Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Zopa hiring for US launch

For over a year, Zopa has advertised that they are moving beyond the UK and will offer peer to peer lending in the U.S. Their website header contains an email form if you want to be notified of developments. For months there have been no emails. Until today.

In today's email Zopa announced, "We are in high gear on launching Zopa in the US" and are looking to hire great people. Specifically they are looking for a web developer, financial systems developer and an account manager. Here are the job descriptions:
  • Web Developer - We need somebody to own, design, and build the presentation layer of the Zopa website in the U.S. So you'll need to be a sharp--even a C#--developer (and able to appreciate the odd bad joke). You'll need to be a great person in general, of course. But you'll also need to be a master of ASP.net, a core technology for us...
  • Financial Systems Developer - We need a crack developer to work on the financial engine underneath our peer-to-peer lending system. This job is literally at the heart of everything we do, and you'll need to be a great person to wear the role well.
  • Account Manager - Zopa is a financial service, and so we need some crack accounting folks. This position is a general accounting position with emphasis on reconciling our bank statements with our internal system of record.
Those interested in applying can send a resume to Zopa at jobs@zopa.com.

The peer to peer industry is in a significant growth phase right now. Prosper recently received $20 million in venture capital and announced they are expanding to Asia. Lending Club opened in the U.S. and is growing rapidly. Loanio and GlobeFunder are expected to open in the U.S. this fall. I've also found four projects on freelancing websites (ScriptLance, Rent a Coder, iFreelance, and GetAFreelancer) where people are looking for help to develop competitors to Prosper.

While competition seems to be heating up, Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche does not feel threatened by the other companies. In an interview with CenterNetworks yesterday he said, "Prosper is really the only other person-to-person lending marketplace available in the US at this point, but we do not feel competitive with them at all. Both Prosper and Lending Club can be very successful, and the success of both companies will be much more dependent on how fast we can grow the p2p lending space together rather than how well we compete against each other. With 2.4 trillion dollar in personal consumer debt (other than mortgages), it is a big market out there."

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