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.
Pictures say more than a thousand words. So here you go, have a look around in the FastInvest office building in Lithuania!
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.
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.”
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:
- Stop auto-invest
- Let your loans expire
- Cash out
Interest earned for loans you held the entire duration will, of course, never be lost.
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 wan’t 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.
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?
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!
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.