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).

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

Prosper Raises 14.7 million US$ Series D Funding

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.

People Capital and Prosper Announce Referral Partnership

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.