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韩国网贷平台PeopleFund获1100万美元B轮融资

韩国P2P借贷初创公司PeopleFund在B轮融资中获得了1100万美元,由韩国顶尖通讯公司Kakao旗下金融部门Kakao Pay领投。这笔交易昭示着韩国P2P市场的竞争不断激烈。

PeopleFund成立于2015年,是一个对接借款人和投资者进行贷款交易的市场。创始人兼首席执行官Joey Kim外媒表示,虽然这种P2P模式通常与向消费者提供贷款密切相关,但它们只是公司目标市场的一部分。消费者和个人贷款约占目标市场的四分之一,其中17%为中小企业,其余为抵押贷款和房地产(包括房地产建筑开发商)。

但是,很有可能会有更多消费者去使用PeopleFund,这也可以想成是Kakao Pay引领这项投资的一个主要原因。

该业务由中国互联网巨头阿里巴巴的金融科技部门提供支持,负责处理Kakao的支付业务,同时还涉足贷款等金融产品。Kakao作为韩国的主流聊天平台,坐拥4300万用户(85%的人口),这使得Kakao Pay可以提供支付和金融科技服务。

即使发展势头强劲,Kakao Pay也需要诸多外界帮助,因为韩国的数字贷款系统正在爆炸式增长。

据估计,P2P市场在过去四年中资金流动达40亿美元。而PeopleFund估计,随着年度贷款额增加到30亿美元,这一数字可能会在明年年底达到100亿美元。然而尽管未来看起来很光明,但是与大多数快速增长的行业一样仍有一些丑闻,比如屋顶基金的首席执行官今年因涉嫌欺诈而被捕,并且政府还已介入调查。

迄今为止,PeopleFund和竞争对手Tera fund都获得了3亿美元的贷款,超过了Lendit和8%等其他竞争对手,还超过了投资PayPal和红杉中国(Sequoia China)的Toss。与Kakao Pay一样,Toss计划在其热门支付服务中增加贷款和投资产品,截至今年6月,该服务每月可处理14亿美元的交易。

Tera在1月份的投资回合中完成900多万美元融资,但它的运营时间比PeopleFund还要长。这意味着后者是韩国增长最快的数字贷款平台。Kim表示,2017年的年增长率为823%,而PeopleFund9月份创下了每月3100万美元的新纪录。同月该公司创下另一个历史新高,其9月份机构投资者(而非个人)提供的贷款占69%。 这一点很重要,因为机构是对业务和P2P行业的有力验证,并且有了更多可用资金,它们可以帮助比个人更快地扩大贷款规模。

但Kim和他的团队没有闲着,除了有可能与Kakao Pay合作之外,新一轮的融资将用于产品开发和招聘。Kim表示,公司计划增加其现有的90名员工,重点招聘研发人员,同时进一步发展信用评级模型,以及贷款和抵押贷款的风险定价。

PeopleFund此前在2017年6月完成了570万美元的融资,其投资者包括500家初创企业、Wooshin风险投资公司、D3 Jubilee以及DAYLI Financial Group。

South Korean peer-to-peer lending startup PeopleFund is in the money itself after it raised an $11 million Series B funding round that was led by Kakao Pay, the fintech division of Kakao,  Korea’s top messaging firm. The deal comes as the country’s P2P marketplace continues to grow with a competitive field of players.

A newer arrival on the scene, PeopleFund  was founded in 2015 as a marketplace that connects borrowers and investors to connect to enable lending. While that peer-to-peer model is often closely associated with loans to consumers, they are just one segment of the company’s target market, founder and CEO Joey Kim explained to TechCrunch. Consumer and personal loans represent around one-quarter, with 17 percent for SMEs and the remainder on mortgage and property, which include real estate construction developers.

However, PeopleFund is likely going after more adoption among consumers, and you’d imagine that is a major reason why Kakao Pay led this investment.

The business — which is backed by Chinese internet giant Alibaba’s fintech division — handles Kakao’s payment business while it has also forayed into financial products such as loans. With 43 million users — or 85 percent of the population — Kakao is Korea’s dominant chat platform by some margin, which gives Kakao Pay a running startup into payments and fintech services.

Even with its colossal footprint, Kakao Pay needs all the help it can get because Korea’s digital loan system is exploding.

The P2P market is estimated to have paid out $4 billion over the past four years, with estimates cited by PeopleFund forecasting that figure could jump to $10 billion by the end of next year as annual loan volumes rise to $3 billion. As with most fast-growing industries, there have been scandals — the CEO of Roof Funding was arrested this year on suspicion of fraud — and the government has stepped in to regulate, although the future looks bright.

PeopleFund and rival Tera Funding have both reached $300 million in loans to date, ahead of other rivals including Lendit and 8percent and Toss — which counts PayPal and Sequoia China among its investors. Like Kakao Pay, Toss plans to add loans and investment products into its popular payment service, which is processing $1.4 billion in transactions per month as of June this year.

Tera raised over $9 million in a January investment round, but it has been operating longer than PeopleFund. That means that the latter is Korea’s fastest growing digital loan platform, and Kim shared that 2017 saw 823 percent annual growth while the company reached a record monthly high of around $31 million in September. In another record high, September saw 69 percent of loans provided by institutional investors, as opposed to individuals. That’s important because institutions are a strong validation of the business and the P2P industry and, with more funds available, they can help scale the loan book faster than individuals.

But Kim and his team aren’t sitting around and, beyond the potential to collaborate with Kakao Pay, the new round will be used for product developing and hiring. Kim said the company plans to raise its current headcount of 90 staff with a focus on R&D hires, whilst also further developing its credit rating model and risk pricing for loans and mortgages.

PeopleFund previously raised $5.7 million in June 2017, and it counts 500 Startups, Wooshin Venture Investment Corp., D3 Jubilee and DAYLI Financial Group among its investors.

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