Lenddo, the world's first online community that empowers the emerging middle class to use their online social connections to build their creditworthiness and access local financial services, today announced it has closed an $8 Million Series A investment.
Investors include the Silicon Valley firms of Accel Partners, Blumberg Capital, and Omidyar Network, as well as Montreal-based iNovia Capital and New York-based Metamorphic Ventures. Also participating in the round are several prominent Angel Investors including Geoff Judge, David Kidder, Scott Heiferman and Barry Silbert. The investor group's track record includes early investments in Facebook, Groupon, Tencent, Kiva and Prosper.
"Lenddo seeks to improve the lives of millions of people in emerging markets," said Founder and Global CEO, Jeff Stewart. "We witness the impact of our loans every day in the Philippines and Colombia. Members pursue education, help sick relatives and repair their homes after natural disasters -- all made possible because of their positive online reputations."
Lenddo members use their reputations on social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to obtain life-improving loans. Founded in 2011, the Lenddo community has members in over 35 countries. Member growth continues to double every 90 days. Lenddo currently provides loans in Colombia and the Philippines. The Company plans to use the capital to grow the engineering team and expand operations to more emerging markets.
"Lenddo has the potential to transform how millions of underserved in the emerging markets access credit," said Arjuna Costa, director, investments at Omidyar Network. "Jeff and his team have harnessed the power of technology and online social networks to create a uniquely intimate lending process. By linking community and reputation to creditworthiness, Lenddo has the power to replace the impersonal risk-assessment tools that currently exclude most of the world's population."
Lenddo's proprietary algorithms were developed under the direction of Chief Scientist, Naveen Agnihotri, Ph.D. "At Lenddo, we discovered that the willingness of your community to connect and vouch for you is an incredibly powerful predictor of creditworthiness," said Dr. Agnihotri.
The team also includes Co-Founder and Asia CEO, Richard Eldridge and Americas CEO and former Head of New Markets, Latin America at Google, Dan Gertsacov. The company currently has employees in Manila, Bogotá and New York City. Co-lead investors John Elton, a Partner at iNovia Capital, and Bruce Taragin, Managing Director at Blumberg Capital, will join the Board.