P2P, the place to be – an update on Zopa’s progress
Every two years, the Financial Services Club hosts an update on Zopa’s progress ever since its late founder, Richard Duvall, presented in 2005 a month before launch. Back then, no-one knew what Zopa was about but, over the course of seven years, it has not only succeeded in becoming a core source of funding exchange in the UK, but has been copied globally. The company is now processing over £200 million in P2P lending, an amount doubling year on year as the credit crisis forces consumers and corporates to find new funding sources. In fact, Andy Haldane of the Bank of England recently stated that companies such as Zopa “are tiny but so, a decade and a half ago, was Google”, and believes that they will soon offer a serious alternative to mainstream bank funding. This position was further strengthened over the summer when the government pledged £500 million to be made available to small and medium sized firms through the Business Finance Partnership with £100 million of the funding designated towards alternative lenders, such as Zopa. So how is Zopa changing and adapting to the increasing demands on its business and what is its plan for the future? Giles Andrews will provide the insights.
Giles co-founded Zopa, a social lending website which connects people who want to borrow money with people who want to lend it, in 2004. He led 4 fundraisings as CFO, raising a total of $33m from European and US investors. UK Managing Director since July 2007 and CEO since January 2009, Giles has led the company through a period of dramatic growth that has seen it established as a real threat to the banks.
Prior to Zopa, Giles spent the first ten years of his career in the motor industry pursuing his interest in all things automotive. This included co-founding Caverdale in 1992, a start-up taken to a £250m turnover motor retailer and sold in 1997. After an MBA at INSEAD he set up his own consultancy business whose clients included Tesco and Tesco Personal Finance.