Update on a $150 million fundraising round in progress: Chinese online lender Dianrong.com is raising funds in a round that values the startup at about $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, notes BloombergBusiness. Investors include Standard Chartered Plc, a British multinational banking and financial services company. Most recently, the company made news when its group head of corporate and institutional clients, Sean Wallace, announced his departure, also according to BloombergBusiness in one of the first senior executive leave-takings since Bill Winters became CEO.
Originally, Dianrong was estimated at $800 million, but the value rose after strong interest from potential investors, say people asking not to be identified because the process has not yet ended. The fundraising will end in a few weeks. Soul Htite, Dianrong’s CEO and a co-founder of Lending Club, recently commented on the company’s $1 billion valuation, saying,
I can tell you Internet finance is going to the next level, and we’re going to have even bigger rounds coming up.
Regarding the current fundraising round, Dianrong declined to comment in an email, notes BloombergBusiness, adding that “Spokesmen for Standard Chartered didn’t respond to e-mails or phone calls seeking comment.”
China’s online lending market is a growing at remarkable pace. Case in point: “Peer-to-peer lenders in China gave out at least $32.5 billion in loans last year, almost quadruple the rest of the world combined, according to U.K. investment bank Liberum Capital Ltd.,” cites BloombergBusiness. Liberum also found that lending in China will nearly double this year–$60 billion. For comparison, the U.S. is looking at $11.7 billion.
For more perspective on the booming lending market in China, BloombergBusiness cites a few more stats:
Dianrong has facilitated about 1 billion yuan ($161 million) of loans, mostly to businesses. It raised $12 million during three funding rounds, with investors including Hong Kong developer Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., according to Crunchbase.
In total, 24 peer-to-peer firms have received 3 billion yuan of financing from companies — including SoftBank Corp., Sequoia Capital and Xiaomi Corp. — as of September, according to Zero2IPO Group, an industry tracker.