After the Great Recession from 2007-2009, income growth nearly flattened for the average American while prices have been continuously rising. Almost half of America is unable to raise $400 for an emergency. With payday loans turning out to be predatory debt traps, it is almost impossible to raise a small loan for a short period of time.
Realizing the fact that almost two thirds of the country is under a non-prime credit risk, Hundy wanted to reduce the grievances of the new middle class. The idea was to build a true peer-to-peer lending marketplace which would serve as a platform for raising loans of up to a few hundred dollars at a low interest rate. The platform is open to everyone and is easy to access. It is a friendly, convenient, and transparent way to borrow money from peers.
The mobile application is a community-based model which facilitates interaction between the borrower and lender. The company’s long term goal is to build a network where people can borrow, save and invest, all at the same place.
Focused on small dollar loans in the marketplace lending market, Hundy is based out of San Francisco. The mobile native platform was launched in 2016 and focuses on providing loans to the underserved at a fair price. It has raised over $400,000 in a friends and family round. In a conversation, Pete Budlong, the founder and CEO of the company, discussed how instability has become the new normal after 10 years of recession and how Hundy addresses this issue.
How Hundy Works
Getting a loan over the Hundy application is a very simple process. Users sign up using Facebook. After signing up, they sign agreements and link bank accounts. After a credit approval process, their profile is ready and they can start applying for loans. The company offers the option of hard and soft credit pulls so as not to adversely affect the user’s credit score.
On getting credit approval, users can immediately request their first loan of up to $100. However, if not approved automatically, they’ll get approved based upon their participation in the community over time. Once approved and a request for a loan has been made, the user’s application is processed within minutes and the loan amount transferred into their bank account by the next business day.
Loan payments, along with a repayment fee, will be withdrawn from the user’s bank account on the selected date of repayment, which can be up to four weeks after the date of loan issuance. If the user can’t pay off the loan on time, there is an option to convert the loan into a 60-day installment loan with no penalty. Every time a loan is paid off, the borrower’s credit limit will go up until it reaches the maximum of $250. The borrower is updated throughout the process via e-mails and text messages, making all transactions over the platform transparent and fair.
The company has originated over 1,000 loans and has an APR of 180% as compared to 350% for traditional payday lenders. Its main competitor in the online space is LendUp, and it competes with payday lenders in the offline market.
Hundy’s Reach and Market Stats
Currently holding a full lending license in California, Hundy is planning to expand its services to other states in the US. The app will be launched in Texas and Florida by the end of this year. The mobile application was ranked as high as 89 in the app store under the finance category with about 70K registered installs. Around 60,000 downloads are wait-listed. This is a massive reach considering that the company is not engaged in any kind of advertising activity. Another co-founder of the company, Ram Hegde has been operating a developer team in India, and a team of two in the US is helping Pete with the marketing.
The community currently has a monthly growth rate of 30%, which is doubling every two to three months. Most of its traffic, about 95%, comes from iOS devices.
Hundy’s Future Plans
The company’s goals are structured into three milestones. The first leg constitutes the launch of the social feed, which is already finished. Almost one-third of Hundy’s borrowers participate on this social feed. The second leg accounts for a non-profit lending product. The company made a formal announcement for the non-profit product at the Money 20/20 startup academy. The third leg involves for-profit crowdfunding, and the company aims to accomplish this by the end of this year.
As of now, the company is not looking to raise money but to originate borrowers. Once the application manages to strengthen its hold on the borrower side, it will focus on engaging lenders. The aim is to build a community-based lending platform where borrowers and lenders can directly interact with each other. These communications between various stakeholders also help create a database for developing machine learning- and artificial intelligence-driven algorithms for the platform. Currently, the company is serving accredited investors through a Reg D exemption but will soon leverage Reg CF and Reg A+ for allowing unaccredited investors to pool their money for loaning to potential borrowers.
People find it difficult to take out small loans at a reasonable rate of interest. The Hundy application proves to be a great platform in such scenarios, offering short-term loans at a fair price. It is aiming to provide affordable loans, not just in California but all across the US, by building a community where borrowers and lenders can communicate directly with each other through the app.
Written by Heena Dhir.