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Silicon Valley Start-up News (Volume 1)

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I thought I'd try something out something a little new this week. While walking my dog last week, I thought about how lucky I was to be in Silicon Valley with piles of personal finance companies all around me. It was barely 4 years ago when I went to preview Mint's new personal finance software. You look at them now and everyone wants to be like them. That will happen when Intuit acquires you.

I happen to know a lot of the people building the personal finance tools personally. It's not unusual for me to have lunch with their marketing person or team. With this in mind, I thought I'd reach out to a few companies and ask if they have anything interesting going on for a round-up. My view here is that this could be a win-win-win. It's a win for them because it's free marketing. It's a win for me because these posts are easy to write. If I do my job, it will be a win for you, the readers, because what they've got cooking is going to be interesting to you.

It's that last point that becomes a bit of a sticking point. There are some companies that news that's important to them such as hiring a new CEO, but that's not going to help you with your money. I will include some of that company news, but I hope to at least include one or two nuggets that will impact you. As a final note, though these are all Silicon Valley companies, in the future I expect it to include start-ups from all over the country. Also one of these companies claimed it wasn't a start-up. They may be correct based on some technical definition. My response was that I consider Facebook and Twitter start-ups. Roughly I'd say to shed the "start-up" moniker a company has to have gotten bought, gone public, or been around for 10+ years. (Maybe that's something to debate in the comments).

Here are the companies that made the inaugural round-up:

  • Credit Sesame - Credit Sesame is the only debt management tool that I recommend and it's also a great place to get a free credit score. As for their news, they were most excited about raising over 6M in Series B Funding. What that means to you is that they are likely to be around for awhile. They are also excited about powering Mint's home loan feature. Looking for something that you can use, why not enter their sweepstakes to win $1,000. To learn more about Credit Sesame read my Credit Sesame Review.
  • Lending Club - Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lending company. The news this week is that those living in Texas can now invest in their secondary market. That's hardly exciting to most of you right? Their big news is that they increased their maximum loan to $35,000 which opens up more small business and home improvement loan possbilities for borrowers. They've also issued more than a quarter billion dollars in loans. I have written about Lending Club more than a few times, but here's the closest thing to a recent Lending Club review.
  • Credit Karma - Credit Karma is one of the best places to learn how to improve your credit and get a free credit score. They are excited about teaming up with Lending Club to suggest appropriate personal loans to creditworthy borrowers. While it's not news, I think it's worth mentioning that Credit Karma has a very active blog, that is one of the best out there. Finally, in news that may only be of interesting to me, Credit Karma is hiring. If they are not careful, they might find a Lazy Man resume in their inbox.
  • Prosper - They are a peer-to-peer lending company like Lending Club. A few years back, I would have said that Lending Club was like Prosper as Prosper was first. Unfortuantely Prosper was probably too early to the game and ran into some difficulties in blazing the trail in the industry. I think they are back now. This weekend they had a short-lived 3.25% cash back bonus for lenders when they lent money to specific featured listings. The opportunity was only for a couple of days over the weekend. However, I am assured that there will be similar future promotions. These kind of cash back bonuses can add up if lending to good borrowers. It's something to keep an eye on. In other Prosper news, they have streamlined the borrowing process so that borrowers can get a rate by answering just a few questions.

You may have noticed that I mentioned a few companies that offer free credit scores. You can find a round-up of those and others on my article of how to get a free credit score.

I always love feedback in the comments. However, since I'm trying something new, I'd especially appreciate it if you'd give me your thoughts.

Posted on April 12, 2011.

This post deals with: ... and focuses on:

News, Start-up

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3 Responses to “Silicon Valley Start-up News (Volume 1)”

  1. In a few short months, I’ve become a big fan of Lending Club. Not only do I currently make over 10% interest on my piddly under $1k (but always growing) savings, I do so when big banks would laugh at me for trying to attain that type of interest with such a tiny dollar amount. The fact that I make this interest amount on business that is directly removed from big banks gives me additional satisfaction – especially knowing those same banks brought on the recent economic malaise due to gross incompetence and outright fraud.

    Thanks for highlighting start-ups like Lending Club who may have a bright future as “legacy” banks wither away (I hope).

  2. I’m over Lending Club and Prosper. I invested in A and B loans and I’m currently in the red on both accounts, after a few years of investing there. I’d rather just put my money in the stock market, at least then the risk has a better upside.

    Love the idea of the startup roundup — as a fellow Silicon Valley blogger, it’s always fun to see what finance startups are working on!

  3. Lazy Man says:


    If you have been investing in A and B in Lending Club, it’s makes sense. I had poor returns when I was doing that with LC – http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/revisiting-lending-club/. Prosper has changed things significantly since the 2006-2008 days if you were an investor then.

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