HeavyFinance, a company transforming agricultural financing into an online marketplace, started lending in Bulgaria and Portugal. First investment projects were already listed on the platform in an attempt to rapidly expand in Mediterranean Europe.
According to the Fi-compass report Financial needs in the agriculture and agri-food sectors in Bulgaria, the market gap in the local agricultural sector is estimated between 289 million and 863 million euros. Furthermore, 19% of Bulgarian farmers struggle to get financing to increase working capital. There is a similar trend regarding land loans or heavy equipment loans. While financing a gap in Portugal is between EUR 95 million and EUR 383 million for the local agriculture sector.
“We’re happy to enter Bulgaria and Portugal to finally provide modern and custom-made financing solutions for farmers while offering a new secure market for investors. Both countries have favorable natural resources for the development of agriculture and progressive legislation for fintech companies, however, better financing is still needed to increase farming efficiency. We are addressing this need and planning to list many more loans from Bulgaria and Portugal on the platform this year”, said Laimonas Noreika, CEO and founder of the company.
The company has also started building a team in Sofia. Bulgarian expansion is done by a team coordinated locally by Filip Mutafis, known for his role in the successful establishment of Paysera in Bulgaria and Romania, a founding member of Bulgarian Fintech Association.
Nikolay Milenkov, sales and management expert also joined the company as Head of Commerce. He will bring his expertise previously gained as the Head of Leasing Operations and Customer Services at UniCredit Leasing and taking C level roles at IT companies.
While the expansion in Portugal is being led by Joao Martins, Head of Global Sales at IT company Vertex. HeavyFinance is planning to continue hiring in both Bulgaria and Portugal to operate regionally.
The vast majority of more than 10 million farms in the European Union own less than 50 hectares of arable land, leaving them underserved by traditional financial institutions. Therefore, HeavyFinance is transforming agricultural financing into an online marketplace to help small and medium farmers grow.
Furthermore, agricultural loans on HeavyFinance provide retail and institutional investors with opportunities to diversify their portfolio with investments in loans backed by heavy equipment and arable land.
HeavyFinance was founded by four experienced experts in finance, technology and heavy equipment. CEO and co-founder Laimonas Noreika is a fintech entrepreneur and one of the leading alternative finance experts in the CEE region, who founded a direct lending peer-to-peer platform FinBee in 2015. His expertise in financial technologies is well complimented by deep knowledge in heavy equipment coming from Rytis Darginavičius, who founded three successful companies in this field naming the most well-known Nova rent. Two other co-founders are finance expert and licensed financial broker Andrius Liukaitis, and former technology journalist Darius Verseckas.
In October the company raised 200.000 Eur investment from international startup accelerator Startup Wise Guys and a business angel to expand to new markets.
HeavyFinance is a regulated crowdfunding platform. Moreover, the operations of the company will soon be subject to pan-European rules due to Regulation (EU) 2020/1503 and Directive (EU) 2020/1504, adopted by the European Parliament in October 2020.