Lending Club is bulking up on big-name board members. In an announcement today, the peer-to-peer financing platform said it was adding Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers investment partner and former Morgan Stanley analyst, Mary Meeker to its board of directors. The announcement comes about two months after it named Morgan Stanley Chairman Emeritus and former CEO John Mack to its board.
Lending Club also said that it had taken a $15 million equity investment from Kleiner Perkins, as well as a $2.5 million investment from Mack, bringing Lending Club’s total funding to $100 million and its total in unrestricted cash to more than $45 million.
The new funding will not be put to any specific purpose, said Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche, but he added that he looks forward to his new partners’ feedback on the business model and strategy. One of the most highly-respected voices in the tech world (who has been called the ‘queen of the net’), Meeker’s blend of financial and tech know-how will no doubt be an asset to the company going forward. And Kleiner Perkins’ influence and track record with top companies like Amazon, Google and Twitter will help the company as it grows, Laplanche said.
“The firm and [Meeker] are going to be very helpful to Lending Club in the next few years,” Laplanche said.
Since its founding in 2006, the platform, which targets high-credit-quality borrowers, has originated more than $650 million in cumulative loans and is adding more than $135 million each quarter in new loans. By November or December, Laplanche said the company expects its portfolio to surpass $1 billion in total loans.
Noting how macro-economic trends impact the marketplace, he said that credit quality has improved as the economy has slowly recovered over the past couple of years. Job creation hasn’t picked up as much as they’d like to see but the pace of job loss – a main reason people default on loans – has declined.
He said the company is growing at 10 percent a month but its biggest challenge is to encourage sustainable and predictable growth for both supply and demand.
“We’re a marketplace,” he said. “It’s really important that we grow both sides at the same rate.”