The next LendIt conference is just over a month away so I wanted to give everyone an update on how things are going. As of right now we have over 1,100 people registered for LendIt USA 2015 on April 13-15 so we are well on our way to our goal of 1,500 people by game time.
For those of you new to Lend Academy allow me to briefly explain what LendIt is and who attends. LendIt was the first conference in the P2P lending space (I am one of the co-founders), launching in 2013, when 350 people attended the inaugural event in New York City. Last year, we were in San Francisco in May where 950 people attended and we also expanded internationally with successful events in Shanghai and London.
LendIt is all about bringing together the investors, platforms and service providers in our industry for networking, business development, education and fun. We have multiples tracks of content including keynote presentations and panels, company demos, workshops as well as cocktail parties. You can see the complete preliminary agenda here.
An A-List of Speakers Headlined by Larry Summers
We are really pleased with the way our speaker roster is coming together. We will be officially kicking off the conference for the third year in a row with a keynote by the Founder and CEO of Lending Club, Renaud Laplanche. Also with the closing keynote on day one for the third year will be the inimitable Ron Suber, President of Prosper.
Former Treasury Secretary and current Harvard Professor Larry Summers will be delivering a 45-minute keynote presentation at 10am on April 15. We have also received a speaking commitment from Karen Mills, the former head of the US Small Business Administration and another current Harvard professor. Also delivering presentations will be the CEOs of OnDeck Capital, Funding Circle and the CEOs of China’s largest p2p lenders, CreditEase and Lufax.
New This Year: PitchIt @ LendIt
Something I am very excited about this year is a new feature we are calling PitchIt @ LendIt. This is where startups will be doing short pitches to a panel of expert judges – all current VC’s or angel investors who have made investments in early stage companies in this industry. It will be a similar format to the popular Shark Tank show without the histrionics needed to generate television ratings. Upon completion of all eight presentations the judges will choose a winner and two runners-up.
If you are a startup and are actively raising money today then we invite you to fill out our online application. We will be taking applications through March 28 and the eight finalists will be notified by March 31. And who knows? Maybe we will discover the next Lending Club at PitchIt @ LendIt.
New This Year: Pre-Conference Workshops
Before the conference officially begins on April 14 we are hosting half-day workshops in the afternoon of April 13. There will be four tracks of content where we will be going in depth into some of the more important topics for platforms and investors:
1. The FICO Credit Boot Camp for Alternative Lending
2. Introduction to P2P Lending
3. The Online Lending Technology Ecosystem
4. Building an Online Lending Platform
Each track will go for four hours (with a 30 minute break in the middle) and cover multiple topics. There is an additional $200 charge to attend the pre-conference workshops.
New This Year: Real Estate Track
In the past the LendIt Conference has been primarily focused on consumer and small business lending but we have usually made room for one panel to cover real estate. This year we are ready to expand our focus on real estate to an entire day to give it the proper attention that it deserves. In the past three years we have witnessed more than 75 real estate crowdfunding platforms launch and we have seen rapid adoption by real estate investors that seem to love this new take on a traditional asset class. In a series of panels and presentations on April 15 we will feature about 20 of the top platforms as well as many high growth real estate technology companies that are driving innovation in the category.
New This Year: The China Room
Many people don’t realize that China is by far the largest P2P lending market in the world. The loan volume there is so big that the Chinese market is larger than the rest of the world combined.
From our very first year the Chinese P2P lending industry has shown tremendous interest in attending LendIt. This year there is even more interest – Chinese tour companies are expecting to send close to 100 people to New York to attend. So, we have created a special China Room that will have its own agenda with presentations and panels. This room will be simultaneously translated in either Chinese or English depending on the language being spoken.
Ringing the Opening Bell At Nasdaq Tomorrow Morning
This is kind of crazy. A month ago the Managing Director of New Listings at Nasdaq, reached out to me in an email asking if the LendIt team would like to ring the opening bell at Nasdaq prior to our 2015 conference.
For some background, both Lending Club and OnDeck Capital went public last December on the New York Stock Exchange. It is a competitive business for new listings and so Nasdaq want to build awareness inside our industry because they would dearly like the next company to go public to list with Nasdaq.
So, tomorrow morning at 9:30am ET the LendIt team will be at the Nasdaq headquarters in New York ringing the opening bell. You can watch it live here. And if you happen to be in Times Square right after the opening bell tomorrow you will see a cool video on the billboards there put together by the LendIt team.
Lend Academy Readers Always Get a Discount to LendIt
For our 2015 event in New York we are pleased to say that every single major platform in the world will be in attendance. Most of the big names have signed on as sponsors with 98 sponsoring companies committed to LendIt USA 2015 as of this writing.
As with every LendIt conference Lend Academy readers get a special discount. Just use the code LENDACADEMYVIP when you register, which is good for 15% off the retail price of a ticket.
Hope to see you all in New York next month at LendIt.