US startup LendingRobot sounds like an attempt to tick every box in innovative finance. The Seattle-based firm is a "robo-adviser" (an automated online investment service); it invests in P2P lending; and it uses blockchain, the technology du jour (which we will be writing about in more detail in MoneyWeek in the near future).
Last week, it launched its "LendingRobot Series", which it describes rather grandly as "the next step in the evolution of investment in alternative lending". This "robo-fund" will combine "cloud-based automation" with "machine-learning technology" to offer "superior and predictable returns that are uncorrelated to the stockmarket".
The fund will invest in P2P loans on multiple platforms including Lending Club, Prosper Marketplace and Funding Circle, which will "enable investors to more easily and cheaply diversify their investments across different platforms and loans", says LendingRobot.
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It will also invest in real estate loans. Transactions will be recorded via blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which will offer an immutable record. "We display every single note, even if the investment in it is tiny. You can view each payment made on it and all the vitals about each loan," LendingRobot's chief executive Emmanuel Marot told GeekWire.com.
Marot and co-founder Gilad Golan, who has since left to join Google, met while working at Microsoft. LendingRobot grew out of software they built to monitor loans they were making through Lending Club.
Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website, scotsman.com, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.
Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.
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