Earlier today, I received an email from Min Liu on behalf of the iinovative team. Min read my post about Prosper, and she thought I might be interested in their interview of Chris Larsen, CEO of Prosper.com, the leading social lending marketplace in the US.
Thanks for your email Min.
I found the format of the interview dynamic, and the content useful.
Please find below the agenda of the 10mn audio podcast:
1. Vision and story behind prosper
2. Challenges and risk of building a start up in a highly regulated environment.
3. New trends in web 2.0 concerning transparency and privacy
Quotes & Comments
Please find below some remarks from Chris:
* Good tagline: “Prosper is the ebay for money”
* Concept: everyday people can post a listing looking to buy money, prosper verify the listing and “risk grade” them. It gives lenders a higher return on their investment.
* Break out: “on of the key break outs for prosper is that any american can borrow money”, the minimum is $50
* Prosper and the banks: they are not trying to kill the banks. “It is an open market”, and Prosper would welcome the banks.
* Risk: “this is not only about great technologies”, they also need experts in regulatory complexities
* Web 2.0: Prosper tries to build on the web2.0 concepts: “putting the power in the hands of people” I like Chris description of the web 2.0 concept.
Prosper is “controled entirely by people”, it is “a serviced infrastructure”, they provide the tools and people participated in this economic democracy.
* New trends in web 2.0 concerning transparency and privacy: “the new trend in the social networking world is to reveal more about yourself”. The question is “how comfortable will people be in revealing themselves for benefits?”
There is a fine line between privacy & transparency. It is a constant trouble in our society: people want to be free AND Safe.
* Freedom for its members: they let anybody make a posting (good or bad), members make their own decision whether is good, bad or inappropriate. “Trust people are good, and markets are free”.
Prosper offers transparency and equal access.
Community: Prosper is commited to build trust
A social lending marketplace can only be successful with the commitment and enthusiasm of its members. Zopa and Prosper are both working with their communities to make their platform better.
Prosper reached a critical mass of members: “now, we have enoughcommunity members (60,000 members)”, “they give us constant feedback”, Prosper asks for feedback, the Prosper team will even meet with their members in SF in March.
Chris knows what needs to be done, now his team has to deliver: He is commited to build trust.