Mohamed El-Erian is getting into the peer-to-peer lending business.
The former PIMCO CEO is the lead investor in the first $12 million equity raising for a new, Orange County-based peer-to-peer lending company called Payoff, according to the Financial Times. Payoff says it will make online loans more efficiently than traditional banks using a combination of behavioral science and big data.
Unlike other P2P companies like Lending Club and Prosper, which began by connecting retail lenders and borrowers, Payoff is restricting itself to accredited investors (as that's where its competitors have mostly ended up, anyway).
According to another article in the FT, Payoff has a sense of humor about its plan to disrupt the industry: its headquarters is full of art making fun of the traditional financial system: "A picture of the New York Stock Exchange has been scribbled over with blue pencil to resemble a casino and titled 'Gamblers Anonymous'. A snapshot of buttoned-up bankers in Kansas City is called 'Not Well-Suited'. And a photo of a bank cashier behind an old-fashioned teller cage is labeled 'Gated Community'."
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