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LendMe at LendIt: Day 2

21 April 2016 | Marcus Morrison reports from San Francisco
 

The world's largest marketplace lending / financial technology / peer to peer lending conference - LendIt USA - has officially come to an end.

Our industry has more names than the local San Fran phone book. Peer to peer is increasingly being played out in every corner of the globe and in a vast array of different and exciting ways.

Essentially, if there is a business segment or customer group that requires funds there is a Fin Tech business helping customers in new and innovative ways. The diversity and innovation I witnessed at the conference was incredible and inspiring.

Day two was headlined by PayPal founder Peter Thiel; the first external funder and current director of Facebook, and an investor in a massive range of Fin Tech businesses around the globe.

What I liked most about his session was the message that there are two types of companies; those who compete and those who don't. Before you read the next paragraph, answer this question, which category do you want to be in?

Don't be in the category that competes, instead, create a monopoly in a seemingly smaller market and dominate that market. You can then grow your business from there.

Being first in is great, but it is the company that is last out that really wins. He went on to say, "If you want to start a business and spend your time competing, start a restaurant in San Fran. And I don't care if it's the only Nepalese British cuisine around, it's still just a restaurant!"

I could bore you with pages of updates about the day, but I think it’s important to note a couple of interesting trends. Here goes.

  • Banks are increasingly seeking to partner with marketplace lenders. They now realise the extent to which their customer base demands seamless, transparent and fast technology solutions to their problems.
  • And it seems they’re willing to acknowledge that building a solution that’s entrepreneurial and tech savvy is not really in their DNA.
  • Only a few players are seeking to expand globally, but capital is certainly flowing globally to fund loans given the lack of investment yield in most countries.

Over the course of the two days, I have been struck by the uniqueness of LendMe's business model. The work we put into securing our lender's investment is not replicated anywhere else from what I can tell.

It’s clear that our focus on the tech side of the Fin Tech equation is right, but we need to keep innovating to improve ease of use and for our borrowers in particular.

And finally, we need to continue to 'stick to our knitting' to be the leader in the secured, mortgage backed, lending space. Certainly an interesting global landscape to keep an eye on, and a very exciting future for LendMe.