Rothschild Invests into Zopa

Rothschild, through its RIT Capital Ltd investment trust, invested into p2p lending service Zopa. Their VC fund Augmentum Capital has led a “multi-million pound” round which for Zopa is the series D round. Forward Venture Partners as well as previous backers Bessemer Venture Partners and Wellington Partners participated in the investment. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sources: Financial Times, Techcrunch

Twitter Post Raises Speculation About Zopa Introducing a Secondary Market

This twitter post caused some speculation that Zopa UK is working to add a secondary market to the p2p lending service. I didn’t contact Zopa management asking to comment on this for I believe they probably would neither have confirmed nor denied plans on a secondary market.

As discussed before the issue with offering a secondary market isn’t the technical or commercial implications, but to find a model that is in compliance with regulation.

Zopa Partnerships Bring in New P2P Lending Borrowers

British p2p lending company Zopa has recently entered two partnerships.

Zopa Prime

Zopa partners with the Charity PRIME to offer loans to entrepreneurs over 50 starting or running a business. The loan is not a loan to the business but a personal loan of up to 15,000 GBP (approx 24,125 US$). PRIME is the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise. The charity’s role is to vet the business plan of the applicant.

Lenders benefit because all Zopa prime loan listings are 50% guaranteed by PRIME. More details on how to obtain a loan.

Zopa and Good Energy

Zopa also partnered with Good Energy, a 100% renewable electricity supplier. Customers of Good Energy can use a Zopa loan listing to fund the initial installation cost of solar panels or wind turbines. In this partnership Zopa uses affiliate links with a branded landing page:
http://www.goodenergy.co.uk/affiliates/zopa

Benefits for Zopa from the partnerships are:

  1. More borrowers
  2. More quality without more costs – borrowers are vetted/screened by partners
  3. 50% of loan amount secured for PRIME loans
  4. Possibly earning referral fees from the affiliate link to Good Energy
  5. Great story for press coverage and marketing (catchwords:  “Prince Charles”, “renewable energy”, “credit crunch”, “older age”, …)

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Interest Free Loan

The borrower who receives the 10,000th loan from Zopa UK will be lucky – it will be an interest free loan.

Furthermore Zopa has a referral promotion in July. Zopa pays 100 GBP (approx. 165 US$) to members that refer a borrower who successfully gets a loan in July.