Get email notifications on new posts:
I had a few spare minutes, so I looked at TFG Crowd for the first time. Here is what I found:
Emil Kerimov: Founder & Executive Chairman. He hasn’t listed any past experience on his LinkedIn profile, so we’ll just have to trust that he’s a talented guy.
Natalja Nikitina: Commercial Officer – apparently in charge of marketing and communications. She does have past experience.
Elans Dimitrijevs: Business Development Partner. Doesn’t have TFG Crowd on his résumé, but I guess that’s OK since he’s just a partner.
Vladislavs Ovcarovs: Technology Officer. Surprisingly, his past experience consists of being a marketing specialist.
Address of the “UK office”: 124 Finchley Road, London, England, NW3 5JS.
This is a virtual office hub where tens of shell companies are registered.
Address of the “Latvia office”: Aspazijas bulvaris 20, Riga, LV-1050 Latvia.
This is a shared working space – better than a virtual office, although honestly it can still be abandoned overnight.
There’s another address in Estonia where TFG is registered, but it’s a correspondence address.
Now let’s look at two random borrowers.
Borrower: Edeland GmbH
Project: Transportation Company
Company registered recently, changed even more recently:
Facebook page created recently, no activity:
Company website consists of stock photos and nonsensical texts, and does not specify any customers:
Project page shows Photoshopped image…
…taken from a Mercedes Benz press release:
Bonus: Why the fuck is this van driving on the left side of the road? The borrower is registered in Germany and claims to operate in a few countries in Eastern Europe and Asia, in none of which the traffic goes on the left. Couldn’t they bother to find a stock photo of a van driving on the right?
Borrower: LEKS Group Ltd
Repeat borrower in multiple UK real estate projects.
Company registered recently:
Blogger Kristaps Mors has discovered that LEKS was owned by The Finance Group (TFG) Ltd, the British entity of TFG Crowd. It seems that LEKS shares have since been transferred back to the previous owner (also Latvian), but anyway, the borrower and platform are obviously linked.
But are the projects legit? Let’s look at one of them, Property In Paddington. Ignoring everything else, there is one thing that immediately made me suspicious. The images in the project page:
…are also stock photos:
Using stock photos may be excusable for business loans, where one could argue that the photos only convey the “concept” of the company’s operations. But publishing a real estate project with photos that don’t show the actual apartment?! That’s a gigantic, screaming red flag.
This is not an in-depth research, it’s a random list of things I noticed within 10 minutes of looking at this platform. I don’t know if TFG Crowd is a scam, or a real business that lends money to companies with no track record, and raises funding for its own mysterious ventures (without disclosing it).
Either way, I won’t touch it with a stick.
This post does not constitute investment counselling: I am just a fellow investor sharing his thoughts and experiences.
In my experience, losing money on bad investments isn’t fun.