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Person-to-Person Lending at Prosper

Does the eBay model lend itself to consumer credit?

Jim Bruene

Mar. 13, 2006; OBR 127


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Abstract: More than five years ago we authored the first comprehensive report on what was then a novel concept, so-called person-to-person payments. Two Palo Alto startups, and PayPal, were the best-funded efforts attempting to create a new market in electronic payments between private parties.

In a similar pattern, two startups are mounting a PayPal-like assault on an entirely different and considerably more profitable banking front, consumer credit. The fledgling marketplaces are operated by Silicon Valley-based Prosper that launched in February and UK-based Zopa, launched last year.

In this 36-page, 16-table report, we’ll take a detailed look at how Prosper operates, including a walkthrough of the borrowing and lending process. We’ll also take a look at the initial results including funded loan rates, credit risks, and so on. Detailed opportunities and risks are analyzed and a market forecast through 2010 is presented (download the Table of Contents age for more info).

Also reviewed: Zopa’s online loan exchange, the first person-to-person exchange launched in mid-2005

Update: The person-to-person market forecast was updated on Nov. 3, 2006 to include the latest results from Prosper's first nine months.

Companies mentioned: Benchmark Capital, Circle Lending, eBay, Egg, E-Loan, Experian,, IAC/InterActiveCorp, LendingTree, Prosper Marketplace, Zopa

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