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Although Prosper is among the first to try this business in the United States, the idea has a track record abroad. Zopa, which operates in Britain, introduced a similar service in March (also with backing from Benchmark Capital) and has attracted more than 50,000 registered users, said Richard Duvall, Zopa’s chief executive. At any given time, he said, about 15 percent of the users are either lending or borrowing money.

Some interesting coverage on the emergence of new entrants within the financial services space. NYT and Businessweek cover the P2P financial services exchange providers Prosper and Zopa. Akin to the Ebay online exchange model they are setting out to play matchmaker for lenders and borrowers by leveraging online communities. Johnnie Moore goes back and chats with the founders of Zopa about life one year on. Both Prosper and Zopa are financed by Benchmark Capital who continue to impress by innovating within the financial services space. Benchmark Capital’s backing of the Alphera MBO in January 2003 is one of the great success stories yet to be told. More to follow …

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