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MBA Entrepreneur Takes P2P Lender From Start-up To Stock Exchange

HEC Paris MBA graduate Renaud Laplanche is the founder and CEO behind Lending Club, the US's biggest marketplace lender, which recently floated on the NYSE.

Thu Feb 19 2015

Two months ago Renaud Laplanche, founder and chief executive of Lending Club, the US’s biggest peer-to-peer lender, rang loud the New York Stock Exchange’s bell to signal the opening of the market.

It was a momentous occasion. The French entrepreneur and MBA graduate had just completed his company’s initial public offering. Initially priced at $15 a share, the stock soared by 56% on its debut, valuing the company at $8.5 billion and making Renaud a multi-millionaire overnight.

The listing was widely viewed as a coming of age moment for the nascent peer-to-peer lending industry, which in the US has already helped consumers and companies raise $8 billion-plus in capital from investors.

Wearing a red jacket with “captain” written across his back, Renaud was making history. “We believe we can make the system more cost-efficient, more transparent and more customer friendly,” he said in a statement.

Lending Club’s evolution from a start-up worth a few million dollars to a public giant has been steered by Renaud, who founded the once-fledgling enterprise in 2006.

By connecting borrowers directly with investors, he found a way to bypass the banks and offer cheaper rates for both consumer and lender.

Renaud is one of myriad MBA holders who are pioneering the burgeoning P2P lending market.

As well as Lending Club, marketplace lending platforms Indiegogo, SyndicateRoom and CrowdBnk were all co-founded by business school graduates.

Lending Club is by far the biggest. The company has funded loans totalling $6.2 billion through its technology-enabled online platform – three times more than its nearest competitor, Prosper.

“Too many small business owners are still having a tough time getting the credit they need to grow their businesses and create jobs,” said Renaud, who graduated from the MBA program at HEC Paris, a leading French Business School.

He is also a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia Business School, based in New York in the US.

After his MBA, he joined the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, working as a senior associate, according to his official company biography. In 2000 he founded his first software company, TripleHop Technologies. By 2005 it was acquired by Oracle Corporation. A year later he began work on Lending Club.

In its first few years of operation, it was able to raise $100 million in venture capital from investors attracted to the growing amount of innovation in the financial services sector. The December IPO raised about $1 billion for the company.

Renaud said there has been acceleration in user adoption, and he sees evidence that the platform can “underwrite, price and service personal loans more efficiently than the traditional banking system”.

San Francisco-based Lending Club had 50,000 borrowers in 2012 and through 2013, added 3,000 individual accounts per month, Renaud has said. He will be hoping that many more join the club.

Student Reviews

HEC Paris




On Campus

Cultural experience

I have met the most competent and diverse batch in this school. These people not only thrive on their own but also makes sure that you are doing it with them. The professors will take your had and walk you through all milestones and make sure you are not left behind. I have found their extracurriculars extremely engaging. There was always a room to have social life after academic life. The only hindrance is the location of the school, it is slightly outside city and living in city is expensive.




On Campus

Internationality and diversity of opportunities

About my programme I would say it is very international and flexible: we have the opportunity to choose exactly the courses we want. But at the same time, the frame of the campus is crucial in students' life and enable us to create friendships.




On Campus

Great selection of people

While HEC's MBA is highly selective, I really enjoy the type of people HEC's selects to make sure everybody gets the best out of their MBA experience and networking opportunities. Not only it's an incredibly diverse pool of people (~60 nationalities) but most importantly they make sure to let in friendly empathic and curious people.





Best in France for Grande ecole

A prestigious business school. Languages ​​are important. It is better to have a scientific baccalaureate with excellent grades in high school and good assessments. The courses are well designed as per the latest trends and practicality of learning in stressed upon. Overall, a very good experience.




On Campus

Diversity and quality of fellow students

Very international and interesting place to be and opens a lot of opportunities, however the administration is very french and facilities are subpar (gym, classrooms) meaning the academic affairs is pretty much useless and lastly we are graded on a curve which can create a toxic environment because of the competition. With that being said the pros outweighs the cons by far.




On Campus

The quality of the teachers, the campus, the clubs

The school is very international indeed, we have courses with international students and share things with them within the extra academic life (in the social clubs especially). We have great career prospects if we prepare ourselves well - however, the global curriculum is still very finance-oriented, which is a pity for other interesting domains of the company world, which does not rely on finance only. The social clubs are good practice for the management and for now, are quite independent.




On Campus

HEC Paris awaits you

HEC Paris is really a nice place to do a master's in business. Many classes are useful and interesting (corporate finance, financial accounting, contract law…), some are less - but the curriculum is to be reviewed in the year to come. Regarding the student life, it is incredible, with about 130 clubs, lots of great parties with even greater people. The Jouy campus offers a lot of opportunities to do sports, and you can breathe fresh air every day. HEC also helps a great deal to find an internship or a job.





A dream institute

Enrolling in the HEC MBA was by far the best decision I made for myself. The people and faculty are great, with lots of opportunities to meet people and expand your horizons. Very nice campus where I have had some good running sessions. The alumni network is superb and very helpful. It also has a good support system for entrepreneurs. Would definitely recommend it!




On Campus

Good choice for a career boost

The classes were extremely practical and relevant to the current challenges that businesses are facing. You have access to a wide range of professionals and good career prospects once you leave the university.