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Podcast 26: Brendan Ross of Direct Lending Investments

by Peter Renton on October 28, 2014

Direct Lending Investments logo

Brendan Ross is the founder and president of Direct Lending Investments which is the general partner of a fund focused on high-yield, short term small business loans. I am an early investor in Brendan’s fund and last year I profiled Brendan’s fund. His fund has grown a great deal since its launch almost two years ago and is an important part of the marketplace lending ecosystem today.

I talked with Brendan about his fund, small business loans in general as well as his thoughts on the p2p lending space in general. In this podcast you will learn:

  • What Brendan liked most about Lending Club when he started investing.
  • The other opportunities Brendan considered before settling on small business loans.
  • The yield difference between consumer and small business loans.
  • When he started his fund and how he was able to convince these platforms to sell him loans.
  • The platforms that he is working with today.
  • The typical small businesses that his fund invests in.
  • The loss rates that his fund experiences.
  • How Brendan selects the loans for his fund.
  • How his fund is structured.
  • Who is investing with Direct Lending Investments and how has the mix changed.
  • Why investors like his fund and the net returns he is providing.
  • Why he maintains an investor waiting list. [click to continue…]

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managementTeam

Soul Htite (seated in the center in the above photo) is a very brave entrepreneur that has done something remarkable that very few people have ever attempted and even fewer have succeeded.  Soul is the co-founder and former Head of Technology at Lending Club.  A few years ago, he chose to walk away from Lending Club to launch a new business.  The crazy thing is that he chose to launch his business inside of China without knowing how to speak the language and with only a small handful of connections on the mainland.

China is the place where US Internet companies fail.  Amazon and eBay tried to enter only to pull out after being outmaneuvered by local companies (hello Alibaba), Google ran into differences with the Chinese government and chose to exit, and Facebook and Twitter were banned pretty much right from the start.  So what was Soul thinking he could accomplish as a foreigner entering China to launch a new Internet Finance company?  The odds certainly seemed stacked against him.

Soul has proven everyone wrong and with the two announcements earlier this month, he has elevated his company, Dianrong.com, to a new level as one of the most successful young Internet Finance companies in all of China.  So how did he do it?

First of all, he made the decision to personally move to Shanghai and build his business organically from within China, making this a Chinese Internet Finance company not a US Internet company.  Second, he took on a co-founder, Kevin Guo, who is native to China and has been a great co-founding partner.  Third, he built his entire team in Shanghai with people from around the country.  Fourth, he embraced technology with greater than 50% of his employees working as developers and engineers. To cap it off, earlier this month Dianrong.com announced two major partnerships with leading Chinese financial services companies that will transform his business and distribute his P2P technology throughout China.

Bank of Suzhou Partners with Dianrong.com to Launch A P2P Bank

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Peer to Peer Lending News Roundup – October 25, 2014

October 25, 2014

During the week I share the latest p2p lending news on Twitter as it happens. Then every Saturday I take the most interesting news items and blog posts from the past week and share them here. This was one of the busiest weeks of p2p lending news for quite some time. We had the Lending Club, Orchard [...]

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CommonBond Introduces an Industry First: An Adjustable Rate Loan

October 24, 2014

Student lender CommonBond (profiled here last year) has created a first in the p2p lending industry: an adjustable rate loan. Adapting the popular adjustable rate mortgage loan from the real estate industry their new 10-year loan product has both a fixed and a variable component. The CommonBond Hybrid Loan CommonBond is calling it a “Hybrid Loan” [...]

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Orchard Lands a $12 Million Investment from Some of the Industry’s Biggest Names

October 21, 2014

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 [...]

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Lending Club Reserving Shares in their IPO for Retail Investors

October 20, 2014

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 [...]

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Peer to Peer Lending News Roundup – October 18, 2014

October 18, 2014

During the week I share the latest p2p lending news on Twitter as it happens. Then every Saturday I take the most interesting news items and blog posts from the past week and share them here. Short Term Small Business Lending: The Sweet Spot for Investors? from AltFi – I love small business and I also think [...]

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SolarCity Launches SolarBonds Offering Investors a 4% Return

October 16, 2014

SolarCity is the largest installer of solar panels for residential homes. According to their press release yesterday they provide one out of every three solar systems installed in the U.S. To date they have installed around $5 billion worth of solar panels in 15 states and the money for this has been raised from large [...]

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Update on LendIt Europe in London

October 14, 2014

We are now just over a month away from the LendIt Europe conference in London on November 17 and I want to give everyone an update. This is our first European event that builds on the success of the first two LendIt conferences in New York and San Francisco. Registrations are continuing to come in strong. We [...]

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Peer to Peer Lending News Roundup – October 11, 2014

October 11, 2014

During the week I share the latest p2p lending news on Twitter as it happens. Then every Saturday I take the most interesting news items and blog posts from the past week and share them here. Wall Street’s siren song lures P2P lenders into treacherous seas from the Financial Times – This journalist thinks that p2p lending [...]

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