How do you compete when everyone’s an online lender?
The interest surrounding online lending has seen
hundreds of millions billions of dollars (debt and equity) being poured into the space. In fact, the amount of money raised by US online lending startups through Q3 2015 was greater than all of 2014. Most of this capital has gone to pureplay startups — like $275M to Earnest, for example) to build out their technology stacks. Marketplace lenders have raised huge amounts of capital — from both the private and public markets — to attempt to get a foothold in the massive lending market. Online balance sheet lenders are participating heavily here, as well.
But that’s not all that’s happening. Ecommerce firms, without a traditional focus on finance, are getting into the action. PayPal just announced it had surpassed $1 billion in working capital it extended to its merchants. Amazon is expanding its lending program to sellers in multiple countries around the world. Chinese ecommerce sites and social networks and now, with Baidu getting into the game, a search engine, are providing financial services. And there are smart investors like Blue Elephant’s Brian Weinstein providing capital to get access to these new channels of finance.
So what does the market look like when everyone turns into an online lender?