Update: February 5, 2006: CircleOne is now called Prosper.
Rumors are flying that a super-stealth BenchMark backed company called CircleOne (also known as p2pcredit) will be launching as soon as this weekend. The domain name, www.circleone.com, is not yet live.
If the rumors are correct, the company will be similar to Zopa, a London based company that we profiled in August. Zopa syndicates small loans out to many people, taking a fee..
Whois information on the domain (registered at register.com) shows the company is located in San Francisco.
Something about the rumor must be wrong…Benchmark has also invested in Zopa, which has announced that they will be launching in the U.S. at some point.
Update: An ebay employee has joined circleone and has a profile on LinkedIn (I am not going to point to it). This person describes CircleOne in the profile as follows:
CircleOne is a consumer loan platform through which people can borrow money by setting their own interest rates, like an eBay for personal loans.
CircleOneâ€™s founding principle is that people from close communities act more responsibly towards each other. CircleOne leverages this powerful concept of group responsibility and applies it to person-to-person lending â€“ resulting in better interest rates for people that borrow and lend.