Online financial services and crowdfunding are officially mainstream.
Google’s recent $125 million investment into LendingClub (valuing the company at an incredible $1.55 billion) proves that taking traditional finance online and allowing investors to go directly into specific assets is here to stay.
I am the founder and CEO of a crowdfunding for real estate company, Realty Mogul, and I am asked a lot by angel investors and VC’s, “hasn’t this business been tried before and failed?”
The short answer is yes, and yes. But, the longer answer is that the timing was off.
It’s not that crowdfunding or crowdfunding for real estate was a bad idea a few years ago when these other companies failed, but the fact that the media, PR outlets and even companies like Google have caught on now.
Where a startup would have had to spend millions of dollars educating investors on pooling capital online or making investments into alternative asset classes like real estate online in the past, every major media publication in the country, from the likes of Forbes to the Wall Street Journal, is covering P2P lending and crowdfunding today.
The crowdfunding industry has its own advocates, lobbying groups, annual conferences and thousands upon thousands of domain names that have been scooped up around “Crowd-this” or “Crowd-that.”
Google’s $125 million investment is simply the cherry on top.
And a cheap cherry for those of us looking to innovate on the heels of LendingClub’s mass success.