortable releasing something that is not perfect. I told her, in regards to loan originators: Investors would rather see the something in a sub-optimal view, than seeing nothing at all. Don’t you agree?

I feel certain that the information will be available eventually, hopefully sooner than later.

FastInvest platform development

We were the first outsiders to see what the developers at FastInvest are working on. I asked if I could share a screenshot and surprisingly she said yes!

There’s no official release date yet, but it will published in the first half of 2019.

The menu will be shifted to the left side and a lot of new features will be introduced. Such as better reports, better filtering options and beautiful graphs with estimated and realized earnings. Looks good doesn’t it?

All your questions answered by FastInvest

Here is the rest of the questions I asked Simona (summoned down to the shortest answer possible.)

Q: How many investors in Crypto?
A: 12.000 registered users.

Q: How many investors in P2P and how many are of these are active?
A: 16.000 registered users. 1.920 of these are considered active and made investments in November 2018.

Q: What is the average account value for those 1.920 P2P investors?
A: 750€

Q: How many P2P loans have been funded on the platform by investors?
A: 9.672.123€ has been published on the platform since the beginning.

Q: Why choose Fast Invest over competitors?
A: 1. Easy to use platform, no knowledge of finance or economics needed to invest money quickly and safely with us. We strive to provide the most intuitive and easy to use services for the EU residents.

2. Our clients can make investments starting from 1 EUR.

3. The buyback guarantee we offer is different from the competitors. Investors can sell all of their assets back to us in 1 day, whereas they would have to wait for the loan to expire, or put it on sale on a secondary market in our competitor’s cases.

To sum up, if you are not happy with our services, there is no complicated process to get your money back at any time.

Q: Can you tell more about the plans for splitting up Crypto and P2P?
A: Our Crypto and P2P businesses are already separated but they share the same website today.

We plan to launch a new website for the Crypto business in 2019. FastInvest.com will focus on P2P and the ICO will be moved to a new domain.

Both of our products will be managed independently, by different teams who are specialized in their fields and specific needs. 

Q: Why are investors from the UK not welcome?
A: I don’t like to say they’re not welcome, but we have taken a strategic decision to focus on the EU market for now. While Brexit is still unclear, we need to get a final political decisions, because it impacts our license application for the UK market.

Secondly, we saw a lot of cases where clients transferred £ instead €. Those clients lost money because their banks charged a lot for the currency conversion.

Q: How do you plan to improve the webpage?
A: We are changing the website entirely to the make use of the latest technology in the IT sphere. It will be the third FAST INVEST version. We have a plan to release it in the beginning of 2019.

Q: Can you explain more about the ICO? Getting the targeted amount of 211 million dollars is not a scenario that will likely happen anytime soon.  Is it likely to succeed?Why this big number?
A: You know, let’s speak generally. It is not only about ICO. It’s about our dream and vision for FAST INVEST. We see our future as Global Investment Bank, which can provide many financing instruments in different currencies including cryptocurrencies.

The target is big, but we need to agree that the plan is big too. The target amount is 
not calculated for a month, quarter or year — the capital amount is for all future. We have no rush to reach the full amount, this vision does not depend on ICO success. It just will let us do it faster. I have a bright idea, and I do my best to follow it.

Q: Will you be able to provide enough loans to investors as the platform grows?
A: We are growing fast at the moment, and it will be a challenge to keep up with the
demand with the existing sources of the loans, for this reason, we are acquiring new
partners among the leading companies and are planning to create a dedicated team that will work specifically for that. We are ready to keep up with the growth of our platform, and we are taking actions to meet the demand.

More pictures from the trip

What is my conclusion about FastInvest?

Well, now there’s no doubt in my mind that FastInvest is a REAL company that has grown very fast in a very short time. I had a blast talking to Simona and the team.

Many big companies have similar start-up stories, where the CEO’s started working in a garage or basement in their parants house. A lot of things are clearly not perfect, it’s not easy to be a visionaire and take action to put your ideas to life. If it was, everyone would be doing it.

Many of my readers have emailed me, saying they have withdrawn their investments from FastInvest with success, also amounts greater than 10.000€. It makes me comfortable that the withdrawal process works as it should. It’s awesome to have such a helpful and informative community!

Downsides?

FastInvest still haven’t disclosed the names of their loan originators. If this is important for you, you’ll have to wait for this information to be published and stick with better known platforms like Mintos for now.

Does their support department need to be more professional and provide better answers? Probably!

Seeing the new platform they are developing really reinforced my belief in them. It looks really good and the interface is smooth and fast. They are bringing some new innovative ideas on the table that I really like.

Personally, I will take a leap of faith, trust in FastInvest and keep re-investing.

My FastInvest portfolio performance

You can follow my FastInvest portfolio performance and see a screenshot from my account on this page. Here’s a preview from May 2019:

77 Replies to “FastInvest Review – Meeting the team in Lithuania”

  1. Very interesting and comprehensive post as always, Jørgen, it is truly a pleasure to read your first-hand impressions of FastInvest. I personally agree on the wild and somehow unpredictable potential of this platform and will stick with them for a while. Thanks for all your time, research and transparency!

  2. Thank you a lot for the long awaited and very informative review Jorgen.
    I think that me and many other investors were waiting for that one.

    Between Envestio having no loan available at the moment and Mintos having lower interest rate, it’s a little rough to find good loans with a buyback guarantee right now. I guess I shouldn’t complain about “only” 12% haha.

    I’m still not sure if I’m convinced by FI. The lack of names for the loans originators bugs me a lot even thought we have a reason for that now.

    I guess only time will tell if they do good and survive for years while keeping up with the demand. (RIP Envestio for that)
    As of right now, my salary of December is going to Grupeer 🙂

    1. My pleasure Clarw,

      It’s a little early to say “RIP Envestio” just because projects have been sold out for 5 days, don’t you think?? In that case, Crowdestate would have been dead for a long time. Grupeer was also sold out in most of November. Project based platforms are different from consumer loan platforms like Mintos, Twino, Robocash, Swaper and FastInvest.

  3. thanks Jorgen! Great report, and give them also my trust and continue. Most they can do is just deliver, and thats what they do since i started in august 2018
    ron

    1. You’re welcome Yellowbaygardens. FastInvest is not down, but if you live in Lithuania or Latvia you cannot access the page unless you use VPN. When I asked why, they said they’ve had severe problems with cyber attacks and decided to block these countries until a solution is found. I think it’s a poor way to handle it, but it might be due to their limited resources.

      1. yeah that’s a crazy way of dealing with a situation. seems like they’re experiencing typical growth pains of a startup. your report highlights that as well. if they handle it well, they will come out just fine, but this is a fragile time, and let’s hope they don’t sink.

      2. Now I got the answer why it was not possible to visit the site while I was in Latvia. And thanks, Jørgen, for the great insights and casting some light in their “basement”.

        Kindly,
        Janis

  4. Thank you for the Review, Jorgen!

    I definitely feel a little better about the platform now, but I still don’t like the part about the loan originators not being disclosed. I’ll probably still invest a smaller sum (1k) with them to try out FastInvest and see for myself!

    1. My pleasure Luigi! It’s always a good idea to start out small and get a feeling for a platform before committing larger amounts.

  5. Thank you very much for all the shared information, it was nice to see their offices, the Simona story, etc…to me that´s enough to invest more in FI, i have no problem with the names!

    1. We all have different risk tolerance and different needs when we’re looking for new investments. Some investors need every minor detail about all aspects of the business, where others just need to see it works. I’m all about details and try to dig as deep as I can!

      Most importantly though, I need to see the people behind seem like someone I can trust and they show great enthusiasm in what they’re doing and they’re working hard to improve. FastInvest ticked those boxes for me.

  6. I also want to express my gratitude to you for the effort and dedication of travelling to meet FI and providing us with a detailed report.

    I accept their answer about the loan originators. The thing that has always bothered me, and continues to bother me, is their tendency to dodge questions and display alternative facts.

    For example, their main office is obviously in Lithuania. Why is that info not on their site, and why is it constantly being avoided in favour of the irrelevant UK and Italy addresses?

    Why, when I asked Dovile Zili about their number of their active investors, she answered that they have 14,000 daily users? She probably wasn’t lying, that’s the number of site visits or something. But that’s not what I asked.
    You’ve finally managed to drag out of them the real number of investors; I just don’t understand why they are not more upfront about this number, as well as the loan volume, the number of loan originators, and the identities of the 5 that are willing to be revealed.

    By the way, because FastInvest itself provides default guarantees, they are also expected to reveal their own financials. No excuses there.

    Even more evasive was Simona’s story. I had not doubt that she is a unique person, but that doesn’t explain her mysterious background of being appointed to the board of a Polish/British loan company which somehow grew into FastInvest. Again, she answered the secondary question but ignored the main topic.

    So… while your visit has helped reassure me that they are not a complete scam, I’m still unconvinced about their business practices. The low average investor portfolio shows that I’m not the only one sceptical about them.

    I hope that the FI team is reading this post and these comments. I would like to convey to them the following message: If we wanted to invest in a large company, we would buy stocks. We invest in P2P because we believe in revolutionary business models and small innovative companies. Rather than working so hard to look big and international, just be real with us. We appreciate honesty, transparency and upfront business practices. Sure, we also like large numbers, but only if they are 100% representative (as opposed to that 14,000 users example). When you stop being so evasive, that’s when people start treating you like a serious investment opportunity, and the money will begin flowing.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Ido. Maybe some of the points you raise is the biggest flaw of being a young CEO?

      The office address might be “hidden” to avoid problems until regulation is in place? When there are no rules in place it’s the wild west. They could receive unreasonable penalties or sanctions from their own country even though they do nothing wrong. I’ve heard of examples where 2 identical companies do the exact same thing. One gets a warning and the other one a 100.000€ penalty. It’s just easier not to deal with this kind of mafia methods carried out by the government by only listing your legal address. Either way, Simona said the Kaunas address will be visible in the next version of FastInvest.

      Do you have any sources to document that Simona was being appointed to the board of a Polish/British loan company which somehow grew into FastInvest? According to her, she started FastInvest and created everything from scratch.

    2. That DAU number is constantly changing, e.g., 6 months ago it was 9K (https://www.eu-startups.com/2018/06/building-the-digital-investment-bank-of-the-future-interview-with-simona-vaitkune-ceo-of-fast-invest/).

      Answers about not disclosing originators are sketchy at best. Usually reason for not disclosing is affiliation between originators and platform. That allows to cycle money from platform to consumer loans and back.

      Reply to question about ICO (“let’s speak generally…”, “target amount is
      not calculated for a month, quarter or year — the capital amount is for all future”…) is major red flag.

      All that inspiring talk is nice and fluffy, but it seems that Simona’s business started off right after marriage with successful businessman, who probably needed some front to create shadowy money flows or to catch ICO train.

      Just my opinion.

    3. I disagree you´re talking for all investors. wide public wants just the headline of the information and they won´t trust in a small company from god knows where. that´s how mainstream works.
      their policy is unfortunately a little bit needed, I do understand it
      but I do agree with this “By the way, because FastInvest itself provides default guarantees, they are also expected to reveal their own financials. No excuses there.”
      indeed, no excuses here

    4. Zgadzam sie w 100%, Jestem w FI od 7 may 2018, na razie bez żadnych problemów. Mieli w Polsce wirtualne biuro i je zlikwiodowali

  7. That’s indeed what I was referring to, thanks Claus.

    Jørgen, the regulations theory is interesting. If the only strange issue were their country of operation, I wouldn’t mention it, they can work from Mars for all I care. It’s the combination of dodgy answers and half-truths on several different topics that bothers me.

    To me it seems that young people should have a better understanding of what it means to operate in an online, transparent, information-driven economy. A traditional 50 year old businessman might think that he can hide his company’s history. Simona, at her age, should realise that her company register can be found on Google, and be prepared to provide explanations to those who ask about it.

  8. Thanks Jørgen for delving a bit deeper into FI. It is indeed an interesting company and it doesn’t have a widespread online reputation.
    It gave me a bit of peace of mind, but I will stick to multiple platform to spread the risk.

  9. Hi Jørgen,

    Great info being shared here as usual. I’ve been investing with them for one month and I’m surprised with the autoinvest efficiency, loans are always available and with the minimum invested amount being only 1Euro, cash drag is almost nonexistent.

    By the way, if everything goes as expected I may be starting my personal investment blog by Christmas period, can’t wait, even though it will probably look rubbish XD. Again, thanks for the inspiration, I’ll need it 😉

    Here I’ve got a question for you: Have you ever considered writing about your experiences as a p2pblogger and tips for beginners?

    Until next time, have a great time Jørgen.

    1. Hey Tony,

      That’s one of the great things, there’s no cash drag at FastInvest! Hopefully this review will not change that (that’s one of the down-sides of getting more readers).

      I’m pleased to hear that you’re inspired to start your own blog. It’s a great way to stay committed to your investment goals!

      I have not considered writing about my experiences as a blogger. Do I have any tips or tricks to share? Hmm.. My best advise would be to write about something you love. Everytime you sit behind the desk to spend time on the blog you should do it for you, not for your audience. It’s great to have your audience in mind, of course, but it needs to give you value first. Like buying a new car, the first scent of fresh leather will quickly wear off and it will soon be every-day-life again. Blogging takes time and persistence. Expect at least 1-2 years before you see any significant results in amount of readers or Google rating. Don’t expect it to be perfect or pretty from the start, you will make lots of improvements over time while you learn and get better ideas.

      I wish you all the best and hope to see you around!

      1. Thanks for time replying my question, I honestly appreciate your advice and loved your answer.

        Yep, that’s the main thing, to be committed to my investment goals while I track every movement on the way. I hope that will keep me organised and improve future decisions. There are other reasons that attracts me to the idea of blogging, such as, meet like minded people or add life purpose (I my case would love to donate if ever never profitable).

        I’ll stick around Jørgen, keep up the good work.

  10. Thank you, Jørgen, for another interesting blogpost!

    In the beginning you write that it is a 100% unbiased. Does it mean that you have no affiliate agreement or in any other way profit when your followers sign up and invest?

    If thats not the case then Ill recommend to change the text and describe your bias

    Best, Loui

    1. Hi Loui,

      It’s not a secret that I use affiliate links. However, the fact that I get paid if people use the service doesn’t mean that it’s automatically biased. Some people would also argue that because I’m invested in the platform my opinion is also biased. I kindly disagree.

      No amount of money can buy my opinion. Not a single word in the reviews I do would be different if I was paid 0€ or 1.000.000€ for signups. That’s what I mean by unbiased.

      1. Hi Jørgen,

        Thank you for the reponse!
        You might not be biased but since its a fact that you benefit from your followers investing in FastInvest it would be more honest to describe you incentives also if you resist to follow them. With these strings attached you will not be able completely reject a bias.

        Again, Im not against the affiliate system. I value your reviews and I use your links when I sign up. I just think its a bit too much to claim to be 100% unbiased when you in fact have a very obvious benefit of writing a positive review.

        Anyway, just something to consider. Once again, thank you for a good blog!

        1. Hi Loui,

          I do describe and disclose the use of affiliate links. I even write about the commissions earned in the monthly reports.

          I understand your point of view and I know a lot of people would agree with you. However, I think it says more about you and other people’s relation to money than it does about my intentions. My reviews and everything I post here is still unbiased. Even if I had to PAY 1€ for each referral, I would still write the exact same thing. I’m also the kind of person who would not like to win the lottery. Even if I was guaranteed to win 100 million EUR if I bought a lottery ticket tomorrow I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t expect you to understand, but it’s still true. Earnings from questionable actions or luck brings me no joy in life. I like to help and educate people who want to learn. That’s what drives me, not money.

          1. Hi Jørgen, thanks for another great review!

            I don’t want to knock you or question your intentions, but I have to agree with Loui on this one.

            Earnings from questionable actions or luck brings me no joy in life. I like to help and educate people who want to learn. That’s what drives me, not money.

            While it sounds very noble and honorable, the fact that you DO make money from referring people to the different platforms (some more than others) does speak against the above statement 😉

            If you weren’t in it for the money (I do not blame you!), you would remove any affiliate link on your blog. This is (in my opinion) the only way you can be truly unbiased.

            When you put in the hard work that you obviously do, I don’t mind that you make a buck (quite the buck!) off of it. I’m not implying that your opinions are bought, I just don’t believe the notion of 100% unbiased reviews, when there’s (good) money flowing in your direction at the same time 😉

            I understand that you would write the exact same thing, even if there were no money involved, which is why I love your reviews, and I understand that the platforms does not directly pay you to write nice things…But still…You can’t claim not to be in this game for the money. You’re running a fire-blog for christ sake 😛

          2. Feel free to think what you want, I know my values and beliefs. I hear you, but again, I don’t expect you to understand my complicated mind 🙂 I’m investing for money and for freedom, I’m not blogging to earn money. Blog income is a nice side effect and I do see it as an appreciation of the work I put into it. But if not 1 (ONE!) word would be different if I removed the referral links, how can you say it’s impacting my articles and makes it biased?

  11. It totally normal that he use affiliate links for those who want to use them. Its kind a job for Jørgen to write down those posts. I guess a lot of investors wouldn`t even start to invest without this blog. Specially me totally fine that he earns some pay for work which he inputs.
    If talking about paid reviews and blog posts then I step on other side. If you advertising someone, doesnt matter, they pay you in cash or through better affiliate percentage, you must make it clear for readers that it`s somehow paid.
    I don`t believe that there will be some business who gonna pay for bad review. So lets say FastInvest gave you offer and you accepted it. Visited them and you was totally disappointed. So you decide to make it all clear and write you unbiased BAD review. So they still gonna keep the same offer? I don`t thinks so.

    1. I have never made paid reviews or paid blog posts. I get some offers but I have declined them all. If an exciting sponsored post would come up, I would write sponsored post in the headline.

      1. So there is no affiliate and no offer from FastInvest? Then for what there is clickable link for tracking traffic not just simple FastInvest website link?

        1. I use the normal affiliate link from TargetCircle which is available to everyone. FastInvest didn’t give me any offer for doing a review.

  12. Thanks a lot, Jørgen, for your review! Besides the couple of points that make lots of (potential) investors sceptical and that have already been mentioned above, there is another self-made experience with FI. It seems to good to be true that there not yet been a single day of delay of interest or repayment. Do you have an idea how they manage this? Do they buffer the payments with an own cash pool/reserve? My experience with other P2P platforms is different. There is always something not running as planned …

    1. Yes, FastInvest buy delayed loans back automatically. FastInvest provide the guarantee. On Mintos the buyback is made by the loan originators, this is why there’s a difference in experience. It’s the same on Swaper and Robocash btw, they also buyback instantly.

  13. Alright guys, I think you made your point – let’s move on. I have no problem whatsoever with Jorgen using his Ref-Links, why wouldn’t he? I’m here because I enjoy following his journey and I value his opinion and his in depth reviews on p2p lending platforms. You’re not losing anything by him using ref-links, your returns on the platforms stay exactly the same. Would you be happier if he didn’t get anything in return for the work he puts into his articles (and answering every single comment and question)?

    If you believe that his opinion is unbiased (which I do), then you should be happy if he helped you discover another great platform to invest in and that he’s getting a commission at no cost to you! If you think referral programs (like they exist in every single field) make him biased, then just move on to another place you like better, but don’t criticize him for it.

    Just my 2 cents 😉

      1. happy to hear that, that was my intention! 🙂 You’re the reason I got into P2P investing 2-3 months ago (was only in ETFs before). Thank you for that, it has been a fun ride so far!

  14. Good morning all, I must concur with Luigi, don’t shoot the messenger springs to mind!

    I have reservations re FI as well, I lived in Harlow only 5 minutes away from their office and was curious as I knew they were not there I carried out the same research as Claus did. That said I took on board Jorgen’s and your comments and made my own decision whether to invest in them or not.

    Personally I would like to thank Jorgen for spending some of the money he has earned gaining the information we are using to make better more informed decisions on our investments.

    Hope you all have a happy investment day and earn some £££££.

    Michael

  15. Hi Jørgen,
    Thank you for writing such a great review of Fast Invest, I’m really glad to see that it’s a real company with real people. After all, I think that’s the biggest fear of investors after seeing so many ICO companies going bust in the last year.

    I hope you can come up with more reviews about other platforms as well in case you will have enough time to visit other companies.

    As another fellow investor, I really appreciate your hard work!

  16. The man is doing an incredible job, for free, month after month, spending money in trips, meals,and offering all this information and you guys are discussing the sex of the angels? How is that discussion getting us benefits? Let´s be pragamtics and focus in our final objectiv!

    1. 15.505,48€ last month in affiliate commissions from blog doesn’t sound ‘for free’ to me at all 🙂

      1. Hey Mark, just so you know, comments like yours are the reason most people don’t share their online income as openly as Jorgen does. Don’t be surprised if he stops doing that in the future after all these negative reactions.

        1. Thanks for the opinion. I’ve been involved in multiple online businesses since 2007 and the reason why I pointed this out is very similar to previous comments. I’m trying to educate people who are not familiar with online businesses and various methods of blog monetisation.
          My concern is that creating a blog for almost nothing (you can start your own blog for just €15) that brings way more than the actual investments – make you biased. Lets just compare:
          – investments in platforms = €89.500 / bring in €743 a month
          – investments in blog = let’s just assume it’s €100 / bring in €15.505
          Which investment model would you choose?
          My apologies for being brutal here but I just don’t believe in unicorns anymore since the initial goal (according to the story) is to grow capital to live off the interest.
          How come that every review ends up being positive one way or another. Every visit is a nice stay and a great promising platform?
          In my opinion, to make it unbiased, Jørgen would have chosen a different monetisation method, i.e. AdSense by Google, donations from investors, banner sales, affiliate programs from different sources (i.e. books from Amazon), etc. but NOT affiliate programs from platforms that are being reviewed! “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. Just my 2 cents.

          1. Hi Mark,

            I understand your comment which, very clearly shows, that you have a background and experience with online businesses. If you solely look at this blog as an online business, sure, it would be possible to set it up, write a lot of positive content with the intent to get referrals and earn income from it. I too, have seen a lot of similar review sites where it’s clear that the only intention is to earn money. This was, and will never be, the intention of FinanciallyFree. If you think money always changes intentions you have a poor mindset.

            This blog is NOT a review site of all P2P platforms.

            I blog about the investments I make. I only review the platforms where I, after a lot of research, decide to invest. I don’t have time to post articles about the due dilligence I do in all the platforms where I choose not to invest. That’s why the reviews are mostly positive, if I think an investment is bad I would get rid it ASAP. Many platforms have asked if I would be interested in review them, but I’ve declined because I’m not going to invest in them.

            If you knew me, I have been talking about crowdlending platforms since I started investing, without getting any kind of compensation for it. If I like a product, I’m going to tell the world about it, it’s that simple. My opinion does not change whether money is involved or not. If that was the case, I would promote the hell out of Bondora who has the best affiliate deal of all. Instead I try to warn everyone about the misleading ways they calculate profit!

            I believe I can be unbiased without destroying the design with loads of annoying advertisements no one wants to see. Feel free to think differently.

            Now let’s direct the conversation back to the investments, the blog income is really not that interesting.

  17. I just had a good and informative call with Simona. She explained that she bought the company BIG CREDIT LIMITED, because it would be easier than to start up with a completely new company and they already had a good reputation and history in UK. They later changed the name to FastInvest.

    She also explained that the other CEO, Anthony, was appointed for a few months when they investigated the opportunity to open up for investors in the UK. Anthony is a relative who she trusts and it made the communication easier with the government.

    Regarding financial statements for FastInvest, they are publicly available from 2016 and 2017 on Company House: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/08338389/filing-history (select accounts in the filter and see the document from 25 Nov 2018)

    The Lithuanian office will be on the new upcoming website, as mentioned earlier.

    1. Wow, I feel like you’ve just solved the biggest mystery about FastInvest’s past!

      Simona’s answer doesn’t explain how she got the money to buy the company, but I guess that rich relatives are as good an explanation as any. The most important thing is that she finally addressed this topic.

      Thanks again for your journalistic work. You might be having second thoughts about revealing your blog income due to the attention it receives. I think it’s important that you keep your full transparency (as you’ve done so far). If you want to take the sting out of those comments, you can rephrase the sentence at the beginning of your reviews to make it clear that they are 100% unbiased *although you use affiliate links*.

      Anyway, don’t be discouraged by the comments – those of us who follow you know that you’re doing it all from your heart.

  18. Hi,

    I’m P2P investor from Lithuania and looking to various P2P platforms to diversify my portfolio. These guys are based in Lithuania, yet I haven’t seen much/if any info about them in local P2P forums and I found this strange/curious. There was some talk about them in Traders.lt where people called them scammers outright, so I thought I’ll do bit of digging myself. There was one article in that forum that is very interesting:
    https://www.15min.lt/verslas/naujiena/finansai/simtai-taupkases-indelininku-liko-su-beverciais-pajais-tik-dabar-suprato-esantys-apgauti-662-930292
    Use google translate to get a sense what this article, but in short it talks about a failed credit union called “Taupkase”. People lost money, there are significant suspicions relating to accounting fraud, embezzlement, strange lending practices to related parties, misuse of depositors money (expensive cars, posh apartments that had no use for credit unions core business etc.).
    One interesting episode there, where in 2016 shareholder meeting they voted to distribute over 700k euro in bonuses to the members of the union’s credit committee. A credit union with some 20mil euro in assets and credit committee that oversaw only up to 120k euro in credit lines are voted to get over 700k euro in bonuses! (it’s not just my surprise, this was also a surprised reaction from bankruptcy administrator). This decision was later overturned by Highest Court in Lithuania and Financial Crime Investigation Service (FNTT) had started an inquiry into this matter:
    http://www.fntt.lt/lt/naujienos/fntt-tiria-galima-simtu-tukstanciu-euru-issvaistyma-kredito-unijoje-taupkase/3611

    Why I’m talking about this seemingly irrelevant subject you’d ask, well, that 15min.lt article has an interesting screenshot of the list of 16 people who voted to distribute that insane bonus to the Union’s credit committee members. And what are the names of that list? You can see:
    9. Simona Vaitkune (CEO of Fast Invest).
    8. Zilvinas Vaitkunas (Simona’s husband).
    11. Elena Vaitkune ( allegedly Zilvinas’s mother who was up until recently 100% shareholder of Fast invest Ltd)
    2. Sergej Scerbakov (former director of Fast Invest Ltd),
    4 Genadij Fomkin (allegedly the same Genadij Anthoni Fomki, former director and Simona’s relative.) CEO of that “Taupkase” CU was Loreta Fomkina (for what I can only assume is the wife of this Genadij Fomkin). Does it not look suspicious that so many key people from this failed credit union are or were involved in Fast Invest (including Simona)?

    I think the key person in this puzzle is Simona’s husband – Zilvinas Vaitkunas. He was on the board of directors of this Taupkase, but was removed from the board on 2015 by direction of the Central Bank of Lithuania for pledging Taupkase Credit Union’s assets against liabilities of his personal companies:
    https://www.lb.lt/lt/naujienos/nusalintas-taupkases-kredito-unijos-valdybos-narys

    You’d say, OK, but Simona is “self made”, perhaps with the help of rich relatives, but she did it herself. Let’s look at the filing history of this now failed company called Fast Investment LTD (name sounds a bit similar to Fast Invest LTD, doesn’t it?). The director at the time of liquidation in 2016 was Zilvinas Vaitkunas (her husband) and perhaps most interestingly the only shareholder was Elena Vaitkuniene (allegedly Zilvinas’s mother). Same Elena Vaitkuniene was the 100% shareholder of the Fast Invest Ltd up until very recently.
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07654364/filing-history

    Simona claimed that she had “purchased” the company, but how come there are only changes in directorship, but not the ownership? The 100% owner remained the same Elena Vaitkuniene pretty much throughout the life of the company. She claims to have worked so hard to build the company, yet the company is not registered in her name, why? And what is all that deal with “Taupkase”?

    Oh and that’s a nice car with a nice number plate!
    A curious detail about cars: that FNTT article has one sentence: “It was found that one of the leaders of the union rides a luxury car “Hummer”, but lives in a municipality-owned apartment.”.
    Last registered address of now defunct Fast Investment Ltd was Kvieciu g.5, Vilnius, Lithuania. (That’s the one where Simona’s husband was a director). You go into Google street view and …. there is a Hammer just around the corner beside that house!!! What a coincidence, or is it??

    You add the above to the other strange facts for example that it’s not available Lithuania, because of hackers (?!?!). Well, those “hackers” I suspect is Lithuanian Central Bank and FNTT. And what about those PO Box addresses claiming to be actual offices with people? Or that they do not disclose the loan originators? And by the way she is a CEO of BC Finance, a fast credit originator that has 5 employees and shares office with Fast Invest Ltd:
    https://www.lb.lt/en/sfi-financial-market-participants/bc-finance-uab
    Is she feeding funds into her own lending company? We won’t know, because of “confidentiality”.

    I have more questions than answers, but I think at least for myself I know enough to to make a decision to pass on this platform.

    Happy New Year and stay safe and keep your money safe! 🙂

    1. Hi Elf,

      Thank you for devoting your time and efforts to doing research and sharing it with the community. I’ve found the same information and discussed it with Simona on the phone in December.

      Basically, her response is that she is sad that she is being linked to her mothers company “Taupkase” where she didn’t have much influence. Decisions are carried out by a majority of votes, we have no way to know what Simona voted for in those meetings.

      She also told me that her mother and around 200 members are preparing documents for European Human Rights Court because they believe the regulators have treated them inappropriate by taking away the licence (which led to forced bankruptcy).

      Whenever I talk to Simona she seems genuinely keen on building a good and transparent company. I’ll need to see that it’s not only a vision, but that she is actually going to follow through by disclosing the loans originators etc. before I deposit more.

      Having a platform to “feed own lending companies” is a legit business strategy used by other platforms such as Twino, Robocash, PeerBerry and Swaper. I don’t think it’s a problem if she owns one of the loan originators, I might even consider it an advantage. Time will tell when the loan originators are disclosed.

      Happy new year and keep staying curious!

    2. Thank you Elf for digging so much and for sharing such important information 😉

  19. Hi Jørgen, great work with the blog and all the posts, they posses very valuable information. Would you share the distribution of you affiliate income? It is quite interesting and nice that after 1 year, the blog started making so much income for you. What changed in the last couple of months that the blog started making the income?

    1. Thank you Rafael. I don’t share the distribution of referral income, I think this part has too much attention already. More people visited the blog lately, that’s the main difference.

  20. Looks like her past could be not that bright as is described. Here are some questionable stories from Simona’s (and her husband) past. Sorry that is’t available only in Lithuanian, but you can try using google translator

    Simona and her husband were members of the board of Taupkase (currently bankrupted).

    https://www.15min.lt/verslas/naujiena/finansai/simtai-taupkases-indelininku-liko-su-beverciais-pajais-tik-dabar-suprato-esantys-apgauti-662-930292

    https://www.lb.lt/lt/naujienos/nusalintas-taupkases-kredito-unijos-valdybos-narys

  21. I have been looking for opinions to invest in Crypto with some platform, and after reading your experience and contribution on FastInvest I will motivate me, thank you very much Jørgen

  22. Sadly one thing I noticed is that withdrawals seem to take a very long time (4 days to be processed according to some reviews), mine is still pending (reserved/waiting on the FastInvest account) after over 48 hours. Compared to Mintos, Iuvo Group and Bondora (each wire the money back the same or next day), that’s way too long…

    1. Maybe you think it’s long, but it’s described precisely in their terms and conditions and FAQ so it should not come as a surprise 🙂

      1. thanks Jorgen for the info – I know it’s up to 4 days according to the FAQ, but I still thought it’s worth mentioning compared to some other platforms that are much faster in that regard. Someone who reads about the possibility to sell back the investments to FastInvest at any time might be interested to know how long it takes (on average) to have the money back on their bank account.

        Quick update: They processed the payment today (3rd day), and it’s currently pending (on my Revolut-Account).

  23. Very insightful review. Congratulations on your job Jørgen.

    I was looking to dip my toes on this company but after this, I think I will give it a pass.

    The fact all this companies from East Europe are failing to be registered by the FCA in the UK should be a warning signal. Do not forget the UK has the most develop P2P industry within Europe. Obviously, blaming Brexit for the uncertain times we live in, looks cool among European investors but don´t buy it.

    It is not only the lack of transparency but the display of unnecessary wealth what makes me think this smells fishy and as someone said once if it smells fishy, it is fish.

    Again thanks for your review Jørgen.

  24. “100% unbiased and based on my experiences” – that is not possible.

    I’m sure you made that statement in good faith, and most people indeed believe they are capable of unbiased choices and opinions.
    If you are interested in learning about our cognitive limitations, a good book is ‘Thinking, fast and slow’ by Kahneman.

    1. I’m also sure you wrote this comment in good faith as well Stefan. I disagree though, of course it’s possible to write an unbiased review. A review that purely states facts and numbers without any personal opinions would be unbiased. I do share my personal view in some cases, but I still believe my review is unbiased. It would be nice if you could point out any text from the review that you think is biased.

  25. Fastinvest gives buyback guarantee but it says nothing, we know nothing about its balance, its assets to buy back loans and none gives a rating to Fastinvest. It is only a site we can only trust. Not even publishes a graph about its growth. Why is it not registered to FCA?

    1. You’re right Luigi. At the moment, investing with FastInvest is a matter of trust. They have promised to release information about the loan originators in 2019.
      FastInvest doesn’t need to be registered with the FCA because FastInvest does not own the investments. FastInvest is the middle man between the investor and borrower (just like Mintos).

    1. That’s because FastInvest is an English company registered in the UK. The Lithuanian company exists for advertising purposes and handling of the Lithuanian staff I guess.

  26. Jorgen,

    I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and I sincerely enjoy this. Without your information investing would not have been that easy.

    However, I personally feel like, you’re making a crucial mistake. You as a blogger should at least mention the suspicion of fraud in your review. It is your choice to invest on Fastinvest, but to leave the things you’ve been confronted with in the comments out of your review shows that you “bow to to affiliate commission”.

    Therefore I would kindly like to ask you to update your review in order to maintain your own credibility.

    You’ve been my favourite blogger from the start and Ilike to keep it that way.

    Kind regards,

    Robin

    1. Hi Robin,

      I don’t suspect fraud, if I did I would pull my money out immediately! I know other people are suspecious – most of those people have not spent 2 days with FastInvest, asking questions non-stop.

      I don’t care about the affiliate commission from FastInvest, all I care about is my investment. I have responded to the comments, if you feel like I missed a question feel free to ask me and I’ll gladly share my opinion.

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