Private debt has become an increasingly popular asset class in recent years. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of private debt due to a rise in cash flow needs combined with favourable monetary policies and persistent low interest rates. However, securing a sustainable source of debt funding is still a big challenge for digital lenders, heightened by the fact that digital lending is still not transparent enough for most investors.
A new type of private debt platforms, that fund non-bank lenders, has emerged and is gaining more momentum in the race of demystifying the private debt space. A leader in the space is Singapore based Kilde, which was founded with the mission to democratise the private debt market.
In this edition of the Startup Spotlight we caught-up with Aleksandra Yurchenko, Head of Investor Relations at Kilde to find out more about their story, how they’ve raised funding and their ambitions to revolutionize the market.
The startup at a glance
Startup Name: Kilde
Date founded: November 2019
Number of employees: 10
Vonage API used: Verify
In one sentence, what does Kilde do?
Kilde is a regulated investment platform for alternatives, bringing together borrowers and investors.
What is the problem you are solving? Was this the initial problem or did you pivot?
We solve the problem of cumbersome and risky ways to participate in the growth of alternative investments, by allowing investors to buy securities instead of directly investing in alternative assets, which gives them the same upside with the added benefit of speed, trust, and simplicity.
Initially, we focused around the needs of the borrowers on our platform and later changed it. We realized that we have a potential to solve a much more scalable problem on the part of the investors on our platform.
What differentiates Kilde from your competitors? Is there a secret sauce?
Our secret sauce is our expertise, which allows us to source the best borrowers and arrange unique deals for investors on our platform and actively manage the risks of their investments.
The Team at Kilde
VC, Angel, Bootstrap or Other?
We raised pre-seed funding from a European VC fund, and will be raising seed funding both, from Angels and VCs, in the next few months.
What’s the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
Getting the first customers on board has been one of the bigger challenges, enhanced by the lack of track record and COVID-driven environment. In this period of uncertainty, the majority of the institutional investors tend to stick with existing partners.
Getting out there, relying on our own track record as a team, and talking through each qualified lead helped us score our first institutional customers.
The biggest mistake Kilde has made so far and what did you learn from it?
If we could go back in time, we would start testing our product and talking to customers earlier before we had our regulatory licensing and technology stack ready. That would allow us to correct the course earlier than we did.
You can choose one to be on your board: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Who do you choose and why?
Elon Musk. Out of the three, he’s launched more businesses and startups, so clearly knows the drill, and hopefully, would help launch Kilde to space.
What progress have you made since launching?
Kilde investment platform went live, we raised pre-seed funding, and have our first paying customers. The detailed timeline below:
- Digital investment platform development (Feb 20 - Jul 20);
- 9 borrowers with an overall approved credit limit of $30M onboarded (May 20 - Jan 21);
- First use case for private debt of Kilde (Singapore): Investment platform launched (Feb 21)
- 2 deals, $6M+ of debt securities issued (May 21)
- $3.5M committed by the investors (since Feb 2021);
- Other alternative assets: sourcing and onboarding of deal providers is ongoing.
What’s next for Kilde? Where do you want to be in 3 years?
Our ambitions for a 3-5 years horizon:
- $5 bln outstanding loan portfolio in 5 years;
- Becoming one of the most sophisticated and tech-driven financial institutions globally;
- Multi-asset company;
- Presence in major financial centres;
- Launch a fund;
- Our tokenized securities traded globally.
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