Lending Club, the online startup that helped pioneer the now-ubiquitous crowdfunding model, is officially planning to go public.
The San Francisco company, which runs an online marketplace for peer-to-peer loans, on Wednesday filed its prospectus for an initial public offering. Lending Club says it plans to raise up to $500 million in the offering, which has been widely expected to happen later this year. The IPO may happen in November, before Thanksgiving, CNBC.com reported Wednesday.
Lending Club ranked number 248 on the 2014 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The company has connected borrowers with investors who have provided some $5 billion in loans since Lending Club's founding, including more than $1 billion in the second quarter of 2014, according to the filing.
Lending Club's website essentially allows borrowers to apply for funds that are supplied by individuals; pension funds, hedge funds, or other large institutional investors; or even traditional banks. The company was founded in 2007 by Renaud Laplanche, a French former securities lawyer, who told Inc. that he came up with the idea when he got fed up with the high interest rates on his credit card.
The startup is one of the earliest and most established companies trying to change how the heavily-regulated, tradition-bound financial industry lends to customers. Long before Uber and AirBnB were encroaching on the turf of traditional taxis and hotel companies, Lending Club and competitor Prosper set up websites offering loans to people who could not get them at banks or who wanted to pay lower interest rates on their card payments. Now there's a whole host of similar companies offering peer-to-peer loans and other alternative forms of financing to consumers and small businesses, including OnDeck, Kabbage, Fundera, CircleUp, and Funding Circle.
Lending Club reported $86.9 million in revenue for the first six months of 2014, though that was outstripped by high operating expenses; the company swung to a loss of $16.5 million during that period, from a $1.7 million profit in the first half of 2013. Its filing did not disclose the price range at which Lending Club intends to set its shares during its listing, or the ticker under which it plans to go public.