PPDai’s Ten Year Journey
It all starts with a bold idea.
It is a traditional Chinese custom that the matchmaker who successfully introduces a couple is gifted 18 hamhocks.
“Congratulations! You now owe me 18 hamhocks!” I smiled at the text message I received in mid October from my financial advisor when PPDai — China’s peer-to-peer lending platform — submitted a prospectus to the New York Stock Exchange and filed for its IPO.
Founded in 2007, PPDai is a pioneer in China’s Internet-based innovative financing sector. From the early days, it felt like serendipity between PPDai and me. I graduated from the same university as the PPDai founding team, Zhang Jun and Gu Shaofeng, then went on to work for Microsoft China where they were my colleagues, and served at McKinsey & Co. with PPDai’s angel investor and founding partner. It was nearly impossible for me to miss the opportunity to be part of building the company that PPDai is today.
The core of investment activities in internet financing.
My first meeting with the PPDai team — well, I wouldn’t exactly describe it as a success. The idea of collecting data and writing loans online was new to me.
Eventually, it was the unrestrained ideas I heard at PPDai and their methodology that convinced me of how big the opportunity was to reform the traditional financing sector with innovative technologies. I’m very happy that my curiosity about Internet Financing got the best of me and we led the Series B for PPDai in February 2014, and participated as co-investor in the Series C round one year later.
Risk control empowered by online technologies, small assets, and a management platform are the three keys to internet financing that is genuinely innovative. Using big data, the PPDai team has developed an unbeatable platform to monitor and control online financing risks. Their dedication to meet changing customer needs has resulted in a faster and more convenient platform for borrowers, that is also safer and more stable for investors.
The original conviction of inclusive finance.
As the mainstream of Internet banking is changing from asset mortgages to data driven financing, PPDai’s ten-year dedication to risk control techniques is why we are here at the NYSE today. For Lightspeed China Partners, which has been involved since PPDai’s earliest stage of investment, it’s been an honor for me and Ron Cao to witness every significant step along their journey.
With the development of the Internet and China’s personal credit system, I believe more innovative ideas and technologies will bring deeper reforms to the industry. PPDai, as the pioneer of inclusive finance, will continue to innovate and benefit borrowers, investors, peers, as well as the nation’s real economy.
This is and has always been the large vision of PPDai. In the past ten years since PPDai was established, it’s been an amazing ride. Congrats to the team, and thanks for bringing us along with you.
— Herry Han, Lightspeed China Partners
Lightspeed China Partners, a partner of Lightspeed Venture Partners in China, is a leading venture capital focusing on early-stage investments in Internet plus, mobile Internet, Internet plus, and enterprise technology and services. Currently, the firm has empowered innovative enterprises and domestic services, as well as travel and real estate, finance and logistics, medical and human resources, and cloud computing. The enterprises include: Tujia, Dianping, Rong360, Fangdd, Pinduoduo, Yunmanman, Xingbianli, Qingcloud, Trusted doctors, Ifchange, PPDai (NYSE: PPDF), Lianluo Interactive (SHE:002280), Zhongji Innolight(SHE:300308), and MediaV (acquired by Qihoo 360).