Small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of South Africa’s economy but access to funding has been a significant hurdle for growing businesses. Financial access is critical for the growth of SMEs as it allows entrepreneurs to innovate, improve efficiency, expand into new markets and create jobs.
Investmint needed a software solution to streamline the process that they were already doing manually - connecting SME owners in need of business capital with individual investors wanting to earn interest through invoice factoring.
Part business automation, part investment marketplace, the platform needed to be as useful for Investmint’s team as it was for their customers, keeping user experience and simplicity top of mind.
We built a web-based application, developed in PHP with an MVP framework, to serve as the primary tool for Investmint. This platform provides a peer-to-peer loan marketplace for borrowers and investors, providing individual investors wtih great interest rates, while offering hard-to-get funding for SMEs through invoice factoring.
As a start-up, Investmint needed a full corporate identity design and implementation. We implemented the brand from name generation to deliverable roll out including marketing material and award submissions.
The backend of the platform is written in PHP with an MVP framework. The database uses MySQL. Two-factor authentication (2FA) was implemented to protect against security threats and brute-force attacks.
The front end is bootstrap-based and uses jQuery. We made use of a responsive design to make sure that Investmint is optimised for all devices.
Invested through the platform
The Investmint administrator screens and authorises new investors, borrower, and project requests.
A borrower is an SME owner who submits a purchase order, invoice or contract to the Investmint marketplace and waits for an investor to fund their invoice.
An investor browses the marketplace for projects that align with their objectives. They fund a project and can fund part of it. They receive their repayment plus interest.
A referrer connects borrowers to Investmint and in return, receives 15% of Investmint’s portion of the interest.
Printing, signing and scanning physical paper contracts is a slow and manual process, and unnecessarily so. Investmint’s contracts are digital. Details are populated automatically by the platform according to selected variables, and all participants are prompted to sign the contract using their touchscreens or computer mouse. The contracts are stored in a secure and central database.
To make provision for the inevitable, we mapped out a solution to allow for late interest repayments. Borrowers in need of a deadline extension on their repayments, can request a deadline extensions from the investor(s) who have funded the project. Via the platform, the borrower fills out a form to explain why the extension is justified. This is sent to all investors via email to vote to approve or deny the deadline extension. If all investors approve, the extension is granted to the borrower and they can make payment at a later date.
Say that as an investor, you identify a project that you’d like to invest in, but you know you won’t be able to fully fund it. After investing your portion, you want to see when other investors fund the project, and when it is fully funded. By opting to follow the project, you receive notifications about project activity, including anyone else who invests, and when the project is fully funded.
The custom dynamic calculators on the website and in the platform mean that investors don’t have to create an account to calculate estimated ROI. The live loan marketplace reflects all live projects and lets people calculate potential returns. This provides a clear indication of potential profit and lets people simulate their investment.
Borrowers are able to calculate their estimated interest cost when the are proposing a project, before they submit, maintaining Investmint’s commitment to offer transparency for all users throughout the entire process.
Notifications are sent in the platform and via email, unless users opt in to mobile and desk push notifications as well.
Live chat integrated through Facebook messanger is available throughout the website and platform and connects users with the support team.
By emphasising transparency and fairness for all users, we created an experience that instilled trust in the platform.
Designing for transparency was essential. We designed project cards to display pertinent information about borrowers to investors, while maintaining confidentiality.
It was important that borrowers have control of their loan request. We built in flexibility to the project proposal section, letting people input the funding deadline and number of repayments .
Investors can increase the interest they earn by investing more in the platform. The investor status bar informs investors of their status and how far until they reach the next.
While communicating credibility through the brand was crucial, we also wanted reflect the two founders, Chris and Gareth, and their friendly and relateable disposition. Accessibility and ease of detailed information was key.