Although Investly is now available in the United Kingdom as well as Estonia, we started out in the latter. As such, most of our investors, so far, are Estonians. We do have a growing group of foreign investors because we are open to investors from the European Economic Area. Perhaps the most exciting development has been the addition of investors from as far away as Brazil. This was made possible by Estonia's introduction of e-residency.
The Republic of Estonia is the first country to offer e-Residency — a transnational digital identity available to anyone in the world interested in administering a location-independent business online. e-Residency additionally enables secure and convenient digital services that facilitate credibility and trust online. (from e-Estonia.com)
E-residency allows anyone to sign up for a digital residency card, which makes opening and running a business in Estonia very easy. Forget moving around physical paper to declare taxes or file annual reports. In fact, this is exactly what our featured investor, Eduardo Araujo did. He is a Brazilian investor who started his professional career working as a Broker at Ágora CTVM S.A. and later served as an Over the Counter, Derivates Analyst at BTG Pactual. He moved to the real economy joining the Corporate Finance division of prominent venture OSX Brasil S.A. as a Financial Planning and Project Finance Analyst, later moving to the Holding company of EBX Group as a Manager to the New Business Development department.
He has recently joined Rio de Janeiro based investment firm VERTI Capital, working on the acquisition and management of distressed firms. Mr. Araujo holds a MSc Economics from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, having also studied at the Université de Strasbourg and the Brazilian Institute of Capital Markets (IBMEC-Rio) from where he holds a BS in Economics.
How difficult was it to apply for e-residency?
The application process is super simple and straight forward. The response to my e-residency application was overwhelmingly fast; three weeks, €50 and a few scanned documents later I was an e-resident, holding a digital identity card and a cryptographic key reader, welcomed to the future.
Why did you decide to become an e-resident? How did you find out about it?
The idea of being able to start and run a company online, from any location in the world, caught my attention. I first read about the e-Residency program in an article posted by Wired around February 2015. Studying the program in more detail, I became very excited about what the e-residency represents and all possibilities it offers. It is a definite breakthrough that will shape many vertices of entrepreneurship in the coming years.
Are any of your friends or acquaintances e-residents? Would you recommend it to anyone?
There aren't many e-residents in Brazil yet. However, whenever I tell a friend about the digital identity card and all that comes with it, I am flooded with questions about the application process and am prompted to demonstrate how my digital identity card works.
You have an account with Investly, how has your experience been so far?
Investly is a great platform and its synergy with the e-residency is the bridge that grants me access to it. It allows me access, in an extremely efficient and unbureaucratic manner, to a whole new set of investment possibilities that I wouldn't have otherwise if it wasn't for the joint efforts from Investly and e-residency.
You've got an impressive career in financial services, what made you look toward P2P lending?
Technology is reducing transaction costs through the creation of new social environments. P2P lending is one of many emerging examples. With the rise of the sharing economy expectations are P2P is going to become increasingly a more important model across different services. The model has become large enough to echo reactions from regulators and traditional big firms. It shouldn't be different with financial services; it is time to start caring about sharing.
How difficult would it have been for you to invest in Europe without the e-residency?
There are legal ways to invest all around the world, but not without loads of paper work, time sparing and expenditures with processes, attorneys, consultants, etc. E-residency simplifies all of this, and so far it has been developing beautifully.