Think of a model where small and medium-sized business can get loans at lower rates while borrowers can get higher interest rates than the banks offers! Now think of a model where there are almost no risks. This sounds too good to be true. Think again! ArchOver is a crowd lending company that has invented a creative model where both borrowers and lenders are winners! Gislen Software has developed the software solution which has made this possible!

IMG_3094Background

ArchOver is a Peer-to-Peer business lending service, connecting businesses requiring finance with investors seeking a secure and favourable return. To date, we have facilitated over £35 millions of funding for UK businesses and delivered Lender returns of up to 8.5% p.a., with no Borrower defaults, no late payments and no losses.
Our innovative and highly secure approach to P2P business lending offers transparency throughout the financing process for the benefit of both Lenders and Borrowers. Lender security is our number one focus, and our credit analysis is one of the most thorough in the sector. All loans are secured by an all-asset charge over the borrower’s business, registered at Companies House. For additional security, all borrower revenues flow through controlled bank accounts owned by ArchOver. This is the only platform to monthly monitor both the asset value and monthly management accounts against forecast. We have a zero-tolerance policy for late interest payments or reporting. ArchOver is a member of the long-established, privately owned Hampden group.

How it all started

In the early 2000’s ArchOver’s CEO Angus Dent was the finance manager of a client of Gislen Software. When ArchOver decided to outsource their development, it came naturally to him to ask Gislen Software since his experiences working with us in the past had been good. While Gislen Software has worked with development for hedge funds in the past, crowd-funding was a new vertical.  Mr Dent visited us in India and spent a week discussing the requirements with two of our Indian analysts. This provided the required impetus during the initial phase.

Requirement & Design

Our analysts interviewed Mr Dent, and the dialogue continued through email once he had gone back to the UK. These were then compiled as user stories and sent back to the client. A product backlog was also created which later was entered into JIRA (An issue and project tracking software). The screen design was done using simple wireframes. We designed classes and relationship and developed a high-level documentation of the entire platform.

Development Process

It was agreed that we should use an Agile methodology for software development. We used a combination of Scrum and Extreme Programming. This development process consists of several sprints. Each sprint is a short iteration which would involve a self-managed team striving to build properly tested product increments. After each iteration, there was empirical feedback which has ensured very high quality throughout. Also, we conducted an interesting experiment where we combined our ISO 9000 internal audits with the Scrum Retrospective meeting creating a continuously documented improvement cycle.

For this web application, we have used a Model-View-Controller (MVC) development pattern which is a software architectural pattern for implementing user interfaces.

Since we used an iterative development process, unit tests are used to test the business layer, and automated test scripts test the UI. This ensures high quality is maintained consistently.

Web application security

In general, at Gislen Software we make sure that all our web applications adhere to the guidelines laid down in OWASP-10. In this case, since this is a financial application, this is even more important, and we use code review to ensure that the guidelines are implemented. Tests have been done at different levels, we have used test driven development, automatic tests, developer tests, independent testers and ArchOver’s staff themselves have also tested to make sure that the application is as good as what is possible.

The Solution

The ArchOver.com platform is a complete solution. It provides a holistic but very easy to use interface for lenders, borrowers, and administrators. It takes into consideration that some investors may be novices above the age of 50. The platform follows all regulatory guidelines laid down by the concerned authorities. Statutory documents like NDA’s, collateral documents can be directly uploaded to the website. All approvals, project status changes are intimated to stakeholders through emails that are generated automatically. The application also has an in-depth audit log where every event or change in status is logged.

Conclusion

This product has been very successful. A responsible product owner, a well agreed governance process with clear-cut role distribution between ArchOver and Gislen has been core to this success. Gislen Software has so far met every milestone that ArchOver has set. This has resulted in an application where all stakeholders are pleased.

The first loan was executed during July 2014 and ArchOver has since lent more than £35M without losses.

References

Crowd Funding 

Agile Methodology

Model View Controller

ArchOver