RED HERRING | Bye-Bye Bankers?: "Bye-Bye Bankers?
Zopa nabs $12.9M as online lending gains believers.
March 19, 2007
By Ken Schachter
A new crop of online lending marketplaces is letting even the hoi polloi try their hands at being angel investors or micro-bankers.
On Monday, U.K.-based Zopa, an online loan marketplace that unites lenders and borrowers without a bank in the middle, announced a $12.9-million third round investment led by Bessemer Venture Partners to fund a U.S. launch.
Zopa, launched in March 2005, joins a group of online lending marketplaces that includes raisecapital.com, a Port Washington, New York-based startup that matches startups and angel investors and Kiva.org, a San Francisco-based site that lets lenders make microfinance loans to Third World entrepreneurs.
Should direct lending online gain a foothold in the marketplace, it could put pressure on a market traditionally dominated by banks, savings and loans, and credit unions."