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P2P Lender Zopa Raises $15 Million In Funding For California Launch

Zopa has announced a $15 million Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners and including existing investors Benchmark Capital and Wellington Partners. The additional funding will support Zopa's intended California launch.

Zopa connects people who want to lend with people who want to borrow, and since there is no bank in the middle of the transaction, consumers typically get a better financial deal. Since its UK launch in March 2005, Zopa has gained more than 55,000 members and continues to grow rapidly.

"Zopa has already made a difference in thousands of consumers' lives in the UK by giving them a smarter, fairer and more transparent way to lend and borrow money. As well as getting a better financial deal, Zopa's lenders and borrowers are enjoying the experience of dealing directly with other people, in a controlled and risk-managed environment," said Richard Duvall, Zopa CEO. "As we enter our next phase of growth, we feel Bessemer will be an important strategic investor in addition to our existing investors."

Following this round of funding, Bessemer Venture Partners' Rob Stavis, who led the financing of Skype, will join the Zopa board of directors in strategic counsel as Zopa prepares to enter the California market.

"Like Skype, Zopa has enormous potential globally to give consumers a better deal by cutting out the incumbents -- in this case the banks," said Stavis. "We're delighted to be part of the Zopa team and are very excited about bringing such an innovative financial services solution to California."

Existing investor Benchmark Capital, who funded eBay, also participated in the Series B funding, because it believes Zopa will have continued success as it expands into the U.S. market.

"In its first year of operation in the UK, Zopa has already proven that it can give lenders and borrowers a better financial deal by cutting out the banks, typically by about 30 percent," said Johan Brenner, Benchmark Capital. "It's also being seen by consumers as a much more interesting way to lend and borrow. With growth accelerating strongly in the UK, we're looking forward to taking Zopa into a new market."

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