UK-based online person-to-person lending and borrowing exchange Zopa has raised $12.9m in a series c funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The firm has also hired Douglas Dolton, a veteran of the unsecured lending industry, as its global CEO.
Zopa was established in 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 launching in the UK in March 2005, Zopa says over 135,000 customer have signed up to the service.
Zopa will use the series c investment to fund the launch of the service in the US, as well as for the continued development and growth of operations in the UK.
The series c investment raises Zopa's total capital raised to $34m.
The company has also appointed Douglas Dolton, a seasoned entrepreneur in the unsecured lending industry, as global CEO.
Zopa says Dolton combines 30 years of consumer financial services experience with a track record of building successful, high-growth businesses. In three years under Dolton's leadership, San Francisco-based Chela Education Financing grew to become one of the premier student loan companies in the country that was successfully sold to Nelnet, the second-largest student loan company in the US.
Prior to Chela, Dolton was CEO of Virginia-based Servus Financial Corporation, an originator and servicer of consumer loans. Servus was sold to Wells Fargo Bank in 2000.
Commenting on the funding and the appointment, Phillip Riese, chairman of Zopa, says: "Doug's leadership combined with the new funding and the experience of our teams in the UK and the US will allow us to accelerate our growth."