Recent news on the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies:
Lending Club's Lehman-like deal
Peer-to-peer lending is on the rise, led by Lending Club, but what's a debt market without financial whizzes to figure out how to securitize it? Enter Eaglewood, an asset manager run by Jonathan Barlow, a 35-year-old former Lehman Brothers trader, profiled this past week in The New York Times. Eaglewood has packaged Lending Club loans and sold them in a securitization—allowing investors to buy bonds backed with a type of financial asset. Since the financial crisis showed the risks of securitizing riskier loans, investors have avoided anything too experimental, but Eaglewood raised $53 million in its deal. "We believe this transaction will be the first of many for Eaglewood," Barlow told the Times. Uh-oh?
Meanwhile, a Lending Club clone in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has its first peer-to-peer lending company, WeLab, which so far has received $6 million in loan applications, according to a TechCrunch report. In mainland China, prominent peer-to-peer lending platforms include CreditEase, SinoLending and PPDai. Despite Hong Kong's status as an international financial center, however, there were no peer-to-peer lending platforms before WeLab launched. Simon Loong, founder and CEO, told TechCrunch the start-up is currently focused on educating potential borrowers about WeLab's services.
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A patent recently granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to consumer genomics company 23andMe is for a system to let prospective parents choose the traits of their offspring. The designer baby-making system era has begun, according to Wired. The company said it's much ado about an idea the company doesn't even plan to pursue. "When we originally introduced the tool and filed the patent there was some thinking the feature could have applications for fertility clinics," said Catherine Afarian, a 23andMe spokeswoman. "But we've never pursued the idea, and have no plans to do so."
In any event, patent number 8543339 states, "Gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations." Among the traits listed in the application as examples of possible choice are: height, weight, hair color, risks of colorectal cancer and congenital heart defects, expected life span, expected lifetime health-care costs and athleticism.