Virgin Money US

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Virgin Money Holdings USA Inc.
Trading name Virgin Money US
Founded Cambridge, Massachusetts (May 2000 (2000-05))
Founder(s) Asheesh Advani
Defunct November 2010 (2010-11)
Area served USA
Owner(s) Virgin USA (majority stake)

Virgin Money US (formerly CircleLending) was a peer-to-peer loans and loan-servicing company which was for a short time part of Virgin Money.

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

CircleLending was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in May 2000 by Asheesh Advani and launched in 2001.[1][2] The company was then incorporated as CircleLending, Inc. in July 2002.[3] In 2005 the company moved to Waltham, Massachusetts.[3] In 2006, the company received venture capital from Venrock Associates, Bezos Expeditions and Omidyar Network totalling $10 million.[3]

Acquisition by Virgin[edit]

In 2007, the Virgin Group acquired a majority-stake in the company and renamed it Virgin Money Holdings USA Inc., the American division of Virgin Money.[3][4] Virgin Money US focused solely on formalizing and servicing loans between friends and family, a business model which differentiated it from later social lending and crowdfunding businesses which encouraged loans between strangers.

In 2008 the company bought Lendia, and renamed it Virgin Money USA Inc., but sold it back to its founder, Greg O'Connor, the following year.[5] O'Connor's company, formerly Lendia, continues to operate as Clearpoint Funding, Inc.[6]

Closure and legacy[edit]

Founder Advani left the company in 2009.[6] In 2010, during the financial crisis of 2007–2010, Virgin Money began its withdrawal from the US market.[7] Virgin Money US withdrew from the US market entirely in November 2010.[8] Servicing of its social loans was transferred to its servicing partner, Graystone Solutions, who continue to service the social loans under their own brand.

In 2010 a former Virgin Money US employee launched a new venture, National Family Mortgage, to address the intrafamily real estate loan void created by Virgin’s departure.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Virgin Money USA, Inc.". Business Exchange. BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  2. ^ "'Thanks For The Mortgage Dad' Start-up - CircleLending Funded by Intel/Omidyar". Alarm:Clock. August 15, 2006. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  3. ^ a b c d Virgin Money History at the Wayback Machine (archived February 11, 2010)
  4. ^ Hendrickson, Mark (October 16, 2007). "CircleLending Becomes Virgin Money USA; Gets Makeover and Millions in Funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  5. ^ "Virgin Money Closes Shop in the U.S., Victim of Bad Timing". American Banker. December 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  6. ^ a b "U.K.'s Virgin Money Rewriting Its U.S. Plans". Bank Investment Consultant. 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  7. ^ "UK's Virgin Money rewriting its US plans". American Banker. January 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  8. ^ "Virgin Money Closes Shop in the U.S., Victim of Bad Timing". American Banker. December 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Making Mortgage Lending a Family Affair". New York Time. November 5, 2010.