When I profiled Orchard back in February, the company was just a few months old and fresh off a $2.7 million funding round. But that wasn’t your typical seed round—Orchard attracted the likes of Vikram Pandit, the former CEO of Citigroup and Tom Glocer, the former CEO of Reuters as investors in that round.
While that was impressive, today they have announced a $12 million funding round from a group of A-list players in our industry. These are people with deep histories and intimate knowledge of the inner workings of p2p lending. But before I get to that, a quick primer for those of you who don’t know Orchard.
Orchard Platform traces its roots back to the LendIt Conference in 2013 where co-founders Matt Burton and Angela Ceresnie presented on some of the challenges facing p2p investors. This led them to create the first company devoted to providing the infrastructure that connects institutional investors with loan originators. They started with Lending Club and Prosper and now connect multiple platforms to their growing investor client base. They provide institutional investors with real-time trading and reporting, investment strategy, data analysis as well as access to loan supply.
I caught up with Orchard CEO Matt Burton earlier today to discuss this new funding round and the names that participated.
“We went out trying to get one or two big names into this round,” said Burton. “We had more interest than we expected and we ended up with many big names.”
Who are These New Investors in Orchard?
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Today, Lending Club released an updated S-1 filing for its upcoming IPO. In this document is the long awaited confirmation that Lending Club will be reserving shares in their IPO for retail investors.
This is something that has been hinted about before and when I interviewed Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche recently on the Lend Academy Podcast he indicated that was their intention. But this is the first time that we have seen hard evidence that this will actually happen. There is a “Directed Share Program” section buried deep in the S-1 that provides this information (emphasis is mine):
At our request, the underwriters have reserved % of the shares of common stock offered by this prospectus for sale, at the initial public offering price, to our directors, officers, employees, investors that have invested through our marketplace as of September 30, 2014 and other individuals related to us. Shares purchased by our directors and officers will be subject to a 180-day lock-up restriction. The number of shares of common stock available for sale to the general public will be reduced to the extent these individuals purchase such reserved shares. Any reserved shares that are not so purchased will be offered by the underwriters to the general public on the same basis as the other shares offered by this prospectus.
While we have no idea what percentage they are reserving it is pretty clear that some shares will be available to retail investors come IPO time. I reached out to Lending Club today for more details but not surprisingly they had no comment. Rest assured you will hear about it on Lend Academy as soon as more information is made available.
Lending Club Will Be Listed on the NYSE With Ticker Symbol “LC”
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