Wednesday July 25 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Club IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: Square, eBay partner on businesss loans. BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending. Crowdstacker seeking 800K GBP on Seedrs. PPDAI to boost tech investment. Alipay, WeBank competition heats up. Today’s main analysis: The good news and bad news about Lending Club. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans are splurging on personal loans. How irresponsible mortgage lenders […]

Lending Club IPO

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News Summary

United States

eBay & Square Partner on Business Loans (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY)  and Square Capital (NYSE:SQ) have signed an agreement to provide up to $100,000 in credit to sellers – in as little as one day. The partnership is not only a streamlined offering of financing for small businesses that use eBay but also a whack at traditional banks which are mostly unable to match such a speedy lending agreement.

Scott Cutler, Senior Vice President, Americas at eBay, says that eBay is committed to helping their sellers and providing credit in partnership with Square simply makes sense.

For example, if you have $30,000 CC debt and good credit you can get a 3-year payoff at about 6% and a 5 year at about 7%. That is a big improvement over a typical rate of 17.5% on purchases and an amazing 23.5% on cash advances. So you take out the $30,000 loan, pay off your credit cards and save thousands in interest while you are at it. In addition, your CC is now zero and you can start using it again.

Source: Seeking Alpha

They came to market via an IPO late in 2014 and were an immediate hit rising over 50% their first day. They were immediately valued at over $9 billion. Today they are at less than $2 billion, a drop of almost 80%.

And finally here is LC’s chart since the IPO. Talk about ugly.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Americans are splurging on personal loans thanks to fintech startups (Quartz) Rated: AAA

The stock of personal loans outstanding has grown to about $120 billion as of March, according to TransUnion data. That compares with $71.9 billion a decade ago—worth around $90 billion adjusted for inflation—when the subprime mortgage crisis crescendoed. About 17 million Americans have this type of debt which, unlike mortgages and automobile loans, isn’t collateralized by an asset.

Source: Quartz

Upstart financial technology companies like Lending Club, Prosper, and Avant account for about a third of this lending, up from less than 1% in 2010.

Source: Quartz

How Irresponsible Mortgage Lenders Created A Second Housing Bubble (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Rents Are Falling, But Prices Are Surging

I believe the culprit is a new crop of lenders who are outside of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulations on FICO scores and DTI. For example, San Francisco lender Social Finance (SoFi) is offering up to 3 million dollar loans with 10 percent down and “flexible DTI.

Source: Seeking Alpha
Source: Seeking Alpha

Firms like SoFi are the engine driving the madness in the California housing market. Here’s what Michael Tannenbaum, former Vice President of SoFi, had to say about their loans in 2016, “Sixty-five percent of the business we do is first-time home buyers; it’s a big deal we’re opening up to the jumbo first-time market.” A year later, he was gone. Other gems from the San Francisco Chronicle article – SoFi’s average loan at the time was $800,000 and two-thirds were in California. I shudder to think what their average loan size and DTI is now. Also, in addition to not being big fans of debt to income ratios, SoFi isn’t big on using other traditional measures like FICO scores to evaluate borrowers. In 2016, they declared their company a “FICO Free Zone” in a press release. Said a former business development associate, “The volume of applications coming in was crazy.” Other sources reported on the wild sex culture at the firm. As for their underwriting practices? As long as housing prices went up, they were more or less irrelevant. But, if prices go down, SoFi and their backers stand to lose a lot of money.

A Conversation with Figure’s Mike Cagney (Financial Revolutionist) Rated: A

Mike Cagney’s return to fintech’s center stage had been foreshadowed by a handful of reports suggesting that his new company would be focused on the origination of real estate-related assets and that, somehow, blockchain would figure into the mix. But Cagney, who played a foundational role in building SoFi into one of fintech’s biggest success stories before his departure, isn’t the type of entrepreneur who thinks small and nichey. With his new company, Figure, and the blockchain protocol it has built, Provenance, Cagney and his team of 80 professionals are taking aim at the gigantic world of institutional capital markets transactions. Why? Because that’s one place where the vig (i.e., rent-seeking) still sloshes around in copious amounts. But unlike SoFi, which is taking aim at banks, Cagney is now fixing his gaze on the administrators, trustees, custodians and other intermediaries who take a cut out of each securitization and other types of deals. On the eve of the first transaction to be put on Provenance (a HELOC), The FR’s Gregg Schoenberg sat down with Cagney to learn more about his plans and how blockchain is central to his mission.

Could Fintech & Blockchain Lending Further Drive The Housing Market Boom? (Forbes) Rated: A

Those who do not have the scores to secure loans from traditional lenders now have alternatives particularly in the form of P2P lenders. These platforms pool together money from interested investors and loan them out to borrowers.

They also have a much quicker turnaround compared to what customers might experience with banks and other large lenders. While these services started out only to fund smaller personal loans, some like LendingClub have grown and expanded to allow larger-value loans like mortgages to be made on the platform.

Blockchain-based lenders have built upon this crowdfunding concept and enhanced it with blockchain’s capabilities with smart contracts and tokenization. While initial efforts as espoused by the likes of 

Employer-focused PFM company gets $ 40 million (Business Insider) Rated: A

US-based personal finance management (PFM) company Even has raised a $40 million Series B funding round led by Keith Rabois of Khoshla Ventures, and including Valar Ventures, Allen & Company, Harrison Metal, Ron Conway, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Source: Business Insider

Even integrates with attendance, payroll, and banking systems to help consumers improve their financial health. Its features include Instapay, which enables users to request the money they have earned before their actual payday, and it uses AI to give users an “okay to spend” amount, so they don’t get surprised by sudden expenses. Additionally, it offers an automatic savings feature, similar to other PFM companies including Acorns and Cleo.

Fintech Startup LoanSnap Raises $ 8m in Series A Financing (Finsmes) Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based developer of technology that protects people against dumb loans, raised $8m in Series A financing.

The round was led by True Ventures with participation from Baseline Ventures, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Core Innovation Partners, Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures, OVO Fund, Transmedia Ventures, and angel investors.

BlockFi Raises $ 52.5M for Cryptoasset-backed Loans (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

BlockFi, the leading cryptoasset to USD lender, announced today it has raised $52.5M to expand operations. Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC, a digital currency and blockchain technology investment firm founded by Mike Novogratz led the deal. This marks the industry’s first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans. BlockFi’s existing investors, which include ConsenSys Ventures and PJC, also participated in the funding round.

  • BlockFi planning rapid expansion of cryptoasset-to-USD lending platform
  • BlockFi partners with Galaxy Digital Lending LLC on loan purchasing facility and receives equity investment from Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC
  • Marks first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans

Credit Card Payoff App Tally Raises $ 25 Million (Cheddar) Rated: A

Tally, an automated debt-managing app, has raised $25 million in Series B funding with the goal of expanding its reach and finding new ways to alleviate consumers’ financial anxiety, Cheddar has learned.

Southern States Multifamily Portfolio Sells, Exceeding Targeted Returns for ArborCrowd Investors (The Daily Times) Rated: A

ArborCrowd (the “Company”) today announced its Southern States Multifamily Portfolio (SSMP) investment has been realized ahead of schedule, outpacing targeted return estimates. One of the properties in the portfolio is located in Mississippi and sold in late 2017. The two remaining properties, located in Alabama, recently sold. The aggregate portfolio sales price was $25.85 million, generating an internal rate of return (IRR) of over 29% for ArborCrowd investors.

The transaction marks the first of ArborCrowd’s six deals to complete its investment cycle, and its success is a great sign of the long-term viability of the Company’s growing platform. The SSMP investment opportunity was quickly oversubscribed when ArborCrowd presented the deal on its platform in February 2017, raising over $2.1 million in just 5 days. The over 29% IRR generated by the sale of the portfolio far exceeded the targeted 17% to 20% IRR projected by ArborCrowd at the time of the offering.

Lendio Reports Q2 Results: 90% Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth (Lendio) Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced record growth across all areas of its business, including 90 percent year-over-year quarterly revenue growth. To date, Lendio has helped facilitate more than $900 million in financing to over 45,000 small businesses across the U.S. and Canada through its marketplace of more than 75 small business lenders. The growth milestone comes after an 80 percent increase in loans funded through the Lendio platform in the last year.

From July 2017 to June 2018, Lendio facilitated nearly $400 million in loans to more than 22,000 small businesses. The average initial loan size among Lendio’s small business customers grew to nearly $35,000. The top five industries funded through Lendio’s marketplace include construction, retail, restaurants, health care and information media.

GM Maven CEO: Peer-To-Peer Auto Lending Will Be A Large Market (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Julia Steyn, Maven CEO, on their new peer-to-peer lending program for GM car owners, and the progress Maven is making in the shared economy.


Whitepages Pro Unveils Pro Insight, a Global Identity Review Solution Powered by Machine Learning (Global Newswire) Rated: A

Whitepages Pro, a global leader in digital identity verification, today announced Whitepages Pro Insight, a new and improved manual review solution designed to help businesses assess the identity risk of their customers, approve good transactions, and investigate fraud on a global scale. As the only global identity review solution that provides six ways to search, it enables users to balance accuracy and efficiency through direct workflow integrations, machine learning-informed insight, and robust analytics.

Within Pro Insight, users are first presented with Identity Review, a comprehensive interface that verifies and cross-checks both digital and traditional identity attributes (name, email, phone, primary and secondary addresses, and IP) to verify the identity behind a transaction. The solution analyzes and presents the relationships between the five core identity attributes in several intuitive ways:

  • Confidence Score – An overall measure of the risk associated with a transaction that cross-references the five core identity attributes. The Confidence Score is powered by machine learning insights from billions of transactional patterns across the Whitepages Pro Identity Network and the 70+ data signals of the Identity Check API.
  • Positive and negative signals – A concise list of primary factors that influence a given Confidence Score.
  • Results columns – A detailed list of matches, mismatches, and invalid inputs based on the links between a transaction’s identity elements. Users can click on specific attributes to further investigate associated people, historical data, and more.
  • Distance Map – A visual representation of geographical distances between phone, primary address, secondary address, and IP address.

Center For The New Middle Class: Non-Prime Consumers Spending More Responsibly On Vacation (Payment Week) Rated: A

Non-prime consumers are significantly less likely to be taking to the road for vacation this summer, opting for staycations instead, and spending far less on vacations if they take one, a new study released today from Elevate’s 

Source: The Center for the New Middle Class

Key findings from the CNMC survey conducted in June include:

  • The non-prime are 29% less likely to take a vacation
  • The non-prime are 22% more likely to “staycation”
  • If they do take a vacation, the non-prime spend half as much
  • The non-prime are 2x as likely to have turned down a vacation due to financial constraints
  • The non-prime are 61% more likely to borrow money for a vacation
  • Non-prime spend 18% less per child on summer entertainment
  • Those with children were more likely to take vacations and borrow money to cover costs

The research also indicated that across both credit segments, summer community resource utilization (i.e. pools, parks, libraries, etc.) was relatively high, with more than 85% in both segments using these facilities. Summer entertainment expenses per child were also very similar between the prime and non-prime groups.

Read the full report here.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Crowdstacker Now Seeking £800,000 Through Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Crowdstacker, a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is now seeking £800,000through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Founded in 2014, Crowdstacker describes itself as an award-winning FCA regulated online alternative investment platform that provides ISA eligible P2P loans, bonds, and loan notes.

BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending (FinTech Futures) Rated: AAA

BNP Paribas Asset Management will launch BNP Paribas UK SME Debt Fund 1, offering clients access to the UK SME lending market.

The asset management arm of the bank’s new fund will invest in senior loans to SMEs with an annual turnover of less than £50 million through its BNPP AM’s SME Alternative Financing platform.

The platform uses proprietary big data technology, which pairs with the bank’s balance sheet and infrastructure.

Podcast 159: Christoph Rieche of iwoca (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Christoph Rieche is the CEO and Co-Founder of iwoca, a small business lender based in London with operations also in Germany and Poland. The name iwoca stands for instant working capital so they have leveraged technology in order to provide capital to small businesses quickly and efficiently.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why Christoph decided to start iwoca.
  • The segment of the small business market they focus on.
  • What is behind the continued decline in overall small business loan volumes.
  • The loan product offered by iwoca.
  • The typical size of their credit lines.
  • The kinds of businesses applying for credit at iwoca.
  • How their underwriting works and level of automation they use.

Navigating through the P2P property maze (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Landbay investors can expect returns of around 3.54 per cent on its fixed-rate product, or 3.18 per cent with its tracker-rate option, by investing in loans secured by UK property.

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association member launched its IFISA in February last year, meaning that Landbay customers can also benefit from tax-free earnings on their investments.

LandlordInvest’s investors have earned average annual returns of 11.3 per cent to date, secured by residential or commercial property, with the option of an IFISA wrapper

London Proptech Firm Goodlord Forms New Open Banking Partnership With TrueLayer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Goodlord, a UK-based proptech platform, has formed a new open banking partnership with TrueLayer. Founded in 2014, Goodlord reports that its cloud-based platform is trusted by hundreds of agencies across the UK. The company has created a one-stop-shop by providing access to a dynamic suite of specialized services, including insurance, e-signing, referencing, and e-payments.

Starling Bank takes on Monzo with daring debit card design (FinTech Futures) Rated: B

UK digital challenger Starling Bank is upping its design game with the launch of a new teal-coloured vertical debit card as it plays catch up with Monzo.

The new card has all customer details, including name, card number and expiry date, on the back – and it’s rolling them out this week.

The card is inspired by the blue-green tones of the plumage of the starling bird. It is also one of the initial group of 16 original “web colours” formulated in 1987 to display web pages, reflecting Starling’s digital heritage.

China

PPDai to boost technology investment (Shine) Rated: AAA

PPDai, China’s first online peer-to-peer lending platform listed in the US, said today it would increase its registered capital to 1 billion yuan (US$149 million) and expand its artificial intelligence applications to hedge risks and improve investor confidence amid concerns over P2P lending.

The Shanghai-based company, which has about 71 million users ,employs AI, Big Data and blockchain to fight against risk and fraud.

Alipay and WeBank competition heats up as China reins in leverage (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Alipay and WeBank are set up perfectly to take advantage of new priorities from Chinese policymakers to increase the flow of capital to small companies and households, their approach is different as WeBank looks to use bank partnerships to make capital connections.

Alipay uses scale, data and technology capabilities to compete with banks for deposits and funds its borrowing through the ABS market.

Alipay and WeBank plan to list their finance arms soon which will continue to put pressure on the rivalry as well as the broader financial market in China.

Zennon Kapron on what’s next for Chinese fintech (China Economic Review) Rated: A

Analysing these questions is all part of the day job for Zennon Kapron, the head of fintech research and consulting firm Kapronasia. In this interview with China Economic Review, Kapron gives his take on some of the market’s recent developments, and explains why China’s fintech industry is such an exciting space to watch.

CER: How worried should we be about the recent panic surrounding China’s small P2P lending platforms?

ZK: The fact that P2P lending platforms are failing is not surprising. Many of these platforms had inadequate internal operational processes, poor lending practices, and in some cases, were just complete scams. What will be interesting to see is if retail investors will still want to put new money on these platforms. I get the impression at the moment that many investors are just trying to get their money out. Even if the P2P industry manages to right itself, it may find that all the investors are gone.

China’s P2P Online Lending Dominoes Continue to Fall (Ciaxin) Rated: A

Another domino in China’s peer-to-peer lending industry fell.

Beijing-based iqianbang.com was the latest online P2P lending platform to close down. The company announced a “benign exit” last Friday night, citing “deteriorating online lending environment and drying up liquidity.”

Investors in several P2P platforms, including iqianbang.com, gathered Monday at a local Beijing police station to report the loss of money to police.

Chinese P2P Lender’s Controller Disappears After Sponsoring Portugal (Yicai Global) Rated: A

Zheng Yansen, the controller of peer-to-peer lender Guangzhou Leader Internet Financial Information Service has disappeared, the firm announced yesterday.

It also acknowledged that ‘some of its projects are delayed’ and said it will set up a work group as soon as possible to inventory its assets and businesses, request borrowers to repay loans earlier than scheduled, and liquidate collateral as quickly as possible.

European Union

FinLeap Partners With Fabrick to Launch Financial Management Startup for Small Businesses (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

FinLeap, the fintech start-up platform behind Germany’s SolarisBank, announced on Monday it has teamed up with Italian open banking platform Fabrick to launch a new financial management startup specifically for small businesses. According to FinLeap, the startup, called Beesy, will simplify accounting, tax and banking services for micro-enterprises and freelancers.

As soon as Beesy is launched, FinLeap added it will provide more details about the services and how they work.

Rabobank’s novel approach to protecting customer data (American Banker) Rated: A

Take Dutch-based Rabobank, for example, which now converts customer data to the Latin names of flowers and animals in order to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation that sensitive client information be disguised.

At the heart of all these regulations is the mandate that companies must make sure no one can access customer data who shouldn’t, and that every effort is made to protect that data from breaches. Storing customer data in the clear — not encrypted, anonymized, or pseudonymized — is not acceptable, to regulators or anyone else.

Source: American Banker
International

MoneyGram And Visa Team To Deliver Real-Time Global P2P (PYMNTS) Rated: A

MoneyGram and Visa announced today (July 24) that they have partnered to deliver real-time digital disbursements to MoneyGram customers using Visa’s push payments platform, Visa Direct.

Launching in October in two key markets, Mexico and the Philippines, MoneyGram will expand its options in which receivers from those markets may receive and use funds instantly  via their bank-issued Visa-branded debit card or Visa-branded prepaid card  and senders may choose the option by which to send those funds. The partnership leverages the trust that consumers globally have in the MoneyGram and Visa brands, as well as the ability for receivers to access funds 24/7/365 without having to visit an agent location to pick up cash.

Australia

Property Connect enters technology agreement with Clearmatch to market new lending products (Small Caps) Rated: A

Realty services group Property Connect Holdings (ASX: PCH) has entered into a minimum five-year licence agreement to use a technology platform powered by marketplace treasury company Clearmatch, in the development and marketing of its own lending products designed to ease property market transactions.

The binding heads of agreement allows Property Connect to use the SocietyOne platform owned by Clearmatch to develop products focused on the emerging project development finance and residential mortgage sectors within the private peer-to-peer lending market.

India

P2P lending platform Monexo partners with Cube Wealth for new-clientele (Business Standard) Rated: B

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lender, has partnered with to provide clients with an alternative avenue for investments. The app-based firm’s user-base of 350,000 customers will have an option of placing a portion of their investments onto Monexo’s platform.

The market space is only three years old and until last October operated without any regulatory oversight. While there are 3,000 lenders in China with a total lending book of $500 million, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is said to have approved licenses to around eight firms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The Personal Data App Consumers Can Earn Money With

Opiria personal data mobile app

Consumers have a reason to be concerned as news of personal data mining, bundling, and selling seems to be accelerating. As a result, the data brokerage industry has grown. Opiria’s white paper indicates the industry has a market value of $250B USD. That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars made off other people’s rightfully-owned data, […]

Opiria personal data mobile app

Consumers have a reason to be concerned as news of personal data mining, bundling, and selling seems to be accelerating. As a result, the data brokerage industry has grown. Opiria’s white paper indicates the industry has a market value of $250B USD. That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars made off other people’s rightfully-owned data, but precious little of it went to the people whose data is in question.

Opiria have an idea that attempts to make both sides of the consumer experience more successful and rewarding. How often have consumers chosen not to do something online because they were concerned about the security of their data? If Opiria’s platform is successful, those concerns could be a thing of the past.

The Opiria Solution

Opiria is an online consumer and usability research platform enabling companies to optimize products and services by understanding what consumers think, experience, see, and feel. Through mobile surveys and mobile diaries distributed directly to consumers’ smartphones, companies can get a better understanding of their target audiences without violating their personal data rights.

Christian Lange, the company’s CEO and founder, sheds light on the Opiria vision. He says the Opiria system is a decentralized marketplace built on the Ethereum blockchain for the secure trading of personal data. Consumers sell their data to companies for compensation, which is measured with the PData (for personal data) token.

Lange started his first company in 2005. Focused on measuring human behavior, that company developed software that was used by automotive companies worldwide offering detailed analysis to measure driver behavior with modifications to the automobile’s navigation system. The solution was limited, however, as companies only received data from one driver at a time.The need for big data was evident. This led Lange to the development of a new idea– something easy to use and makes it easy to collect data with technology available worldwide.

To fill that need, Opiria came up with a smartphone app for companies to get feedback from consumers worldwide, 24/7. They began designing the app in September 2015 and had the first version ready to launch by the close of 2016.

How Opiria Works

Opiria is a market research platform for which companies pay an annual licensing fee. The software allows them to interact with consumers through the Opiria app. The system centers on consumer feedback and opinions, part of it is based on surveys.

Still, those who don’t have the time for surveys, or who are not inclined to take them, still have data to sell. “We generate data through our web browsing and our online shopping,” Lange said. “We give information on our wearables, our smart devices, and pretty much anything that has anything to do with being human in the Internet world.”

Through the Opiria app, the company can sell that data knowing that consumer personal data is completely protected. Consumers share what they want to share and with whom they want to share it. Those who care to receive surveys will only receive those which fit their profiles. Being that the app is built on a blockchain, the data will be securely stored to release to further inquirers going forward.

One featured tool of the app is the Mobile Data Survey, which allows feedback over a longer period of time than the moment of usage. When consumers use a product or service, they can provide feedback in the moment. Then they can document it through videos, photos, and comments. This allows companies to get real-time data within seconds where most market research tools are email- and browser-based, and can take as long as a week to provide a company with the data.

For consumers, not only is the app free, but they can also turn their involvement into profit. The PData tokens can be saved and traded for cash.

Opiria’s Progress to Date

A profitable privately held company, Lange says the company needed no external funding to get off the ground. An ICO was launched on January 8 to raise capital. They set the hard cap at $19M USD.

The market has yet to be fully realized, but Opiria has almost 50 companies and 4,000 to 5,000 consumers signed up. Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Intel, and Proctor and Gamble are among the major players paying for the service. Lange tells us that other customers come from every realm of the bitcoin industry including restaurants, hotels, fitness studios, and retail companies.

Opiria is also planning to use 60% of the funds generated from the ICO to grow the number of consumers to 1 million by the end of the year. “If we have a million customers, companies will flock to us,” Lange said.

One attractive aspect that might help them toward the goal of 1 million consumer participants is that personal information is not shared, only consumer data.

Opiria’s Competition and Future Outlook

While Lange says the company has a lot of competition, Survey Monkey possibly being its biggest competitor, he isnt concerned about it. “What gives us the advantage is that we do it all by app; it’s a faster way to do research and a direct line to the consumer,” he said. “A company can send out a survey and it can be delivered to consumers within seconds.”

The next thing they plan to release is software to capture, in an unobtrusive manner, where someone is looking and the emotions they have when they browse the Internet. Marlene Gagesch, the company’s co-founder and chief technical officer, is overseeing this work in Engostott, Germany.

Opiria is also working with Quicken Loans, a collaboration that hopes to equip Quicken with a mobile app that will do a longitudinal study of how people are tracking interest rates, among other things.

Lange goes on to list some other ways Opiria can be beneficial to online lenders. Understanding what kind of lending products people are interested in, for instance. “We can survey potential customers to understand how much interest they are willing to pay, the duration of loans, how you would like your contract laid out, and more,” he said. “You could perform A/B tests to see how people react emotionally to different offers made.”

Lange lays out the process in order to show how Opiria can “perfectly adapt [an] offering to meet potential customer expectations; deploy, get feedback, improve product, repeat.” This process takes weeks or months with classical market research, but with Opiria, it’s done a matter of minutes. “That gives companies a huge competitive advantage,” he said.

Why Opiria, and Can It Do Any Good?

If personal data is already out there for companies to buy—and it’s evident that they are buying it—then who’s to say this is going to work? Lange had an answer for that as well. It seems we’re getting better at guarding our information, and we’ve even gotten to a point where companies find themselves looking for data that just doesn’t exist. That has created this new market for personal data.

Opiria is one of those ideas off the beaten path enough to catch hold. A problem exists–consumer data needs protection–and consumers have to hope that something comes along that pays them for giving up some personal data security. If anyone knows that, it’s Opiria.

Author:

Written with Paul Keenan.

Allen Taylor