Fred’s blog has an analysis of the financial data of the series D funding round Prosper Marketplace recently completed. The analysis shows that the valuation by the VCs per share issued dropped from 9.69 US$ per share in round C (June 2007) to 0.72 US$ per share in round D.
Prosper Marketplace Inc., has successfully closed a the new funding round, which it announced two weeks ago. Prosper receives 14.7 million US$ from new investors Tomorrow Ventures and CompuCredit Holdings and existing investors Accel Partners, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Meritech Capital Partners, Omidyar Network, QED Investors and Volition Capital. TomorrowVentures is the investment vehicle for Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Peer to Peer lending service Prosper is raising it’s fourth funding round. The company announced it is raising between 13.3 and 15.8 million US$. Prosper expects the deal to be closed by April 15th and says a LOI has been signed with new and existing investors.
P2P Lending is mostly anonymous and loans are unsecured. To make the risks of lending to a stranger acceptable for lenders, p2p lending services had to provide models for the lenders to judge the dimension of the risk of not getting paid back.
The initial estimation of the risk-level could not come from the platform itself as it had no track record and could not build a model that “calculated” the level of risk involved for the lender. The consistent consequence was that nearly all p2p lenders relied on established third party providers for credit history data and credit scores. Prosper for example showed Experian data on default levels to be expected depending on credit grade.
Over the time it became obvious that the actual default levels at Prosper were much higher than the expected default levels based on Experian data. We don’t actually need to argue here what led to this (be it financial development of the economy, be it that p2p lending attracted bad risks, be it a poor validation process), but the result was that since defaults were much higher than expected, lender ROIs were much lower than expected at the time of the investment.
And this is not Prosper specific. Several other p2p lending services show clear signs that default levels will (or have) surpassed the initially published percentages of defaults to be expected based on external data.
Boober failed due to default levels, on Smava levels are higher than the Schufa percentages fore-casted, same is likely for Auxmoney defaults which will be higher then Schufa and Arvato Infoscore data suggested. The one exception from the rule is Zopa UK, which successfully manages to keep defaults low, as CEO Giles Andrews rightly points out.
People Capital, a website for college students to obtain student loans via an online lending exchange, and Prosper.com have announced a referral partnership to help borrowers seeking both educational and non-educational loans on their respective Web sites. Borrowers who are unable to obtain educational loans that meet their financing needs on Prosper.com will be offered the opportunity to access the People Capital lending exchange. In return, People Capital will refer its Web borrowers, who are interested in taking out non-educational loans, to Prosper.
People Capital is currently in Beta.
Earlier examples of p2p lending services referring leads that could not be funded on their platform to another service were Zopa selling leads of low credit grade borrowers and Prosper refering loan applicants to other sites while Prosper was closed to new borrowers during SEC registration.