Today is a big day for Prosper. They have now issued more than $1 billion in total loans – crossing that milestone this morning. They have an official press release announcing the story and they also created this very cool infographic to celebrate. In addition they announced this giveaway on their blog last week that is ongoing.
When I was in San Francisco last month I sat down with Ron Suber, President of Prosper, for an interview for the Lend Academy podcast (to be published next week), but earlier this week I called him to get his thoughts on this milestone.
In our conversation, it was obvious he was very pleased about crossing $1 billion, but he was very much focused on the future. And in particular he talked about the new opportunities for borrower acquisition.
A Multi-Trillion Market
“Peer to peer lending is no longer just about debt consolidation,” said Suber. “Awareness among borrowers has dramatically increased with many now obtaining loans for home improvements, cars, motorcycles even medical procedures.” He went on to say that the total addressable market should no longer be talked about in the tens or even hundreds of billions but in the trillions. He said that is where this industry is headed.
When I asked him about what specific new avenues they are exploring he shared some very interesting tidbits I had not heard before. One area they are exploring is charities, that can be a major new source of borrowers for them. Prosper can also help with the mission of the charities by sharing revenue from the borrower back with the charity. Also, insurance companies could be another big source of borrowers. They have millions of customer who are used to paying a monthly fee but they are typically not in the business of lending money. By teaming up with a company like Prosper they can provide that service and then can join on the investor side and invest in these same clients.
These are interesting ideas. Prosper is looking to setup a kind of affinity program with these organizations. These programs are still in their early stages but it is clear there is potential here.
Congratulations to Prosper
This is a significant milestone and everyone at Prosper deserves credit. The new executive team of Stephan Vermut, Aaron Vermut and Ron Suber have executed extremely well and have been the driving force behind Prosper’s success this past year. One interesting little anecdote. Prosper launched in February 2006. Since the new team took over in January, 2013, Prosper has issued $559 million in new loans. So, over half their volume has come in the last 15 months.
Peter Renton is the chairman and co-founder of LendIt Fintech, the world’s first and largest digital media and events company focused on fintech. Peter has been writing about fintech since 2010 and he is the author and creator of the Fintech One-on-One Podcast, the first and longest-running fintech interview series. Peter has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Fortune, NPR, Fox Business News, the Financial Times, and dozens of other publications.