Google Just Made A $125 Million Bet On The Future Of Banking

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Renaud Laplanche Lending Club

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Renaud Laplanche, CEO, Lending Club

Lending Club, the peer-to-peer loan site backed by Kleiner Perkins' Mary Meeker, has picked up an unusual investor: Google.

Google led a new $125 million investment in Lending Club, the company announced, and nabbed a 7 percent stake, reports the New York Times' Michael De La Merced.

With this investment, Lending Club is now valued at $1.55 billion, reports Peter Renton at LendAcademy.com.

Lending Club lets people take out personal loans at lower rates than credit cards. The money comes directly from investors.

Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche told Renton that it has big, secret plans with Google: "We are going to be working together with Google on a number of different ideas focused primarily on the borrower side of the business."

Perhaps that means that Google Wallet will also become a person-to-person credit card alternative?

The money came from Google's new late-stage fund, run by David Lawee, who used to head Google's merger and acquisitions group. This is the fund that invested in Survey Monkey's whopping $794 million round in January.

Apparently Google had to elbow its way into the Lending Club stake, too. The Lending Club founders didn't give up more equity for the deal. Google bought shares off other investors. Lending Club had just raised $17.5 million less than a year ago, including $15 million from Kleiner Perkins, and apparently didn't need more money, Renton reported.

Lending Club is being heavily watched for its potential to alter the banking industry. It has loaned more than $1.65 billion in total, including over $350 million in the last quarter, it says. 

Board members include Meeker, ex-chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley John Mack and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. (Summers is also the former mentor of Sheryl Sandberg, married to the CEO of SurveyMonkey, Dave Goldberg.)



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