Thursday, November 01, 2007

An Apple a Day (for a hundred and sixty billion days)

A friend of mine pointed out that that Apple recently passed both Intel and (holy cow! really?) IBM in market capitalization. Wow. So much for Apple being a footnote. Also an article in Wired today about Apple having more cash on hand than Facebook's entire (MSFT-driven) valuation.

You know, Apple hasn't made any strong "web 2.0" moves yet. hmmm...

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An equitable arrangement

Home Economics Thanks to Springwise for bringing this to my attention: Home Equity Share. An interesting twist on P2P lending, illustrating yet again how stale the mainstream financial industry has become, and how a little creative thinking can go a long way in that space. Here's how it works: It matches investors, who want to get into the real estate market, but don't want monthly payments or tenants, with buyers who have cash flow to make mortgage payments, but don't have a downpayment. The buyer can acquire the investor's share at a later date, or they can agree to sell the property and share the appreciation. Simple, really. It's a Cozy Home in My NeighborhoodNot that it doesn't have it's challenges (the mid-2007 subprime mortgage meltdown), but it has the advantage that this sort of arrangement is really quite common. Parents helping their kids buy their first house, for example. If you don't have parents who can help you financially in this way, Home Equity Share will find you a "surrogate". So far, the company doesn't seem to be leveraging existing social networking applications to connect people together who are likely to have a higher degree of trust due to smaller "degrees of separation", but that's an obvious extension.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

How do you say Peer-to-peer in Mandarin?

One more update on P2P lending: here is a Chinese P2P lending project called PPDAI. It turns out that most lending in China (not much of a surprise) is P2P (the old-school, IRL type), usually between relatives. Most Chinese don't have access to bank financing, apparently. This could be amazing to watch: 1.3 Billion peers... wow.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Update: More on bypassing the Banks

I posted earlier on a peer-to-peer lending project called CommunityLend (love the logo, by the way), which is still as yet unlaunched. Here's another interesting angle: a facebook plugin. Using existing social networks to make (presumably better-trusted) connections between lenders and borrowers. LendingClub has this to say for themselves:
Now that Lending Club is available to Facebook members, person-to-person lending on Facebook is finally possible. “Chip wants to pay off his crazy 18% credit cards; can you chip in $100? You’ll get $110 next year, and even better, you’ll know you helped him out and you may also earn a seat at his debt-free celebration dinner.” Your real friends will even validate the purpose of your loan, and strengthen your desire to live up to it.
And more formally:
Lending Club is an online lending community where people can borrow and lend money, bypass the banks, and get better rates. By working together, members can borrow money more easily and at a better rate than they would get from a bank, or invest in a portfolio of loans at higher rates than those served by savings accounts or CDs. A proprietary technology called LendingMatch™ helps match lenders with borrowers using connections established through social networks, associations and online communities, and build diversified portfolios based on lender preferences.
Their blog has some interesting content discussing P2P lending, and financial advice more generally for the Facebook set. Some articles are quite interesting, including this one on loan pricing. LendingClub is currently open to Facebook users, and plans to expand beyond (presumably to other social networks) soon.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Unbanking

(source: Springwise) CommunityLend is "an online community where people lend money directly to other people. (...)You can set your own rates, payback periods and meet some cool people along the way..." I love the sound of this, and I'm very glad it's made its way to Canada. Peer-to-peer lending "banks" been launched in Holland and Germany and, it seems, with some success. In the Netherlands, Guus Drijver, founder of the unfortunately named Boober, says: "Boober doesn't work with hidden costs and is completely transparent. We don't sponsor yacht races or soccer teams, and don't have expensive headquarters or pay thousands of people high salaries." Amen, brother. In "the next few months", CommunityLend will be launching what the are calling a "test phase" where you can "set up profiles, manage loans, bid on auctions and create groups without using real money". I can hardly wait.

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