Rajesh Jayaraman

Prosper, Zopa and Benchmark

Zopa raised Series B funding of $15 million to launch their service in California. PaymentNews covers the story here - Payments News: P2P Lender Zopa Raises $15 Million In Funding For California Launch - March 27, 2006

This raises the prospect of an engaging competition between two companies funded by Benchmark capital in the US market. There must be a sizable market to go around for this service, but more likely, only one will survive.

Marketplaces are funny business. It is very hard to unseat an entrenched incumbent. But, neither Propser nor Zopa have quite the scale to be labeled an incumbent. If both these companies were completely independent, we may have seen a bruising war between the two companies to attract users. But since Benchmark invests in both, it will be interesting to see if Prosper and Zopa tip-toe around each other and build separate niche markets. Or, will Benchmark be better served by letting the two have a go at each other. In either case, Benchmark stands to gain.

May the market choose the best market!

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