Lending Club and Prosper are the largest – and most well-known – p2p platforms in the US, but SoFi is certainly one of the most interesting.
SoFi is a p2p platform based on a simple concept : get alumni of US universities to borrow from other alumni. This obviously facilitates credit scoring to a very specific population, and there is a huge social pressure not to default. So far, it has been true, with 0 defaults since inception.
So in itself, SoFi has a good concept and they are growing at more than $1bn / year. But the reason I follow them with great interest is that they are one of the most innovative companies in the p2p space, and do not hesitate to try new things. For example :
– They were the first to securities their loans
– First to get a rating from S&P on a p2p securitization
– Launched a preferred with convertible option
– Are trying to solve the issue of mortgage product in p2p….
So from a very specific positioning as an alumni lending platform, they are actually trying to invent news ways to finance loans and mortgages – which could be adopted by other platforms in the future. At the same time, the team behind Mike Cagney, the CEO, is a pleasure to discuss with as a blogger – they are totally transparent and don’t mind entering into specific details.
I could write much more, but actually Peter Renton from Lend Academy did a superb interview of Mike and you should really read the transcript or listen to it – this is by far the most insightful interview I’ve heard in p2p for a long time.
Talking about p2p, Peter is also organising THE event for p2p lending in London on November 17th, so you know where to go if you’re interested in that topic.