As reported earlier yesterday afternoon, we are thrilled to announce that Norwest Venture Partners and Canaan Partners invested in the Company as part of a total $10.26MM investment round. Jeff Crowe from NVP and Dan Ciporin from Canaan Partners are joining the Company’s board of directors.
We launched the company as part of the Facebook F8 platform on May 24 and since then have issued $750,000 in loans among Facebook users. Launching on Facebook made sense: we believe that person-to-person lending will grow faster in an environment where people feel connected to each other, and Facebook offers the perfect environment for this with friends, groups and networks. Facebook Lenders can build a “portfolio” of loans based not only on credit profiles but also based on their connections to the borrowers (attended the same school, worked for the same company, etc.).
Facebook now has over 6 million active user groups which are prime targets for financial services. However, Facebook users are younger than the average online population, and our strict screening criteria (640 minimum credit score, less than 20% DTI) led us to decline about 75% of all applications, as younger borrowers tend to have a lower FICO score. We are coming up with new tools to help the “declined” borrowers understand the importance of good credit and take specific actions to improve their credit score.
We will be using the funds to expand beyond our current Facebook application. Stay tuned for interviews with Jeff Crowe and Dan Ciporin on this blog later this morning.
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