The US’ second largest marketplace lender has signed “a definitive agreement” to acquire BillGuard, for a sum that is reportedly upwards of $30m in cash. BillGuard is a personal finance analytics firms, based in Tel Aviv, that develops apps for the purpose of managing, protecting and amplifying the way that consumers interact with money and with credit. These technology based tools will now be made available to Prosper’s borrowers and lenders, thus allowing both groups to make more enlightened financial decisions. The acquisition will also provide Prosper with access to Israel’s “extraordinary” engineering and product talent pool.
“This will be a transformative acquisition for Prosper Marketplace and for the marketplace lending industry. Until now, nobody has brought together marketplace lending and personal finance management to deliver an offering that truly empowers, protects and educates consumers. In addition to the strategic value of this acquisition, we’re also excited to welcome the BillGuard team to Prosper Marketplace. They represent truly world-class talent and bring a team and technology platform that will immediately accelerate our product development.”
BillGuard's signature app helps consumers to track their spending, to budget effectively, protect themselves from wrongful charges and to stay on top of their credit score. BillGuard's technology also helps consumers to detect fraudlent payment card charges, and has netted over $70m in unauthorised charges since its inception. What’s more, the company has 1.3m registered users, many of which may well be interested in the services that Prosper provides.
Yaron Samid, Co-Founder and CEO of BillGuard, commented on the acquisition:
“Both BillGuard and Prosper Marketplace are focused on empowering consumers to be financially secure, smart and successful. Joining forces means that BillGuard can continue to innovate while contributing to the evolution of Prosper Marketplace as a full-service financial management company.”
Prosper is claiming this to be the first time that a marketplace lender has joined forces with a personal finance management service.
Prosper is no stranger to acquisition, having acquired America HealthCare Lending (a patient financing platform) in January this year, for $21m in cash. Partnerships in general are a staple of the platform’s expansion strategy. Prosper recently joined forces with Radius Bank, in order to offer loans to the bank's clients via the platform. Prosper signed a similar deal with Western Independent Bankers (WIB) – a consortium of over 160 independent and community banks – in February. But the vast majority of Prosper’s past partnerships to date have been geared around accelerating the growth of the platform – whether by obtaining larger numbers of borrowers or larger sums of investment. The BillGuard acquisition stands out among these activities, as one that is designed to enlighten the platform’s existing community, rather than to expand it.