Entrepreneurs Helping Entrepreneurs

22 April 08

futurethink Kiva B2B

The Kiva B4B Project is based on the principle that the simple actions of few can change the world for many.” The new Kiva BusinessCard, the product of a partnership between Kiva and Advanta, is an exciting new program designed to help entrepreneurs Here help other entrepreneurs There. “Here” refers to the developed world – the US and Western Europe. “There” refers to the developing world – places like sub-Saharan Africa and rural Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fynanzing Education

10 February 08

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The world of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending keeps getting better. The latest entrant: Fynanz, a site devoted solely to P2P student loans. When the site officially launches later this year, users will be able to farm out their educational financial needs to friends, family, and most interestingly, to traditional student-lending institutions.

Here’s how it works: students log on, and specify the details of their loan (how much they need, desired interest rate, desired payment term, etc…). Fynanz then rates each potential borrower based on credit history and information gleaned from historical student loan records. Potential borrowers; whether they be friends, family members, or banks; then bid on the loan. The more potential lenders bidding for a given loan, the better the terms for the student. Fynanz will charge borrowers service fees that are comparable to those of traditional lending institutions, and the entire platform is built using the same characteristics as traditional lenders to ensure the preservation of educational loans’ distinct tax status. Read the rest of this entry »


Changing the Face of Money

3 January 08

virgin money 02Virgin Money officially launched in the US recently with its acquisition of Massachusetts-based Circle Lending. In the UK, Virgin Money started operations in 1995 as Virgin Direct, and offers a variety of financial services: credit and debit cards, loans, mortgages, insurance, savings accounts, and pension plans. The company also has operations in Australia and South Africa.

Its US operation, however, is a bit different. Circle Lending, which was started in 2002 by Asheesh Advani, made a name for itself by helping to structure and facilitate loans between an individual and his/her family and friends. The concept is simple – a borrower signs onto Virgin Money US to initiate a loan, specifies the desired terms, and then reaches out to specific people from whom to borrow money. Virgin Money US handles all the “dirty work” such as loan documents, payment process, reminders, and financial statements. Borrowers and lenders get better deals than through traditional banks, and everyone is happy. The operation is similar to Zopa, in that it facilitates P2P (peer-to-peer) lending, though its not clear that Virgin performs credit checks since the aim is to keep loans “all in the family.”

Either way, its great to see that Circle Lending will be able to grow and expand with the help of Richard Branson and the Virgin Empire. Virgin Money US plans to expand operations beyond “circle lending” in the upcoming months, so stay tuned. In the mean time, learn more at Virgin Money US.

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