Zopa, a UK-based online person-to-person lending and borrowing exchange, has secured $15 million in series b funding which it will use to support a US-based start-up.
Zopa was established in the UK in February 2005 by several members of the original management team behind the launch of UK Internet bank Egg.
The online service enables people to borrow money from other individuals, rather than financial institutions. Since its UK launch in March 2005, Zopa says it has gained more than 55,000 members and overseen several hundred loans worth millions of pounds with no bad debt.
The move into the US market comes a month after the launch of a copycat service called Prosper headed by Chris Larsen, co-founder and former chief executive of E-Loan.
Zopa says the new capital was secured from Bessemer Venture Partners as well as existing investors Benchmark Capital (who also fund Prosper) and Wellington Partners. The additional funding will support a California launch, which is planned for later this year.
Richard Duvall, CEO, Zopa, says: "As well as getting a better financial deal, Zopa's lenders and borrowers are enjoying the experience of dealing directly with other people, in a controlled and risk-managed environment."
Following this round of funding, Bessemer Venture Partners' Rob Stavis, who led the financing of Skype, will join the Zopa board of directors.