Dave McClure‘s 500 Startups fund has just made its fourth investment in Asia. Tokyo-based Exchange Corporation, which runs a peer-to-peer lending service called AQUSH in Japan, has raised an undisclosed sum from the Silicon Valley-based fund.
Much like Zopa in the UK, AQUSH connects people with extra money with those who want to borrow money. The site allows lenders to set their desired investment amount and interest rates from 4% to 15% for 5 classes of borrower credit risk, as denoted by AQUSH itself. Loan applicants are screened by AQUSH based on their credit histories, financial situation and FICO scores.
The service launched in December last year, with Exchange CEO Russell Cummer saying AQUSH has received more than 1.1 billion Yen (US$14.3 million) in loan applications so far (with an approval rate of less than 20%). The average size of AQUSH loans stands at more than 445,000 Yen (US$5,750) per borrower.
AQUSH and their new investor are looking at a huge market: the startup’s goal is to unlock some of the more than $7 trillion of retail cash and bank deposits by offering individual investors access to the $300 billion Japanese consumer loan market.
The Asia-based companies 500 Startups invested in before AQUSH include translation service myGengo (Japan/previous coverage), user-generated video editing/subtitling site ViiKii (South Korea/Singapore), and cloud computing service provider ChinaNetCloud (previous coverage).
AQUSH.JP is a peer-to-peer lending platform in Japan, that connects people with extra money with people who want to borrow money. Returns available to lenders are much greater than other yen denominated fixed income investments, while the interest rates for borrowers are lower than from conventional moneylenders. AQUSH matches lender funds with qualified borrowers using the following market mechanism: – Lenders set their desired investment amount and interest rates from 4% to 15% for 5 classes of borrower credit...
Exchange Corporation (“ExCo”) is a nationally licensed Japanese Non-Bank Lender and Type II Financial Instruments company, based in Tokyo. ExCo operates the AQUSH.JP peer-to-peer lending service for borrowers and lenders in Japan.
500 Startups is an early-stage seed fund and incubator program located in Mountain View, CA. They invest primarily in consumer & SMB internet startups, and related web infrastructure services. Their initial investment size is typically $25K-$250K. Selected areas of interest include financial services & e-commerce, search/social/mobile platforms, personal & business productivity, education & language, family & healthcare and web infrastructure.