Ron Suber has become one of the most recognizable voices in the global Fintech arena. Since officially departing the Fintech he helped to create, the former President of Prosper Marketplace has become an elder statesman for online lending and financial innovation in general. An active investor in dozens of early stage Fintech firms including the Vice Chairman role at Credible, Suber has spent years evangelizing on the need to improve upon existing analog financial services. He believes Fintech can provide access to sophisticated banking services for the underbanked at a far lower cost. Suber frequently expresses shares his vision of the future of finance. This past week, Suber provided a keynote address at the Lend360 conference where he explained the Golden Age of Fintech to the standing room only crowd. He also announced it would be his final appearance as the “Godfather of Fintech”.
Suber joined Prosper Marketplace in 2013 as part of a plan to reinvigorate and recapitalize the small online lender. At the time Suber joined, Prosper was doing about $9 million in in monthly loan originations. Today, Prosper has originated over $10 billion in consumer loans establishing itself as a leading marketplace lending platform. Suber departed Prosper earlier this year and as Peter Renton stated at that time;
“No one has done more to promote this industry over the past five years than Ron Suber. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for being the de facto industry spokesman. We really need someone to take the baton from Ron and continue sharing the gospel of fintech far and wide. I am not sure who that person will be, but Ron has left some pretty big shoes to fill.”
Last week, Crowdfund Insider reached out to Ron Suber to learn more about his intentions going forward. Our conversation is below.
So what exactly is the “Golden Age of Fintech”?
Ron Suber: Innovation cycles take 50 years. PayPal started it in 1998, Lending Club and Prosper accelerated it in 2006 by giving people reasons to borrow and lend online … similar to how AOL and EBay gave people reasons to go on the World Wide Web in the early internet days. And now we are in the Golden Age of Fintech which is the middle 10 years of the 50 year innovation cycle.
No one knows what’s next but it’s helps to understand exactly where you stand today. Such exciting times globally as The Golden Age accelerates.'And now we are in the Golden Age of #Fintech which is the middle 10 years of the 50 year innovation cycle'Click To Tweet
How does this fit with the online lending space? Can early MPL/Online Lenders remain competitive? And what do they need to do to remain competitive?
Ron Suber: Yes, The keys (KPI’s = key performance indicators) continue to be:
A) Loan Performance
B) Equilibrium between capital and borrowers
C) Committed Long term, low cost of capital
D) Unique, diversified and low cost methods of acquiring borrowers
E) Increasing Life Time Value (LTV) with multiple loans and additional products
F) Platform efficiency, customer experience and profitability
G) Scale and Brand.
Big tech is already dominating Fintech in China. Some people expect the same to occur in the USA. Do you agree this will happen?
Ron Suber: Yes, it’s coming sooner than people think. The CEO of a Top 3 bank recently summoned me to explain the industry, opportunity and share how they can / should enter the online lending world in 2018.
Why haven’t the Apple/Google/Amazon/FaceBook/ etc. moved more aggressively into financial services – similar to China?
Ron Suber: They are coming….if you listen carefully, you can hear it.
What about incumbent banks? Marcus, an offshoot of Goldman Sachs, is doing well. Is this another sign of the future for traditional finance?
Ron Suber: Marcus is doing very well and truly validates in many ways the demand from borrowers and opportunities for the online lending industry. Goldman’s recent move in purchasing an online lender in real estate is a new shot across the bow that many should be paying attention to. A symbol of what’s ahead given they now know first hand how hard, expensive and long it takes to build from scratch, establish quality and get to scale.
What is next for you? Was Lend360 really your final appearance as the “Godfather of Fintech”? Or is this the intermission before the next act?
Ron Suber: Lend360 was my last presentation in North America … I am heading back to Australia and Southeast Asia for the remainder of the year … then to Patagonia for a Q1 vacation and then onto Africa to do some teaching about lending and entrepreneurship with Opportunity International (OI). OI provides entrepreneurs around the world with access to loans, savings, insurance and training – tools that empower them to work their way out of poverty…..a hand up, not a handout.
I am thoroughly enjoying “ReWirement” …taking this opportunity to;
- Redesign my life.
- Create a new environment.
- Get quiet for a while.
- Clear the mechanism.
- Reset and renew some pieces.
- Have more Fun.
I am enjoying the transition, embracing the uncertainty and finding a new rhythm (for now). Some people just think I am going through my third mid-life crisis. Time will tell.
[Editors Note: Ron has created his own “Rewirement” web site available here. Below is the presentation on the Golden Age of Fintech]