E-Loan's co-founder creates an eBay for private lenders.
A new website called Prosper allows registered users to post proposals that solicit loans from other users on the site--up to $25,000, at a wide range of interest rates. Prosper, which was launched in February by Chris Larsen, co-founder of E-Loan, handles credit checks and payment collections. The site also offers business owners a peer network, with specific subgroups devoted to dozens of industries from fashion design to medicine to venture capital. Of course, borrowing and lending is still the main goal, and it's not always easy. Requests that are not fully funded within a set time frame expire; borrowers are then free to try again with, say, higher proposed interest rates. If a loan is fully funded, borrowers pay Prosper 1 percent of the total amount, while lenders pony up half a percent. As of mid-March, lenders who belonged to a subgroup called Business Loans for Entrepreneurs had raised $91,495 in capital, and five borrowers had tapped that pool for a combined $16,000. Three listings from the site that were active recently appear at below.
Sample Listing #1
Borrower: Seattle-based publishing company Reason for loan: To promote a recently acquired newsletter and a start-up newsletter Requested: $25,000 Proposed rate: 8% Credit grade: AA (a credit score higher than 760) Funded: $9,573 Bids: 46
Sample Listing #2
Borrower: Owner of a Houston-based e-commerce site that sells sports memorabilia Reason for loan: Reducing debt service on inventory before interest rates rise further Requested: $8,000 Proposed rate: 18.95% Credit grade: C (640 to 679) Funded: $1,349 Bids: 17
Sample Listing #3
Borrower: Founder of a company in suburban Chicago that manages school fundraisers Reason for loan: Expansion to five cities Requested: $6,000 Proposed rate: 8.75% Credit grade: High risk (below 540) Funded: 0 Bids: 0