Prosper eyes market in Japan

According to a Prosper press release published on Rateladder, Prosper has plans to expand operations to Japan and other Asian countries. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Prosper and SBI Holdings to Establish Prosper in Japan and Other Asian Countries

San Francisco – August 6, 2007 – Prosper (, America’s first people-to-people lending marketplace, and SBI Holdings, Inc., a holding company for SBI Group, the financial innovation leader of Japan, today announced an agreement to form a joint venture to facilitate the launch of Prosper in Japan and explore other Asian markets.

“As Prosper takes the first step toward expanding to Japan, we’re confident SBI is the optimal partner to navigate the regulatory landscape and successfully launch and operate the Prosper marketplace in the region,” said Chris Larsen, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Prosper.

“With over $78 million in funded loans and more than 360,000 members, Prosper is the leading person-to-person lending marketplace,” said Hayato Kameta, incoming Chief Executive Officer of the joint venture. “SBI Group’s experience and resources in both the Internet and financial sectors, combined with the vision and infrastructure of Prosper, makes this joint venture well positioned to develop and execute a business plan which meets the regulatory and business environment in Japan and other Asian countries.”

In June Prosper received $20 million in venture capital. It looks like international expansion is part of their plan. Due to all the regulatory requirements, expansion from one country to another has typically been very slow. Zopa, for example, announced over a year ago that they will come to the United States.

Update: TechCruch is reporting this development and makes an interesting point, "It’s ironic to see these peer to peer lending startups expanding at the same moment the collapse of the sub prime lending market sends waves through the mortgage market. Similarly, these startups will be sink or swim based on their ability to effectively manage risk." Here on Prosper Lending Review we have wondered the same thing on our articles about the sub-prime fallout and how Prosper would do in a recession.