Emily Chang from eHub conducted an interesting interview with Lending Club's CEO Renaud Laplanche. Here are a few noteworthy quotes:
Motivation to start Lending Club: When I started my first company in 1999, I charged the first few expenses on my credit card. Over the next few months, I had put $20,000 on my card, but was surprised that I was paying 18% interest despite my good credit score. I was too busy to shop around for lower rates and read the fine print. Instead, a few friends offered to lend him the money he needed, at a 10% interest rate. This experience set the founding principles of Lending Club...
Current company composition: We now have 21 people and will be adding another 20 in the next 6 months. The 3 main team members are myself (Renaud Laplanche), John Donovan and Joaquin Delgado. We have a diverse background of entrepreneurship, financial services and technology: before founding Lending Club, I founded TripleHop Technologies and sold it to Oracle in 2005. John Donovan developed and managed credit and debit products for Mastercard for 17 years, and Joaquin Delgado was my CTO at TripleHop and has a PhD in Computer Science, specializing in matching algorithms and user profiling. We also have team members who joined us from eBay, Oracle, Wells Fargo, Razorfish and Photobucket.
Current web traffic: We launched 4 weeks ago and all traffic is gated through Facebook at this point, but we’re already seeing more than 1,000 unique visitors per day.
Future of Lending Club: We launched exclusively on Facebook on May 24, 2007. In the next 6 months, we will be focusing on making the platform even easier to use and adding a few key features, and will also be expanding beyond Facebook. In the next 2 years, our goal is to make person-to-person lending mainstream: we want to make it so easy, simple and economically efficient that it is the first option borrowers think of, before even thinking of charging their credit cards or walking into a bank. On the lending side, we will continue to promote loan portfolios as a separate asset class that investors should consider when reviewing their asset allocation strategy...If we do this right, and we convey the value proposition clearly, in 10 years from now the mere idea that people once used to walk into a bank to get a loan or carried credit card balances will seem odd.
Thanks Emily for a great interview and the insight into Lending Club.