Russian Startup Blackmoon Offers ‘Marketplace Lending as a Service’ in U.S.

canstockphoto38112235Marketplace lending in the U.S. has endured difficult times recently, with both Lending Club and Avant announcing drastic cuts in the same week.

A startup has arrived from Russia arrived in the U.S. yesterday with a new take on how to approach the marketplace lending puzzle.

Moscow-based Blackmoon offers a MPLaaS (marketplace lending as a service,) a B2B platform that allows lenders to originate and sell loans to third party investors, as well as keep some of the loans on their own balance sheets. CEO Oleg Seydak calls this a “composite” approach.

“The pure marketplace approach, like with Lending Club and Prosper, has some problems, as those lenders are constantly trying to increase volume, but also find enough investors to meet the volume,” Seydak told Bank Innovation. “No skin in the game. So, we are a tech platform for lending companies that allows them to implement [a] marketplace approach on top of lending infrastructure. And I think all marketplace models should be replaced with a composite approach.”

This is a familiar suggestion for companies such as Lending Club. Matt Harris of Bain Capital noted in May that keeping some loans on its balance sheet could serve Lending Club well.

Blackmoon, launched in June 2015, now operates in seven European countries. Yesterday, the company established its first U.S. office in New York, currently with three employees, mainly from the business development team, Seydak said.

Hopefully, we will start full-scale operations in New York by the end of August. We are a week or two away from closing our second funding cycle of $3 to $4 million, led by a German investment firm. We are already in talks with a major U.S. alternative lender to integrate the Blackmoon platform. Globally, we are looking to increase the number of integrated originators to up to 30 by the end of the year, and as U.S. volume grows, this year we’ll reach $20 to $30 million in monthly turnover of operations.

Blackmoon currently works with nine lenders across its European presence. Last month, the company achieved $3.5 million in monthly turnover, and will close at $5 million in July. “We are growing exponentially, and there is no reason we won’t reach $50 to $60 million within 12 months,” Seydak said. 

For the remainder of 2016, the U.S. is Blackmoon’s main target.

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