Orca Interview Liam Brooke, CEO of Saving Stream
Saving Stream Interview
Saving Stream, founded in 2013, matches investors with property borrowers seeking funding for development and refurbishment projects, as well as acquisition of private and commercial property. Saving Stream offer a competitive interest rate of 12% per annum, allowing investors to lend a minimum of £100. Investors are required to manually select the property projects they wish to invest in, and for how long.
Founders Liam Brooke and Tim Gordon attribute the success of their growing marketplace lender to the simplicity of their platform, their track record and the protection they afford investors. Saving Stream, to-date, has not lost a penny of investor' funds. Saving Stream has lent over £100million and is expanding its team to continue the successes they've seen in recent years.
Orca speaks with Liam Brooke, CEO
Orca: How did you conceive the idea for Saving Stream?
LB: Well, I come from a Banking background, Tim (Gordon), who is a friend (co-founder) from Portsmouth was in e-commerce and whilst we were looking out over the water from a royal naval club one sunny evening, watching the yachts go by we thought to ourselves, what can we lend money on? I know, yachts.
Orca: What was it like for Saving Stream in the beginning?
LB: We started with yachts on day one. The banks and investors laughed in our faces, even though we were offering rates of 4% a month, so we decided to build our own platform and list yacht loans!
Orca: How was the platform's performance in the first year?
LB: In year one we recycled £200k into £2m and had 500 investors. But, the model wasn’t exactly scalable so we ventured into property. We attracted 1500 investors making loans in the region £500,000 - £15m and last year (2015) we cleared around £70m in lent funds.
Orca: What is the Saving Stream sweet spot loan?
LB: Well we actively market to £1-5m loans, this keeps borrowers happy and gives us scalability and importantly manageability. We were a two-man team after all! In saying that we are expecting to lend to loans in the region £25m. These are less risky. We now have 7 people working in the team full time and a few more on the way.
Orca: People seem to enjoy the Saving Stream platform, why do you think that is the case?
LB: Our key to success lies in our responsiveness, not losing money which is a good thing and the simplicity we offer. Even if it’s at the expense of profit we do nothing complicated or unnecessary. Our business value comes from the attention we give to our stakeholders, that being a simple and reliable service.
Orca: What sort of protection do you offer investors?
LB: Well our Provision Fund is intended to cover any shortfalls from loan repayments. It covers 2% of our loan book at any given time and currently stands at c£2m. The thing is, Saving Stream will never have 100% loss as we take asset security on our lending. We will sell a borrower’s asset, which will be worth more than the loan, if they default so we can repay our lenders.
Saving Stream is a P2P provider which offers risk-adjusted returns above the average in the P2P lending market. Tangible assets secure each loan and a provision fund is maintained at an acceptable coverage level of the live loan book. Investors are responsible for diversifying their exposure and therefore bear the risk that they may make poor investment choices.