E-Commerce Times discusses Prosper's business model and expansion to Japan in Taking Internet Finance to the Next Level. Here's a short excerpt:
"Prosper.com cofounder and CEO Chris Larsen has been harnessing the power of the Internet to shake up the retail lending world since the mid-1990s when he founded E-Loan. Larsen led the company through a 1999 IPO and a 2005 acquisition by Popular, by which time the company had closed more than US$27 billion worth of consumer loans.
With Prosper.com, Larsen's consumer banking expertise is complemented by the computing expertise of the company's chief technology officer, John Witchel. Witchel is the driving force behind FlashMob Supercomputing, a massively parallel computing collaboration that seeks to make supercomputing available to the masses.
...Prosper.com in August announced that it was joining with SBI Group to launch a Prosper joint venture in Japan, as well as explore opportunities in other Asian markets. By doing so, Prosper is joining with a large and well-established corporation committed to bringing innovative financial technology to Japan and Asia. SBI's online finance businesses include SBI E*Trade Securities, Morningstar Japan and E-Loan.
Prosper.com spent about one year working on the design, development and testing of its Web services before launching it for the general public. So what does it take, technologically speaking, to be successful in the fast-growing peer-to-peer lending market? 'Safety and security have to be the No. 1 priority [and] a relentless development program and release schedule,' Larsen told the E-Commerce Times."