Upfront costs and unconventional financials have held back the expansion of businesses transforming our energy markets and introducing new ways of delivering electricity.
That’s what happened to Planet Ark Power, an engineering organisation which combines modern PV solar panels and batteries with AI powered software to ramp production up or down based on demand from the electricity grid. With a system that is cash flow positive from day one, Planet Ark Power installations help businesses turn energy from a liability into a revenue stream, as well as providing energy security.
But not too long ago, Planet Ark Power struggled to get the funding they needed to grow.
“5 Months of Hell” – The role of the right finance
Rapid growth brings rapid change, and Planet Ark Power needed a line of credit to cover the cost of those changes. But Executive Director Richard Romanowski says his experience with getting finance from the banks was less than ideal.
“The bank put us through five months of hell, then said ‘go make your sales targets for the year and come back to us’. The banks will only give you money AFTER you’re successful, with no regard for how much energy it takes.
“That’s when Marketlend came to the rescue. They asked us to explain what we were doing and our business prospects. When they understood our challenge, they said ‘this is a great opportunity’.”
By looking solely at past numbers, investors can easily miss high value opportunities like Planet Ark Power. The Marketlend platform makes up for what’s lacking in the traditional lending model by providing investors both a quantitative and qualitative assessment of each company.
In doing so, small to medium enterprises have more flexible access to fast finance, allowing them to take advantage of growth opportunities in their sector.
How Marketlend made growth simple
Through the Marketlend platform, Planet Ark Power borrowed $500,000 from 50 lenders, which Romanowski says has been a game changer for the business.
“The cost of client acquisition is huge. We’ve gone from $30,000 sales to $10 million sales, and each one is a massive learning curve – building new systems, new sales approaches and so on.
“I have a 5-star contract but I have to wait 60 days to get paid. With a customer base growing and changing so fast, I need cash flow to handle it.”
No more missed opportunities
Marketlend puts sophisticated investors in touch with high potential opportunities that fall through the cracks of traditional lenders. It avoids the many pitfalls of a peer-to-peer lender, because it is a vetted, thoroughly transparent lending platform.
“Marketlend actually cares about your business. They really want to know what you are doing,” Romanowski says.
“They take a bit of a punt with you – not in a lender-of-last-resort way, but in a way that actually understands the risk and reward.
“We now have a $500,000 line of credit and are looking to increase it. When we first went to Marketlend we had 25 staff, today we have 35. Not only that, the size of the projects are growing fast.
“Because they really understand your business, they can unlock the opportunity.”
The Greek Economic Crisis:
Greece has experienced a tremendous amount of attention, after the strenuous and frustrating months of negotiation between creditors and the Greek Government have come to a crescendo.
Creditors had given Greece another opportunity for a bailout, under the provision that strict austerity must be practiced. Alternatively, Greece could vote ‘no’ to these provisions, and default on these loans.
The Greek Government put its decision to a referendum. One side, led by the opposition leader, was ‘Yes’, we will adopt austerity and accept the bail-out, and on the other, campaigned heavily by the Greek Prime Minister, was ‘no’, which risks default and exit from the euro-zone.
From the moment that the votes were rallied, and a resounding majority voted ‘no’, Greece had stepped into uncharted, yet dangerous waters. It has an opportunity to create history, and hold its own destiny in its hands, a dangerous, yet empowering situation.
Businesses and institutions are struggling to manage, as imports become increasingly harder to obtain, the entire country is strapped for cash, and more importantly the political effects of default will soon resonate throughout the euro-zone, potentially leading to Greek exit. This has led to shockwaves in the world economy, as the Australian dollar fell to a six-year low, and almost all major economies were negatively affected.
Investors have a big question mark over their heads. What does this mean for them? The Greek Economic crisis highlights the importance of independence and information in investing. Investors should know where their money is going, and it is very easy to lose sight of this idea when you are investing.
Peer to peer lending platforms, like MarketLend, and other P2P lending hubs show the importance of this idea. Banks, Governments and Politicians are not always secure, typically not transparent and it is the unknown that seems to surprise us.
Statements we are hearing from super fund participants are “I didn’t know my fund was at risk, or took risks in countries where I would not invest”. To a lot of those funds, the answer is simply it is all interconnected. But how do you know?”
Investing and transparency should go hand in hand, so that you can invest knowing the risks. It’s in situations like these, it comes to be known that directly investing is favourable because you can know your risk. Peer to peer lending offers such investments.