When I was in London in March I spoke on a panel at the AltFi conference with Richard Swart, a professor at UC Berkeley. He has become one of the leading academics focused on crowdfunding. We have stayed in regular contact since then as Professor Swart has decided to expand his research to include p2p lending.
This is great news for our industry because there has been virtually no research done in this country and there was no academic that wanted to take the lead here. Professor Swart, his team of researchers at UC Berkeley and I have put together a survey that we will be sending to all major platforms in the coming week.
The goal of this first annual survey is to quantify the broader online lending industry in several ways. Here is the official research description:
We seek to understand transaction size, volumes, and changes in markets for alternative lending. We are seeking aggregate loan or platform activity data that will be anonymized and aggregated so that readers of the final research report will not be able to determine the activity on any particular platform (unless the platform already makes that data public). This analysis includes gathering demographics of users – we seek to understand the demographic profile of users and track activity by metropolitan area. We do not seek personal data about individual loan recipients.
An additional survey will be focused on the self-reported information of small business owners who have taken out loans through online lending platforms. We want to get to the heart of the motivations of business owners to obtain financing and the impact these loans have on their business and the broader community.
Our new industry needs a benchmarking survey so everyone will be able to understand the evolution of online lending and its impact on the financial industry over time. I am honored to be helping out Professor Swart and his team at Berkeley on this important project.
There are only six initial survey questions that should take just 2-3 minutes to answer. For those who want to help deepen our understanding of this industry there are some additional questions. Small business platforms have a separate survey with some business-specific questions that we would like answered, but we have tried to limit the total questions so the entire extended survey can be completed in 6-8 minutes.
All participants in the study, and we hope to get every platform to participate, will receive the detailed research results as soon as they are available.
This is not a money making project. There will no charge for the survey report when it is published – Berkeley’s research department is funding the costs. We are doing this to further the knowledge of our industry. Look for the results some time in the fall. And thanks to everyone who will be participating.
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.