Case study Collin Crowdfund

The Dutch financial service provider Collin Crowdfund connects entrepreneurs and investors on its crowdfunding platform. This gives these entrepreneurs the chance to grow further with financing. Collin Crowdfund has turned to Emixa to build the platform using low-code technology. The innovative platform now offers creditworthy small and medium-sized enterprises non-traditional growth financing, while giving investors the chance to achieve an attractive return.

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Business Challenges

Collin Crowdfund's founder, Jeroen ter Huurne, noticed that many SMEs do not grow optimally due to a lack of financing from traditional banking institutions. On the other hand, many investors are looking for creditworthy investment opportunities with an attractive return. These are, for example, people who want to help a local business or finance young entrepreneurs to realise their dreams. Collin Crowdfund successfully connects these parties.
From the start, Collin Crowdfund wanted a one-stop-shop application that can handle the back-office processes of credit applications, manage all the necessary bank transactions, connect with the right supervisory and approval bodies, and have a high level of security and compliance.  
The company looked at various commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software options and a white label version of a major bank's software, but both would have required extensive customisation to meet the requirements. Ter Huurne decided to build a completely new platform.
He chose Mendix low-code development for the speed at which they could come to market. By having the system built by Mendix partner Emixa, Collin Crowdfund could quickly launch the platform. With a customised COTS solution that would have taken much longer.

Keys to Success

The platform was ultimately developed in less than seven months by a team of four consultants from Emixa. The team used the Mendix low-code platform, a visual approach to application development that enables developers with varying levels of experience to make web and mobile applications using drag-and-drop components and model-driven logic through a graphical user interface.
Managing all the transactions going through the system proved the biggest challenge. Collin Crowdfund developed a "digital mini-bank" to ensure the bank works efficiently and in accordance with the rules of the Financial Markets Authority (AFM). The platform is the beating heart of the company, so it is essential that it functions properly. Collin Crowdfund chose Emixa because it was looking for a solution that could achieve fast time-to-market while a high-quality solution was needed. Since modifying an existing product would be more expensive and time-consuming, building a new platform based on low-code made sense. The platform is now adapted every six weeks with innovations and improvements based on customer feedback. This would not be possible with a standard solution.
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Before diving into growing the number of loans, Collin Crowdfund first focused on building trust with its customers. The results support that approach: More than € 432 million has now been invested for 1,674 entrepreneurs and 99.5% of that has been successfully financed.  
The Collin Crowdfund platform has almost 36,000 users – mainly investors – and 40 back-office employees. Everyone, from applicant to employee, logs into the same "My Collin" system. The different user groups have different frontends tailored to their needs.
A credit applicant logs into a specially designed part of the site. Here they go through the "customer onboarding" and their identity is automatically validated by the system. They then submit various basic documents digitally, such as recent annual accounts, tax returns and an extract from the Chamber of Commerce. The system checks whether all documents are complete and whether various conditions are met. Unlike a bank, which focuses mainly on the figures, a crowdfund coach assesses the creditworthiness of the entrepreneur through a personal interview. If the crowdfund coach gives the green light, the risk coach then makes a thorough risk analysis, recording all results in the platform. The application then goes to the "Green Light Committee", a group of experienced directors with extensive knowledge of corporate financing. Once everything has been approved in the Collin platform, the application receives a Collin Credit Score and is published on Collin's website. From that moment, potential investors can find it and consider investing. Investors receive a notification from the app on their smartphone at 11:00 about new projects. In the investor community, this time has now become known as "Collin time”.  
Building on a low-code platform means that new features can be quickly launched, tested and refined. Collin Crowdfund continuously develops its platform based on feedback from entrepreneurs, investors and employees. Innovation is a constant and ensures a modern crowdfunding platform that keeps improving.
Collin Crowdfund has also integrated a payment account function into the software. If an investor opts for this, interest and principal repayments are stored in a personal Collin Crowdfund account, making it easier to invest in new projects without frequent bank transactions.
As crowdfunding becomes more mainstream, Collin Crowdfund wants to stimulate the growth of the industry by white labelling its application. According to the company, crowdfunding not only offers an interesting return for investors, but can also be a way to support a local business in the region or help develop new products. By offering the platform white label, multiple parties can offer this form of financing. Thanks to Mendix and Emixa, it is easy to tailor it to everyone's wishes and demands.

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The platform is the beating heart of our company

We chose Emixa because we were looking for a solution that would allow us to achieve fast time-to-market and be assured of quality. There was no off-the-shelf solution available, and customising an existing product would be more expensive and time-consuming than building a new platform with low-code. We now adapt our platform every six weeks with innovations and improvements based on feedback from our customers, which would not be possible with a standard solution. 

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Bram ter Huurne

Information Manager

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