When I was in London in March I spoke on a panel at the AltFi conference with Richard Swart, a professor at UC Berkeley. He has become one of the leading academics focused on crowdfunding. We have stayed in regular contact since then as Professor Swart has decided to expand his research to include p2p lending.
This is great news for our industry because there has been virtually no research done in this country and there was no academic that wanted to take the lead here. Professor Swart, his team of researchers at UC Berkeley and I have put together a survey that we will be sending to all major platforms in the coming week.
The goal of this first annual survey is to quantify the broader online lending industry in several ways. Here is the official research description:
We seek to understand transaction size, volumes, and changes in markets for alternative lending. We are seeking aggregate loan or platform activity data that will be anonymized and aggregated so that readers of the final research report will not be able to determine the activity on any particular platform (unless the platform already makes that data public). This analysis includes gathering demographics of users – we seek to understand the demographic profile of users and track activity by metropolitan area. We do not seek personal data about individual loan recipients.
An additional survey will be focused on the self-reported information of small business owners who have taken out loans through online lending platforms. We want to get to the heart of the motivations of business owners to obtain financing and the impact these loans have on their business and the broader community.
Our new industry needs a benchmarking survey so everyone will be able to understand the evolution of online lending and its impact on the financial industry over time. I am honored to be helping out Professor Swart and his team at Berkeley on this important project.