Prior to joining Canaan Partners, Dan Ciporin was CEO of Shopping.com, where he oversaw the company’s growth from zero to over $100 million in revenues in just 5 years, culminating in the company’s initial public offering in October 2004. Shopping.com was the third largest ecommerce site on the web before it was acquired by eBay in August of 2005.
1. Dan, what prompted you to invest in Lending Club?
The consumer credit market is an absolutely gigantic market and yet paradoxically one of the few sectors that has not yet been completely upended by the internet. I think the Lending Club approach to consumer lending is not only a great disintermediation approach in a large, established market sector but also through the focus on affinity relationships takes what has been proven to work on the web and applies it uniquely to the lending marketplace.
2. What makes the person-to-person lending space attractive from your point of view?
P2P services and functionality in general has been at the heart of web market disruption, from Ebay to MySpace to Facebook, using only a few of the most prominent examples. I think the opportunity is ripe now to apply P2P functionality in the consumer lending space, especially with the particular focus on pre-existing affiliations that Lending Club has.
3. Tell us more about your background and how it is relevant to Lending Club.
Prior to my experience as CEO of Shopping.com, which we viewed not only as a price comparison service but more importantly a complete facilitation mechanism for the entire purchasing process, I was a senior vice president at MasterCard International. Working in the “traditional” consumer credit market was a first-hand opportunity to view the enormity of influence this market has throughout the economy, and how important even relatively simple product innovations can be in building and maintaining a customer base.
More directly relevant to Lending Club, one of the innovations we worked on at MasterCard was in helping to develop the affinity/co-branded market for credit cards, an effort that ultimately proved to be a huge success for us. I have seen how effective affinity relationships can be in ‘traditional’ consumer lending, and I think that Lending Club can take this same kind of innovative approach in the massive consumer credit market with even more compelling results.
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