It was back in 2013, when LendIt was just getting under way, that I first connected with Larry Chiavaro. I had been hearing the First Associates name around and I wanted to learn more about them. I was immediately impressed by how well Larry knew the online lending space, he already knew every lender and had established a business relationship with many of them.
In fact, I would say that Larry quickly became one of the most well-connected and well-liked people in the space. Soon, I saw the First Associates name everywhere and I began running into Larry at pretty much every industry event or meetup. And whenever I wanted some background on a lending platform or an investor Larry was always quick to give me the unvarnished truth.
A few months before every LendIt I would give Larry a call to get his ideas on the topics we needed to cover and the companies that were doing the most interesting work. He helped put together at least one panel session every year and his advice was invaluable when deciding who was a compelling speaker and who we could skip.
First Associates has become one of the real success stories in all of fintech. David Johnson, CEO, along with Larry and one other partner bought a struggling loan servicing company with six employees back during the financial crisis. They saw an opportunity to disrupt an industry that had been run inefficiently and where incentives were often not aligned. [Read more…]