The story of Zopa: The fintech firm taking on the big banks

Marketing Week 05 Feb 2019 02:23

Zopa is not a brand that many people have heard of. Its awareness among the British public sits at just 15%, according to YouGov BrandIndex – the big banks it wants to compete with score in the 90s.

And while it has leant £4bn to almost half a million people since it was founded in 2005, that is small fry compared to the financial sector’s major players.

When it launched, the company had the ambition to be the ‘eBay for money’ and so it created the first peer-to-peer lending platform. The idea was that the platform would connect borrowers with investors, offering the borrowers lower interest rates and fees than the banks, and investors a higher return on low-risk investing.

It was also one of the first movers in the so-called sharing economy. Before the rise of Airbnb or Just Eat or Rightmove, it was acting as a marketplace between the customer (the borrower) and the service provider (the investor). Yet as the sharing economy has gone from strength to strength, P2P lending has struggled to have the same impact.

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