Ousted LendingClub CEO Only Made It A Few Blocks Before Breaking Down, Launching New Online Loan Startup

It's hard to kick the P2P habit.
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(Getty/Brian Ach)

(Getty/Brian Ach)

When you first start online lending, it just seems like an innocent thrill. Line up a few underserved borrowers here with a couple yield-chasing investors there, and take a cut of the proceeds. Seems pretty innocuous.

But next thing you know the P2P has gone to your head. You’re addicted to loan growth. When demand from your original investors dries up you start hitting up institutions you never thought you’d have to rely on – investment banks, outside funds you’re secretly invested in – all to keep that sweet, sweet loan pipeline flowing.

No one knows that old story better than LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche, who was fired earlier this year after it was discovered that he had, among other things, made undisclosed investments in a fund that was at the same time buying up LendingClub loans. That’s just the price one pays for being a disruptor, “chartering new territories and doing some crazy things.”

But in the months since his ouster, Laplanche has apparently fallen back into the habit, founding a new online lending startup, Credify, just blocks away from LendingClub’s San Francisco HQ. And he’s got his enablers with him. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Former LendingClub capital-markets executives Jeff Bogan and Adelina Grozdanova have been working with Mr. Laplanche, the people familiar said. The pair ran LendingClub’s distribution of loans to money managers before leaving the firm. On several company filings, Mr. Bogan is listed as Credify’s secretary.

Sources told the WSJ that Laplanche is plowing his own funds into the endeavor, alongside that of some unnamed outside investors.

It remains to be seen how Credify will differ from LendingClub. But it does have one immediate advantage: it’s not under investigation by the DOJ and SEC. Let's hope Credify can stay clean. 

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