Recently Jorn van Duijnhoven was asked to take on the role of Head of Customer Success. Jorn: “Due to changes within October this position became available, and I was asked to take on this role. I have to say that I didn’t see it coming, but It did not take long for me to say yes. It is a very challenging role, where I, together with my European team, help no less than 30,000 investors to build a portfolio of loans to companies. It was also a great next step. I come from the October school: after college, I started directly at October. I was the third employee of October in the Netherlands and have seen the different sides of the company. First as Customer Success Manager and then as Operations Manager. As Head of Customer Success I can share the knowledge and experience I gained in recent years at October with the team.
Really finance businesses better
October has a hybrid funding-model; institutional investors as well as private investors lend to an entrepreneur. And our private investors are incredibly important, Jorn explains: “October’s mission is to finance businesses better. We make it easy for companies to get the financing they need to take the next step. With this funding, an entrepreneur can, for example, make his or her company more sustainable, digitize or simply keep a larger stock. It is October’s job to link these companies to our investors willing to lend to them. We use a combination of institutional investors and private investors for this, and they complement each other well. Together, October’s investors have thus provided loans for almost 800 million euros.
Private investors are an important source of diversification of our funding and an even more important source of feedback on projects. Moreover, they provide ideas on how we can improve our platform and stimulate our culture of transparency. And last but not least, our lenders have a positive influence on our corporate culture. They inspire us to execute on our corporate values to the best of our abilities. We strive together, put our customers first and are transparent in everything we do. That sets October apart from other financiers, which in turn makes it a tremendously interesting company to work at.”
A tangible investment
October is a great addition to anyone’s investment portfolio, and as Head of Customer Success, Jorn naturally knows how to explain why people should be on the October platform: “We offer investors a fairly new and unique financial product, which goes well with investments in stocks and index funds for example. It has only been possible for individuals to lend money to companies in this way and receive interest for it for a few years now. By building a portfolio of investments with us, an investor creates a passive income for himself. This is because the borrowers pay monthly interest and also make monthly repayments. An investor can pay out this amount to himself or reinvest in October projects, and thus benefit from interest on interest. The beauty of it is that while you are working on building a portfolio, you are also directly helping small and medium-sized businesses with funding. As a result, your investment therefore becomes very tangible. Of course October is no longer the only platform, but should you be considering investing in crowdlending, October is a good match because of the ease of use of the platform, the quality and diversity of the projects and the possibility to invest as little as €20.”
Ambitious challenges for the team
With no less than 30,000 European investors in October, Jorn has a clear vision for his team. Jorn explains: “For the coming year, I foresee three challenges for the team. First, we want to attract even more private investors. With the acquisition of the platform Credit.fr, our biggest competitor in France, we may soon welcome 10,000 new investors on the October platform. Secondly, and related to the first goal, we want to make even more people familiar with the financial product ‘crowdfunding’ and grow in popularity. Because crowdfunding, or crowdlending as we say, is still often associated with supporting charities or new initiatives. Without the possibility of obtaining a return on the investment. However, a large part of the this market offers business loans, where an investor can receive a return. The third goal is to implement the new regulations for crowdfunders in Europe (the ECSP) and take advantage of the opportunities this brings. Under the new regulations, we can serve our investors even better with, for example, automatic investments.”
A diverse portfolio with October, stocks and crypto
Besides investing in companies on October, Jorn also has other ways to get a return on his savings. “I like to try things. Of course, for my new role, it’s also important to take a look outside the box every now and then. At the moment, I have built a diverse portfolio. However, the largest part of my portfolio is in index funds, here I put in a fixed amount every month. I also have a small portfolio of shares that I choose myself and I occasionally experiment with crypto. I have also built up a nice portfolio on October and reinvest all the redemptions I receive.”
‘Investor, take your time’
It’s clear; Jorn has a fair amount of experience investing money in different ways. What advice does he have for starting investor? “The advice I give to beginning investors is: take your time. Take the time to read up on the different options out there for investing your money. Take the time to determine an investment strategy. Decide how much you want to invest, what risks you are willing to take, and how you will spread your portfolio among the different products. And what every investor needs to know: diversification is key. You diversify your portfolio and build a stable portfolio by spreading your investment over multiple loans and reduce your risk of capital loss. Not to mention, take the time from time to time to review how your portfolio is doing.