Thursday, 13 April 2017 - I have just invested in a new P2P lending site

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Primstox logo copied for a review of
Just invested a few tenners in , a P2P lending outfit that has trappings of sanity like a nice web site. It has very high annual percentage payback rates on very small short-term investments if all goes well, and next to no references from other web pages. Given the first two points, I decided to invest about £100 yesterday, and write this referring page which I revise now and then.

The Primstox contract + , a brochure, or ask customerservice@...

Investers have a right to a parcel of food on default

The firm finances food for investors, and, being a P2P platform, investors own the food. Other P2P systems are a bit theoretical about this, but not Primestox, where it is a point of pride and and spelt-out in some detail, with inevitable gaps. The food is financed over about three months during manufacture, sale to a shop, and payment back to the manufacturer. Each investor owns the right to an individual parcel of food, with free delivery, if the process goes wrong. A pound of flesh for example. The food is branded, upmarket, and valued at a near-retail price somewhere like Waitrose.

The next bit of this section is a guess. None of this has happened yet.

I guess that food companies want good publicity from their borrowing, and will do a lot to avoid defaulting on the loan if they can pay, but these things happen.

"the situation could arise that he [sic] could not pay. In that case you continue to hold title to the the product until it is sold. You also have the option of requesting that the product be sent to you or a location you specify - at no additional cost. " - FAQ

An online vote, run by, allows other investors to out-vote you on the best option, but I guess that a vote would allow some people to take the stock and others to hold-on for repayment or accept an offer. If the borrower is still in business and half solvent, I imagine that they want to pay later for the food that will sell, rather than return all of it. There are degrees of mess-up, from late-payment to late payment under legal threat to receivership to wind-up and non-existence, and I suppose that nobody wants to work down the list if they can stay at the first stages.

If the borrower can't pay later, then maybe they can organise a clearance price for investors who don't want all the food delivered. I am guessing wildly here, because none of this has happened. With luck, one of the lenders might organise an option of very cheap sale if the borrower doesn't. allow you to do something similar by opening an account and try to sell surplus food on a free small ad via an 18% escrow service. Takestock's details are further down the page. If 18% for an escrow service sounds high, you can see what other links I have found at the bottom of the page as well, but none says "we pay near retail price at somewhere like Waitrose for an upmarket brand". They all look a bit clearance-ey.

Getting back to Primstox, their contract does
- not say that Primestox will use their commission money to pay for deliveries
- not say that Primestox invest in every loan and so lack incentive to flog dud ones
- not say that Primestox will run an ecommerce site or help any lender who does so, selling surplus food to other investers. There is ebay-like free software available that might help them do something like this - I imagine that other investers are a sympathetic market for the one or two who have a tonne of soup on the doorstep. I imagine that Primestox do invest in loans at this stage, just to try to balance lenders and borrowers, but that they have to learn from experience what loans work. So after a default, in the worst case, you have invested far too much, and more food than you want to eat is plonked on your doorstep..
  • If you have anything to do with catering you might find other uses.
    If you need contacts in catering, you might use the app that connects restaurants and their surplus food and customers who want cheap deals, you might already have a restaurant contact who might help. The app called Toogoodtogo gets mixed reviews and hasn't downloaded yet on my phone, or ipad, but it could put you in touch with restaurant managers who are open to ideas.
    - dish of the day
    - special offer by the restaurant to bargain-hunters who use the app for that restaurant.

  • If you have anything to do with food sales, an idea might come to mind like...
    - special offer food by a shop counter.
    Maybe your newsagent would borrow some food, and give you a credit note for 50p per jar sold for you to spend on other newsagent stock.

  • If you have nothing to do with food sales, but want to start, membership is free.
    - free small ad and escrow service that charges  you 18% on any offer you accept

  • If you plan to eat it the food, another freezer might help if you have space. Chest freezers are efficient apparently. includes ads on sites like ebay and gumtree. Local searches are most likely and you might even find a free one on Trashnothing, or join the same site to give some food away. An app called Olio comes-up on search engine results, specifically for giving food to neighbours if they happen to have the same app. Maybe someone will offer you an apple crumble two miles away once you subscribe.
  • I don't know much about those food bank collection points that you see in places like supermarkets. There are a few sites on search engines for locating organisations and collection vans that can use food. I suppose that a one-off donor of a freezer-load needs some scale between the nearest collection-point and the agency that can send a van. This list covers foodbanks, who might help.

My first two or three investments...

  • £30 for 16 x ¼ litre fruit juice, cold-pressed @ £15 a litre.
  • £20 for 20 x 60g fruit energy bars @ £16.66 a kilo. For comparison, ClearanceXL tries to sell 60g fruit energy bars at a quarter the price - four for a pound plus delivery. If they were buying they'd want to pay - what? - 10p a bar sale or return for some minimum amount?
  • £20 for 200g of vanilla paste @ £100 a kilo
  • £25 for 10 x 200g pots of fermented pickle @ £12.50 a kilo. This is usually home-made or sold in wholefood markets apparently.
  • £20 for 10 x 500g packs of frozen chips, sweet potato, battered @ £4 a kilo. MySupermarket shows a few shops selling sweet potato crisps, with the smaller packs or upmarket brands around £4 a kilo while typical prices are £2.60 or less on special offer or under £2 at Aldi. Waitrose sells these battered ones at £5.60 a kilo. The same brand has some crisps at ClearanceXL (see below) but I get this wrong at first glance - they are crisps and not these chips.

Incentives for lenders

  • Cashback

    If you buy the food in a shop, borrowers might offer a cashback deal, should you be organised enough to keep the receipt and send it in.
  • Food is delivered to you if the borrower can't pay

    For investments of a few tenners, the value is in the flutter. It's a nice thought that a parcel of food might turn-up one day. For investments of two or three hundred pounds, it's trickier.
    Nobody knows the risk of this happening - whether one in twenty or one in a hundred
    Nobody knows the risk of this happening with no other options to take, even bad ones.
  • High interest

    There is interest of one or two pounds on the sizes of investment I've described and a three month loan, but there is a tick box you can tick to invest a lot more. One or two pounds is a lot of ten or twenty pounds, for a three month loan. The annual percentage rates are high. In comparison Investly invoice finance pays around 10-15% to lenders on an auto-lend system: the loans are only a month, but your cash is re-lent automatically to the next one.

Incentives for borrowers

This is the tricky bit. The brochure gives an example like 9% over three months, not 9% per year, on £3,000. Assuming the commission and hassle bring the cost up to 10% that's £300, and some deals are larger amounts at higher rates of interest. Why do it?
  • Investly P2P invoice finance can cover part of the loan over time

    Investly is a P2P site where lenders lend the value of an invoice not yet paid. Borrowers and interest rates come-and-go: the UK part of their market is small, like Primestox. A London peanut butter manufacturer selling a special mix to a chain store got a months' credit at 10% annual equivalent; other borrowers get loans in the low teens or even 20%.

    The peanut butter loan was not secured on peanut butter. If either side somehow messes-up - either the shop or the supplier - then the loan is backed by the supplier's personal guarantee. Called-in for payment, this could be a distraction that causes stress and legal costs all round rather than paying-back the lenders, so a borrower that is short of credit might use Primestox for all of a loan, while another borrower might use some combination of Primstox and Investly.

    If the invoice has not yet been agreed, there is no loan; it is only for a month between sending an invoice to the shop and getting paid. Assuming the shop doesn't want to pay before production, that leaves a lot of ingredients and work to finance, even before sending the food and the invoice. So invoice finance just competes with the last month or so of the three-month cycle that Primestox typically finances.

    Primstox' one press mention, in Informita New, December 2016, says that there aren't many stock or inventory finance companies - "there are some out there who have had limited success, but none have hit the market in a bit way", so the niche-within-a-niche of the "perishable" could do with a specialist P2P firm.
  • Promoting the food, retail, wholesale, the brand in the background

    As borrower, P2P borrowing makes your business public to a few dozen people on each platform who become interested in your brand; an overdraft is a secret between you and the bank. It's a kind of civic duty to find alternatives to banks at the moment, but for a businesses interested in food, I suppose it is the public side of the deal that attracts.

    There are also some random overdraft rates and refusals given by banks to businesses; this kind of thing doesn't count as a secured loan. Banks are obviously short of money. They have asked government for bail-outs. They are likely to pull-out of parts of the market or make ridiculously expensive lending offers. Maybe some borrowers have a row with the bank manager and throw something.

    The P2P platform tries to sell lending offer as a way of promoting the brand as well as borrowing money, for example with the cash-back offer that encourages lenders to go and buy the food.

    "From the manufacturers perspective this will finance inventory and drive sales to consumers. A positive double whammy! ", says a review in Informatia.

    Lenders are called "friends", and if they don't use the cash-back offer to buy the food, they still have some incentive to remember it. They might mention the food to people or at least give it away to neighbours if any of it is plonked on their doorstep. Some of them may be bloggers or tweeters or chatterboxes or dinner hosts or potential stockists. They might offer the cash-back deal to to someone else. They also have an incentive to fund small amounts, simply because of the risk of plonking, so there are a more plonkees per batch of food than lenders per loan on other P2P sites - it's more like crowd-funding. Thirty six is a common number according to the web site, but in future there could be more per deal.
  • Promoting the food for clearance wholesale

    This is un-tested, but from a food producers' point of view it might be good to be known to a lot of foodies, just in case one of them can offer a good price for specialised food near its sell-by date. Maybe one is a shopkeeper who will try selling the stuff and order some more when it runs-out. My search of twitter mentions reveals a physics teacher and a P2P lending enthusiast who is keen on bitcoin. I am a P2P enthusiast too. Maybe some of the other few dozen investors are foodies or will be, because each food industry borrower tends to promote the platform and I imagine that food industry people will come-along.
  • Formal way for informal contacts to lend

    If a food producer has relatives, regular customers, or any kinds of contacts who want to take a flutter, this provides a formal way that they can do it without having to think about legalities. The producer just puts-up a poster for Primestox. The customer sees the url, logs-on, and takes a punt
  • Novelty

    I guess this is the weak point in the idea, but no reason not to enjoy it while it lasts. Other platforms like Rebuildingsociety and Thincats had ridiculously high rates of interest on offer when they started, which gradually dropped in an auction system. The system is to fix an interest rate and use an auction-like system to fill the loan, but they'll most likely experiment with lower interest rates if they can.

Background to the company

There are practically no references to the site on other sources. It looks more polished and sane than some sites that do things like bitcoin lending, or my own shoe shop that you should try, but less referenced from anywhere else. The borrowers are food businesses with web sites linked. is the company. The check-business site would drop a couple of tiny hints from an Equifax report if there was anything to say, but there isn't - the business is too new. The Companies House entry doesn't state much more - just a links to West London from previous employers that's confirmed from the director's facebook page and choice of software engineer, so it looks UK-based. There are three shareholders and one of them seems busy employed in South Africa; only one is an "officer" on the Companies House form. The postal contact is the first floor above Starbucks in London's Oxford Street, which looks an expensive place to work or even hire a forwarding address. The floor was just recently let, after asking for offers over £75.69 a square foot for £55 rent and £17.91 rates. It's the registered office for 23 limited companies and an accountant - BG Partnership. Linked-in profiles mention some people related. There is no mention on P2Pmoney yet; I added a post on P2P independent forum. If the whole lot turned-out to be a fantasy that someone had made-up, my excuse for lending would be to say that it was still convincing enough to be worth a flutter.

The software looks a like crowd-funding software, which can be had for free. I don't know if it is but if there is one free open source piece of software, there will probably be others, cheap or free, and this company has used something similar-looking for the new purpose of P2P lending, which is otherwise expensive to get going, I think, for lack of free software. I don't know if this is unusual - it's good to see that it can be done. The company paid Alex Panichi, user interface web designer who answered an upmarket job ad and "worked to improved various steps in the user journeys. The user interface has been enhanced and refined. There has been lots of sketching, wire framing and hundreds of iterations to de-clutter the interface. In fact, the main challenge was to show the most relevant information to the user at each stage" So, £200 an hour for several evenings and weekends doing iterations on a general theme is a few thousand pounds, but not bad.

blog background

Written as a hobby and to promote for vegan shoes online - an online vegan shoe shop selling boots belts and jackets mainly made in the UK

Selling food on classifieds sites - ebay and the rest tend not to sell food

Neither site has replied to my attempts to sign-up last week. but it turns-out that I have a log-on for that allows selling! The site doesn't have a huge amount on it, with a lot of the guide prices well over supermarket basics prices per kilo. People use it to advertise sales to new customers, I guess, rather than for regular turnover. classifieds - allowed login

  • Buy from their advertisers - sign-up. It's a classifieds site for food. A photo and often a minimum order is available for each advert once you sign-up; guide prices are cheeky-high except for the odd overdate thing which is low.
  • Delivery - postcode or place name on each advert but no map or search-by-distance. Most offer to help with delivery. Some have a place name like "London" which helps searching; a lot are in north england or Norfolk for vegetables.

    There is a box for questions which is a good place to ask if the seller would use your favourite cheap courier such as Parcel2go's UPS shop-to-shop service for up to something like 20kg for not much money.
  • Sell to them - sign-up - they take the money via their bank account and take ? 18% +VAT if there is no dispute. 8% on fresh food.. Selling page recommends a low minimum order and to offer help with delivery.

other home retail

  • There are ecommerce add-ons for facebook, I think, which might be free. I don't know if facebook contacts would use them, but they might see the page and offer you cash. An idea for someone with a zillion facebook contacts.
  • Leaflet a hundred letterboxes with an explanation and half-price offer. Someone might be intreagued enough just to say hullo to a neighbour. Cheapest paper is from Wilko or supermarket basics. Cheapest ink is a CISS system on a printer or Epson Ecotank.
  • Flypitching, pop-up stalls, honesty boxes ... all a bit unfamiliar to buyers I think, who would pass-by to avoid being bothered, or assume the goods second-rate in some way. My aunt - do you know my aunt? - anyway she used to sell potted herbs in a market for the womens institute. They were cheaper than the garden centre but people were just programmed to buy them from the garden centre. Anyway, if you know my aunt, you are on to something.
  • Pop-up restaurants. There is something in this; I am not sure what
  • Buying from self-employed people like stallholders is a good habit to get into, in case one of them can suggest something if you are caught with a lot of stock. Easier if they know your face. classifieds - no login provided

  • Buy from their advertisers - it's a paypal system
  • Delivery - ads say things like "ships to Blackburn"
  • Sell to them - I've signed up, waiting for confirmation by email. No mention of commission yet. Still waiting for confirmation a few days later. classifieds - want £86 sign-up fee

  • Buy from them -
  • Delivery -
  • Sell to them - same

Selling to shops and wholesalers


  • Buy from them -
  • Delivery - £17.50 minimum order and £6 delivery
  • Sell to them -

Clearance Wholesale

  • Buy from them - no web shop - Grimsby cash & carry
  • Delivery - apply for pallet deals
  • Sell to them -

ClearanceXL including

  • Buy from them -
  • Delivery - - £5.25 most areas. Free collection by appointment in Sheffield S9
  • Sell to them - has the email address


  • Buy from them -
  • Delivery - - £3-£5 or free over £40
  • Sell to them?


    • Buy from them - no web shop
    • Delivery - walk-in at Rotherham or Barnsley
    • Sell to them -

      Self Trading

      Not quite sure what this one is - it once bought a supermarket's stock. Found by googling "short dated food"

      SOS Wholesale

      • Buy from them - apply for an account or use the Derby cash and carry.
      • Delivery - apply
      • Sell to them -

      more unlikely stuff below this line, but worth a note from the same search -----------------------------------------------

      Bargain Outlet
      • Buy - discount shop in newkey and weston. Prices from 25p
      • Delivery - walk in, retail
      • Sell - "supermarkets get in touch"

      • Buy
      • Delivery
      • Sell - looking for regular producers; food is sorted by manufacturer

      • Buy- app links you to any local restaurants with closing-time bargains
      • Delivery - you need to link to a restaurant near you via the app
      • Sell - restaurants welcome. If you know a restaurant on the system, they might use the app to try to sell for you on commission.


      • Buy - aka Nifties
      • Delivery - Delivery - - £6 or £2 in Dover. Possibly a walk-in grocer in Dover too.
      • Sell? - probably not for specialised upmarket products by the look of them

      The Peoples Supermarket

      •  - no web ordering - £25 annual membership to work 4 hours a month and get 20% off
      • Lambs Conduit Street, North Central London


      • buy -
      • delivery -
      • sell - looking for regular batch producers not surplus stock - 18% charge
        Not trading C...a ran just for the end of 2016 and start of 2017 Foodbargains

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