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).