A student loan without a lifetime's indentured servitude
A weekly recap of news related to the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies upending the status quo in the markets:
An end to student loan gouging
Vikram Pandit took home only $1 as CEO of Citigroup post-financial crisis, but he still has enough wealth to be among a group of investors in a $100 million round for CommonBond, an online provider of student loans.
Traditional banks and loan providers are being challenged by peer-to-peer lenders including Lending Club in the general debt marketplace. CommonBond and another student loan finance site, Social Finance, aim to create the same competitive challenge in the student lending market.
The companies claim they will provide cheaper rates to students taking out loans than private lenders and the government, and individuals will be able to serve as lenders and investors.
The companies' approach is to raise money from alumni of each university, and those individual lenders become investors able to receive 4 to 7 percent annual returns. Commonbond plans to offer loans to 1,500 borrowers this year across 20 business schools; Social Finance has said it will originate as much as $1 billion in student loans across students at 100 schools.
Tribeca Venture Partners and Social + Capital Partnership led the financing. CommonBond CEO David Klein told Businessweek, "Financial institutions, which are supposed to appropriately price risk, are charging outlandishly high rates to credit-worthy borrowers."
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Spotify faces another U.K. challenge
First it was Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke lashing out at Spotify, and now it's an entire British record label.
Ministry of Sound, a dance-music record label based in the U.K., is suing Spotify for user-generated playlists that mimic the order of the label's popular compilation albums. The company argues that the playlists are a form of intellectual property violation protected by copyright law.
"We painstakingly create, compile and market our albums all over the world. We help music fans discover new genres, records and classic catalogues," company CEO Lohan Presencer wrote in an editorial in the Guardian. "After 20 years and more than 50 [million] album sales, the value and creativity in our compilations are self-evident."
Separately, the Swedish press reported that Spotify is seeking additional financing, which could take the form of debt issuance. The company has been valued at as much as $5.2 billion.
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Uber's Hail Mary
The NFL Players Association has contracted with Uber to provide on-demand car service for football players to make sure the pros don't drive under the influence, the sports union announced last week. It's the first comprehensive professional sports deal for Uber. NFL players will get personalized keychain cards with $200 in ride credits, The New York Times reported. Players will also get first-time rider promo cards to give to their friends and family. Uber operates in 17 of the NFL's 31 cities including Pro Bowl host Honolulu.
Uber also announced the hiring of some executives from tech giants this week: a new CFO, Brent Callinicos, most recently treasurer and chief accountant at Google, and Ed Baker, previously head of international growth at Facebook, as head of growth.
HotelTonight gets a cash infusion
Last-minute hotel-booking service HotelTonight has secured $45 million in funding led by hedge fund Coatue Management, the first lead investment for Coatue's new technology focused fund. The deal brings HotelTonight's total raise to more than $80 million.
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Foursquare adds 5 million
While Foursquare entertains offers from potential strategic investors including American Express and Microsoft, it says that its user based has jumped from 35 million to 40 million users.