How a rocket scientist is fixing P2P lending

The largest P2P marketplace on Earth – Lending Club – is currently worth $7 billion and has seen it loan volume grow 20 percent per month every quarter of 2015 so far.  And while LendingClub is the biggest – it is finding itself in an increasingly crowded marketplace .

Analysts say that by the end of 2015, person-to-person lending will drive roughly $77 billion in loan volume — 15 times more than the $5 billion it drove in 2012, Bloomberg reports And while that growth rate is astonishing, P2P lending growth overall is a mere .08 percent drop in a $96 trillion total lending bucket worldwide

The rapid growth of the P2P lending world is of concern to some .

Michael Tarkan, an equities analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading in Washington who covers P2P companies said in an interview that while P2P so far looks high promising – the model is still under development.

“This may prove to be a superior model, but we just don’t know because it hasn’t been tested yet through a full credit cycle.”

But with trepidations aside –  innovators and investors alike worldwide are responding to the siren song of a $96 trillion waiting to be loaned out more efficiently — and hopefully profitably.

At first glance, BLender might not look like a differentiated player in the field. In fact, the Israeli-based P2P lender looks very like everyone else: BLender connects borrowers to lenders, borrowers get better rates or otherwise more favorable terms for loans, lenders net high returns in form of interest on their loans.

But it’s the second glance where BLender throws a few extra ingredients into making its P2P loan smoothies (we promise that will be the last blender-related pun), starting with how it evaluates creditworthiness on the platform. Borrowers are reviewed and scored on BLender’s proprietary Rating 2.0 system which CEO Dr. Gal Aviv described  a “hybrid” that creates and ranks lender profiles based on financial, social, and demographic data.

Aviv is an interesting figure — and probably the only person working in P2P lending today who holds a PhD in nanophysics.

The platform launched in November 2014 with some angel funding and whole lot of bootstrapping. In that relatively short time, BLender has extended $2.5 million in loans, with the average loan value ranging between $3,750- $5,000. All loans are made within Israel.

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