A gaggle of business school graduates is among the growing number of start-up entrepreneurs hoping to electrify the fast-growing peer-to-peer lending market.
The P2P industry has risen prominence over the past two years, with more than £500 million being lent to individuals and businesses in the second quarter of this year alone.
The largest P2P lenders focus on matching borrowers with investors, such SoFi, a student loan specialist which was set-up by Stanford GSB MBA Michael Cagney. Since its foundation in 2011, the company has raised more than $750 million in venture capital.
Other P2P platforms have focused on equity funding, targeting start-up businesses that need seed and growth capital.
Goncalo de Vasconcelos founded SyndicateRoom, an investor-led equity platform, the same year he graduated from the MBA at Cambridge Judge Business School in the UK. The platform has helped raise more than £31 million since its launch in 2012.
Goncalo said SyndicateRoom’s vision is that for every pound invested, everybody makes or loses the same amount of money. ‘Equity crowdfunding is a beautiful thing — it helps entrepreneurs raise finance in a more efficient way, but it has to work for investors for it to be sustainable,’ he said.
Goncalo believes that his MBA has been of benefit to SyndicateRoom, which was named after a study area at Cambridge Judge.
‘It gives you that credibility. It opens doors,’ he said, while also providing a boost to confidence. Goncalo also values his MBA network. ‘Everyone wants to chip in with ideas. We had really valuable feedback,’ he added.
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