Zopa secures $5m financing; appoints Phillip Riese chairman

Zopa secures $5m financing; appoints Phillip Riese chairman

Zopa, a UK-based online person-to-person lending and borrowing exchange, says it has received an additional $5 million in financing from Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper and the Rowland Family of the UK. The firm has also named Phillip Riese as chairman of its board of directors.

Draper, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, is noted for his early role in funding Internet companies such as Skype, Overture.com and Hotmail.

The Rowland Family of the UK also participated in this round of funding. Previously, the family has invested in Internet companies such as Jellyworks and LastMinute.com.

Zopa says the new funding adds to the $26 million previously raised from Bessemer Venture Partners, Benchmark Capital and Wellington Partners.

The firm has also appointed former president of American Express's consumer cards services group Phillip Riese chairman of the board.

Riese spent 18 years of his career at American Express developing, marketing and servicing charge and credit card products. Before this he served as division executive of Chase Manhattan Bank's Visa and MasterCard businesses.

Riese is currently president of a consultancy that provides services to start-up and Fortune 500 companies.

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.

In March this year the company raised $15 million in series b funding to support a US-based start-up.

Commenting on the financing and the appointment, Richard Duvall, CEO, Zopa, says: "These developments put us in a position to move toward our California launch with strong momentum and support."

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