Prosper CEO Chris Larsen Steps Down

Prosper.com announced today, that Prosper founder and CEO Chris Larsen moved from the role of CEO and Chairman to serve exclusively as Chairman. He will be replaced by Dawn Lepore, who previously served as CEO and chairman of Drugstore.com. Lepore will serve as interim CEO. Larsen said:

“As Prosper continues to achieve incredible growth, now is the time to embrace the next phase of the company’s evolution. As Chairman, I look forward to working closely with the executive team to build a truly innovative consumer credit company.”

Lepore led Drugstore.com from 2004 until its successful sale to Walgreens in 2011. During her tenure, Lepore repositioned the company to focus on over-the-counter, beauty, and vision business segments.

Prior to Drugstore.com, Lepore held positions at The Charles Schwab Company. In her 21-year tenure, Lepore played a key role in launching and building the firm’s highly successful e-commerce business. Lepore also served as Schwab’s CIO, a member of Schwab’s Executive Committee, and a trustee of Schwab Funds, among other executive roles.

Lepore currently serves on the board of eBay, Inc., and was appointed on Feb.23rd to Coupons.com Inc. board of directors.

How Do the Efforts of Prosper and Lending Club in Search Engine Marketing Compare?

Internet ventures are dependant to a certain degree to new visitors that are referred to them via search engines. A visitor that did a search on a very specific search term, e.g. ‘get a personal loan’ will have a very high chance to sign up if after that search he is introduced to the Prosper or Lendingclub website. There are tools that measure how ‘visible’ a domain is on Google and other search engines providing an index chart, that allows to compare the visibility of several websites.

Prosper’s visibility index (blue line) is much higher than Lendingclub’s. Prosper.com ranks good for more and more important keywords in organic search rankings. Organic search means, that Prosper shows in a the search results at search engines that are not paid ads. But which search terms do the actually rank for? Continue reading

Growth and other Recent News in P2P Lending

Zopa has announced that it reached the milestone of 150 million GBP in loans facilitated. Zopa says the new loan volume per month accounts for between 1% and 2% of new personal loan volume made in the UK.

P2P lending service Lending Club announced yesterday that it has been selected as a World Economic Forum 2012 Technology Pioneer. Lending Club was selected from amongst hundreds of applicants from around the world that hold the promise of significantly impacting the way business and society operate.

Both Lending Club and Prosper did continue their growth of monthly loan volume origination in August (Sociallending.net has charts and company comments).

Recent News from P2P Lending Blogs

Here are some recently published articles on several p2p lending topics:

Sociallending.net: The Best Day to Borrow Money at Lending Club

P2P Lending News: Prosper and Lending Club Compete for Investor Market Share

CreditUnionTimes: Consultant Warns Banks and CUs Risk Becoming Passé

DoughRoller: Lending Club Investment Strategy (Update)

Janari Rahablog: Omaraha.ee laenude vahenduse portaal

GlobalVoices: Brazil: Crowdfunding Potential

P2P Lending Year-End Review 2010

As the end of 2010 approaches here is a selection of main peer-to-peer-lending news and developments covered by P2P-Banking.com:

(Photo by paul (dex))

Prosper Moves To Pre-Set Rates; Abandons Auction Model

P2P Lending site Prosper.com changed its business model today.

The company announced: ‘Our site has a new look, and we’ve eliminated the auction and simplified our loan process so that we can connect lenders and borrowers more efficiently. Borrowers will receive pre-set rates and lenders cannot be outbid. We hope you’ll appreciate this streamlined and even more prosperous experience.

Prosper is still lagging far behind competitor Lendingclub in monthly loan volume funded. While Prosper’s new loan funding process resembles the one of Lending Club more after Prosper did away with the auction it remains to be seen if it will help Prosper to regain market share.

The main problem of Prosper was not the auctions, but high default rates leading to lender churn.

Another change, according to a recent SEC filing, is that Prosper now allows partial funding of loans. Continue reading

How P2P Lending Services Collect User Feedback

P2P lending services are young and developing in an innovative environment with little established best practise examples. Every company is constantly trying to learn how to improve the experience for its users. Whether it be user interface, information pages, business model and fees – there is lots of room for incremental improvements.

P2p lending services certainly test run some things before the general public gets to use them. Examples of methods to do this are closed betas, monitored usability tests, A/B tests, ….

One of the most valuable sources of information & ideas for improvements are the users themselves. The mass of users ensures that every little step of every process gets used possible times, bugs identified and misinterpretable information questioned.

Here is a set of methods that p2p lending companies can use to collect and profit from the wealth of user experiences.

  1. Run a forum (I talked in previous articles about the advantages of p2p lending forums)
  2. Consider using a simple to use ticket system instead of user support via pure email (advantage: allows statistical analysis of user problems, handling times and outcomes)
  3. Talk to your customers. Especially right after launch, it can be extremly helpful to call lenders and borrowers and asks them how easy they found the process and if they have any suggestions for improvement
  4. Analyse you webtracking stats. Where have users abandonned steps, where do they stay long times (possibly stuck) and where do they leave the site?
  5. Use online surveys to get structured feedback from customers.

Yesterday I attended the first ‘lender conference’ of Smava in Berlin. I put ‘lender conference’ in quotation marks because that term sounds a little magniloquent and misleading for the type of event it actually was. More fitting would be a discussion with a panel of selected experienced lenders. Smava handpicked 5 of those and invited them to Berlin reimbursing travel expenses. After a short tour of the premises, processes, lender wishes and market situation were discussed in depth (see longer report at P2P-Kredite.com). The small number of participants enabled an extremly useful discussion.

Continue reading