I’m joining Lending Club
Tomorrow is my first day at Lending Club, where I’ll be leading Strategy & Corporate Development. I couldn’t be happier as I think this is an incredible opportunity and hence wanted to share how I decided to join Lending Club.
Following the end of my climbing trip to Chamonix, and after much deliberation, I decided to leave J.P. Morgan. This was not an easy decision. I “grew up” at JPM, having started as an Associate in our Strategy group and ending my time there by co-founding and heading our new product development, innovation and fintech team in the Corporate and Investment Bank. Along the way, I learned way more than I thought possible, worked on some amazing projects alongside very talented folks, and was lucky enough to be mentored by some of the best in the business. I’m grateful for my time there and the opportunities I had. I remain convinced JPM’s strategy around fintech and innovation — as well as the teams in these areas — are the best amongst its peers. I hope we can get to work together now that I’m out in California.
As I was researching next steps, I received a call from Sameer, an old friend and mentor of mine who is now Lending Club’s COO. After our call, I started researching the company, and the more I learned the more interested I got. What followed after that were a series of deep, humbling and thought-provoking conversations with folks at LC, each of which left me more and more excited about the opportunity. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and here I am.
So… Why Lending Club and why now?
First of all, we have an outstanding team. The management team has the right mix of Lending Club veterans who intimately know the company and its strengths and new additions who bring a level of experience and judgment in financial services that is hard to find in fintech (JPMC, McKinsey, BlackRock, Capital One, etc.). You see a similar mix and an equal level of talent across the organization.
Personally, I really enjoyed meeting everyone through the interview process. The conversations were challenging, illuminating and very open; people were curious and wiling to hear what you have to say while not shying away from probing or offering a different opinion. Most importantly, everyone I met was friendly and collaborative.
While the events in May challenged Lending Club in many ways, I think in hindsight they showed how resilient and tough this Company is. In less than a year, Lending Club managed to stabilize its financial situation, address all the relevant control issues, bring back banks and investors to the platform, recruit three new members to the management team, and launch a new product. Talking to folks at the Company, it was clear this was a team effort where a lot of people went above and beyond the call of duty. I’m humbled and thrilled to be able to work side by side some of these folks.
At a macro level, Lending Club is in a very strong position. It remains the largest online marketplace lender, and it really paved the way for what is now a thriving asset class. LC has shown it can innovate and scale products on the web, and I can only imagine where we can take that next. Even after last year’s events, the brand remains powerful, in no small part because the team has a real commitment to doing right by its borrowers and investors. That leads me to my last point — Lending Club has the largest and deepest borrower and investor community. If you haven’t already, you should watch Lending Club’s CEO’s LendIt keynote to get a sense of where this community can go.
Financially, things are looking up. The Company is forecasting positive EBITDA for the year, and it has over $800mm in cash on the balance sheet, which gives it a ton of flexibility and the ability to be opportunistic under the right circumstances, while continuing to invest in the future.
Sure, we face some challenges and decisions ahead — how and where to grow, how to organize ourselves, and how to engage with the fintech ecosystem, but I think these are what will make the job quite interesting.
Drop me a line if you are interested in learning more, partnering with us, or coming to work alongside our team.