Prosper.com, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace for personal loans and investments, announced today that its rapid growth has continued through early 2012 and concurrently, the company has made several leadership changes and additions to better serve the quickly expanding P2P lending market.
Chris Larsen has moved from the role of CEO and Chairman to serve exclusively as Chairman. The company also announced that Dawn Lepore, who previously served as CEO and chairman of drugstore.com and vice chairman of The Charles Schwab Corporation, would serve as interim CEO. Prosper also announced that private equity investor and 23-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, Eric Schwartz, would join the board.
"As Prosper continues to achieve incredible growth, now is the time to embrace the next phase of the company's evolution," said Larsen. "As Chairman, I look forward to working closely with the executive team to build a truly innovative consumer credit company."
The company reported 179% annual growth in loans originated through its platform in 2011 and February loan origination volume in 2012 was 201% higher than the same period last year. Increased borrower and investor demand for affordable financing alternatives and higher returns have helped fuel gains at the P2P lending pioneer. Since its inception, the company has facilitated the funding of more than $314 million in P2P consumer loans.
"The P2P lending industry is at a pivotal point in its development and Prosper.com, with its exceptional management team and industry-leading credit risk model, is uniquely positioned to move this category forward and provide borrowers and investors with a better, more efficient lending alternative," said Lepore. At Schwab, Lepore served on Schwab's Executive Committee. She currently holds seats on the boards of eBay and Coupons.com, and previously served on the boards of Wal-Mart and The New York Times.
Mr. Schwartz was formerly co-head of asset management at Goldman Sachs and held a number of senior executive positions at the company, including as a member of the investment bank's Management Committee.
"I am excited to be investing in and joining the board of such an innovative company," said Schwartz. "The Prosper.com marketplace is increasingly serving as a mainstream financial instrument for consumers and investors because of the simple value proposition it offers to both sides of the marketplace: access to fairly priced credit and attractive, risk-adjusted investor returns."