In the heart of the City of London, mere yards away from the London headquarters of many of the UK’s top high street banks, a gathering of over 450 like-minded entrepreneurs and investors took place.
The topic up for discussion was the disruption of the financial status quo by peer to peer lending. Lendit Europe showcased the best of this flourishing industry, coupling high quality keynotes and panel discussions with ultra-slick organization.
After some opening remarks from Peter Renton, Rhydian Lewis, CEO of RateSetter took to stage, sharing his thoughts on why peer to peer lending is a force for good in the world. Rhydian’s entertaining presentation drew parallels between the development of the peer to peer industry and the social and political transformations of the 18th century, leaving the audience with four concepts to ponder: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité and Stabilité.
Rhydian was followed by Liberum’s Cormac Leech who offered a trademark, data-packed and informative exploration of the peer to peer lending industry. Cormac’s presentations are rarely short of a few gaudy projections – this time round suggesting that P2P in the UK and US would be worth $40bn in volume by the close of 2016.
Samir Desai, Funding Circle’s CEO shared 10 crucial insights from his unique position of operating on both sides of the pond. He also revealed the manner in which Funding Circle’s credit process has evolved and improved, using the ratio of defaults for the companies funded by the platform vs. those the platform has declined to fund in order to illustrate this. That ratio soared from 1:1 in 2011, to 1:3 in 2012, all the way up to 1:4 in 2013.
Giles’ keynote, entitled ‘Born in a Barn’, focused on the thinking behind the formation of the Zopa – the world’s first peer to peer lender. The latter part of his presentation centered around an impassioned plea for greater transparency from the industry as well as the announcement that Zopa will be opening up its loan book to the public in partnership with AltFi Data.
If we could pick out one theme that permeated virtually every presentation and discussion throughout the day – it would have to be transparency. It certainly was the buzzword for the event and it feels like many of the more established players are now pushing for greater transparency from their peers in order to safeguard the future of this nascent but highly exciting space.
“Lendit Europe has exceeded our expectations in many ways. We had more people attend than we expected and the quality of those attendees has been excellent. The presentations and panels have been both informative and interactive.”
Congratulations to the entire team on a very well executed event.