According to TechCrunch, peer to peer or p2p funding is gaining momenton despite the uncertainty in the current market trend. Instead of relying on comercial financial institution, banks or venture capitalist, users and would-be entreperneurs can register with these websites and tell everyone about their potential business. Interested parties can contact these users and start funding their businesses. Sound simple isn't it?
The beauty of p2p funding is that you can be a apart of something for a very small fees. With the help of internet, you can even invest and help people in places such as Boswana, Senegal or Iceland. According to an article from Stanford magazine, p2p funding is will be successful because with a small amount of cash you can help make a big different in someone else life
Guy Kawasaki, in his blogi have highlighted 6 points that we can learn from Kiva, one of the most successful, non-profit p2p funding organization.
1. Create meaningful partnerships. Most entrepreneurs create partnerships to impress investors, journalists, customers, and parents. Hence, most partnership as bull shiitake. The best test of a partnership is whether its existence requires that you change numbers in a spreadsheet. No changes = b.s. partnership. In the case of Kiva, it has sixty seven partnerships with micro-finance organizations. It is these organizations that provide the “leads” for lenders to fund.
Also, Kiva has partnerships with PayPal (free transactions), Google (free traffic) as well as with Yahoo!, Micorosft, MySpace, and YouTube. As you can imagine, these kinds of partnerships do make you reboot Excel.
2. Catalyze and support evangelism. Like Apple, Harley-Davidson, and Tivo, evangelism starts with a great product, and Kiva has one. When you have a great product, then evangelists will appear, and Kiva has 250 active volunteers—what I would label “evangelists.” Kiva has really institutionalized evangelism if you ask me.
3. Find a business model. You’d be surprised how many people wave their hands or avoid the topic of business model completely. Kiva’s model is a minimum $2.50 voluntary fee that lenders pay when checking out their “shopping cart.” If I understand this right: lenders receive no interest and pay a voluntary fee to Kiva in order to loan money. And you thought Google had a great business model—wow, as Wayne and Garth said, “We’re not worthy.”
4. “Bank” on unproven people. What would the ideal background be of the founder of Kiva? Investment banker from Goldman, Sachs? Vice president of the World Bank? Vice president of the Peace Corp? Vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation? Partner at McKinsey? How about temporary administrative assistant at the Stanford Business School? Because that’s how Jessica started her quest. The spark that lit the fire was a speech by Muhammed Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
5. Focus on free marketing. Kiva launched in 2005 with seven businesses in Uganda. The first “marketing” was sending out an email to the wedding invitation list of Jessica and Matt. All seven businesses were funded in a weekend. Then the Daily Kos picked up their story from a hacked together press release. Then PBS’s Frontline covered the organization and loan volume went from $3,000 to $30,000 over night. No road show. No Demo. No TechCrunch 40.
6. Ignore the naysayers. The Flannerys got a lot of advice that you can’t send money around the Internet without government approval; that Kiva couldn’t scale beyond a few African villages; that a non-profit couldn’t offer an investment product; and that it would violate SEC regulations as well as the Patriot Act. Besides this, Kiva was a no-brainer.
Here are some p2p funding companies making wave around the globe.
Kiva is a nonprofit, p2p-lending site that facilitates loans between lenders and extremely low-income entrepreneurs in developing countries. Lenders can find the business and entrepreneur they want to lend to based on region, business type, risk level, etc. So far, there are plenty potential entreperneurs registered with Kiva. Click here for an interesting article by Guy Kawasaki about Kiva
One of the biggest p2p funding company, in term of the amount of money it have loan out so far is the Lending Club. The site uses the Facebook application platform soley to connect lenders with borrowers, due in part to Facebook's viral nature and the fact that friends trust lending to other friends.
Just like the other p2p funding company, prosper seem to be based on the similar concept as the others. Prospective lenders set their minimum interest rate and bid in increments of $50 to $25,000 on loan listings they select.
Zopa is the only company in this group that is not based in the US. Instead, it is based in London. Zopa is a P2P social money lending service that allows lenders and borrowers to deal directly with one another, cutting out the banks who act as middlemen. So far, the company has received public acclaim as well, having been awarded CNET Technology Awards' 2006 Internet Innovation of the Year, the 2007 Webby Award for Best Banking/Bill-Paying Website, and the Banker 2007 Award for Best Internet Project.