I wish I had a quarter for everytime I've heard that Marketplace Lending/Peer to Peer Lending specifically, and FinTech generally are a revolution to the world of finance.
Revolutions need leaders.
Who would Martin Luther King have been able to look up to for examples of peaceful, effective, non-violent civil disobedience if there was no Gandhi? How would MLK have been able to use this example to advance the Civil Rights movement here in America if he hadn't seen it in action already?
MLK might have still accomplished his goals but it would have been tougher for him to do and tougher for us to believe it would be possible without seeing a successful example of it already. And it would have taken longer to accomplish.
The public is fickle that way.
A revolution without a leader is a rudderless ship.
Some leaders are just figureheads as a singular person to associate with a movement/revolution. Some are an exact representation of their constituency, think Organized Crime bosses or Teamsters Union bosses. Other leaders are the ones that birth their movement, like what Bernie Sanders has done with the very politically progressive/socialist left in American politics.
The Leading Company
Lending Club is the undisputed leading company in our industry. Their former CEO Renauld LaPlanche was the face and leader of the marketplace lending industry. Emphasis on WAS.
Then the fraudulent loan sale, DOJ investigation and CEO and other senior executive ouster at LC happens in Spring 2016.
Lending Club has a new CEO since June and his name is Scott Sanborn. Sanborn is the one who sent the letter to investors that I posted when this turbulence with LC was going on. He has steadied the ship and he's done a good job.
He is also not the face of the industry in the way that LaPlanche was. His current slow and steady approach is what LC needs.
And revolutions needs leaders both in real leadership and as a face of the industry to be a leading spokesman/advocate for the industry as a whole and for us retail investors in particular.
Does this mean our industry is leaderless now?
A Leader Among Us
Being a leader in the marketplace lending industry is a tough job.
They have to understand finance and technology.
They have to understand institutional and hedge fund investors and little investors like you and me.
They have to understand federal securities regulators. And oh yeah, they have to understand their borrowers too.
All this and they have to advocate for their platform and the industry. They have to do conferences and TV interviews. They have to be known by CNBC and by industry bloggers like me.
Luckily, we have such a person although some of you may not know who he is just yet.
The Prosper where Ron started was a very different place from the industry leader Prosper is now. Ron has a great deal to do with that turnaround and success, as do the Vermuts.
Ron is constantly on Bloomberg, CNBC US and Asia, Crowdfund Insider, The Motley Fool and he returns my calls even with his very busy schedule.
Ron advises companies in the industry and invests in some with his own money like Credible, RE platform Patch of Land and SoFi.
Ron is a frequent speaker and here are some examples of talks he's given.
Here's his great keynote from LendIt 2016
and here Ron talks about working with banks
and here he talks about working with us little investors at the Motley Fool
Three speeches/interviews and concentration on the industry as a whole, banks, institutional investors and retail investors.
This kind of all encompassing advocacy is what an industry leader does. Ron is a great representation of the multiple constituencies of the marketplace lending industry.
So Renaud LaPlanche may be out at Lending Club but that does not mean that our industry is leaderless and faceless. The current leader/face and advocate for our industry is Ron Suber.
And we are better off for it.