US peer-to-peer loan marketplace Prosper has raised $20 million in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital and appointed Stephan Vermut, founder of Merlin Securities, as CEO.
The financing round, which also included participation from all existing investors, sees Sequoia partner Pat Grady join the Prosper board of directors.
The money will support the efforts of Vermut - who replaces interim boss Dawn Lepore - to accelerate growth at a company which has facilitated more than $400 million in loans during its six years in business.
Vermut comes to Prosper from Wells Fargo, where he led the bank's first foray into prime brokerage services after its acquisition of his Merlin outfit last year.
Says Vermut: "I've watched with great interest over the past few years as the peer-to-peer lending industry has grown substantially, and I believe Prosper is in a unique position to offer both borrowers and lenders unprecedented access to financial opportunity."
He is bringing with him Wells and Merlin veteran Ron Suber as Prosper's new head of global institutional sales. Another old colleague, Aaron Vermut will join as president after a transition period with Wells Fargo.
"Steve is a talented leader, as proven by his success in founding and growing Merlin Securities, and he has a unique understanding of how technology can be used to disrupt and ultimately improve the financial services industry," says Lepore.