SAN FRANCISCO – January 22, 2013– Prosper (www.prosper.com), a leading peer-to-peer financing platform to invest and borrow money, today announced it has appointed Stephan Vermut as Chief Executive Officer and member of the board of directors. The former founder and managing partner of Merlin Securities is a seasoned entrepreneur, corporate executive and technologist with more than 25 years of experience in financial services. Mr. Vermut succeeds Dawn Lepore, who has served as interim CEO since March 2012.
Prosper also announced it has named Ron Suber as Head of Global Institutional Sales, and that Aaron Vermut will join as President after a transition period with Wells Fargo. They will work closely with Mr. Vermut, and their new business partner Sequoia Capital, to accelerate Prosper’s growth at a time when the market for peer-to-peer and business-to-peer finance is rapidly expanding. In support of the enhanced team, Sequoia led a $20 million round of financing, which also included participation from all existing investors. Sequoia Capital Partner Pat Grady will join the Prosper board of directors.
“I’ve watched with great interest over the past few years as the peer-to-peer lending industry has grown substantially, and I believe Prosper is in a unique position to offer both borrowers and lenders unprecedented access to financial opportunity,” said Vermut. “Dawn and her team have attracted impressive talent and created the infrastructure needed to continue to build growth on both sides of the Prosper platform. I’m extremely optimistic about the potential for Prosper and the industry in general.”
“We’ve made great progress recently as shown by our 100% year over year growth in revenue and loan originations. At the same time, we’ve also been carefully searching for the right person to lead Prosper as it moves towards its next phase of growth,” said Lepore. “Steve is a talented leader, as proven by his success in founding and growing Merlin Securities, and he has a unique understanding of how technology can be used to disrupt and ultimately improve the financial services industry.”
Mr. Vermut comes to Prosper from Wells Fargo, where he led the bank’s first foray into prime brokerage services. At Merlin Securities, Mr. Vermut and his team created a superior prime brokerage service based on cutting-edge technology that allowed for a customized approach to managing investment portfolios. The firm established itself as a customer-friendly alternative to some of the biggest financial services institutions in the country.
Mr. Suber, former Managing Director at Wells Fargo Securities and Head of Global Sales at Merlin Securities, brings more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 14 years at Bear Stearns, and will be responsible for expanding Prosper’s presence among institutional investors.
Aaron Vermut, currently Managing Director and Head of Prime Services at Wells Fargo, was a founder and Managing Partner at Merlin Securities. As President of Prosper, he will drive the strategic direction of the company, applying his experience in building a successful technology-driven, customer-centric business.
“Ron has deep and long standing relationships with many of the country’s top money managers that will be a huge asset to Prosper as we further educate individual and institutional lenders on the benefits of these uncorrelated, consistent returns, as well as the borrowers to the reduced costs this platform offers,” noted Vermut. “As President, Aaron will bring experience and expertise that will be instrumental in helping us realize the full potential of Prosper’s business model.”
Prosper is a leading peer-to-peer lending marketplace that connects people who want to invest money with people who want to borrow money. On Prosper.com, borrowers list loan requests between $2,000 and $25,000, and individual lenders invest as little as $25 in each loan listing they select. Over the past six years, more than $400,000,000 in personal loans have originated through the Prosper platform. The unsecured personal loans are used by Prosper borrowers for a variety of purposes including paying down high interest rate debt and helping with small business funding.
About Sequoia Capital
Sequoia Capital provides venture capital funding to founders of startups who want to turn business ideas into enduring companies. As the “Entrepreneurs Behind the Entrepreneurs,” Sequoia Capital’s Partners have worked with innovators such as Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Bob Swanson of Linear Technology, Sandy Lerner and Len Bozack of Cisco Systems, Dan Warmenhoven of NetApp, Jerry Yang and David Filo of Yahoo!, Jen-Hsun Huang of NVIDIA, Michael Marks of Flextronics, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen of YouTube, Dominic Orr and Keerti Melkote of Aruba Networks, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Omar Hamoui of Admob, Steve Streit of Green Dot and Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn. To learn more about Sequoia Capital visit www.sequoiacap.com.