Orchard, a NY-based startup, is enabling institutional investors to scale their investments in online marketplace lending platforms such as OnDeck or SoFi. As P2P lending platforms disintermediate banking functions, a new breed of startups such as Orchard will act as intermediaries between the new kids on the block and the old guards.
Orchard is just one of many “fintech” firms sprouting in Wall Street’s shadow. But it stands out due to the prominence of its seed investors, including former chief executives of Citigroup (Vikram Pandit) and Morgan Stanley (John Mack). In their former jobs, they struggled to adapt vast, complex institutions to new regulations and fast-changing markets. Orchard, in contrast, is one of the agents of change. It serves as a conduit between large entities that have money to invest and an emerging world of firms that originate loans. There are now at least 450 originators focusing on half a dozen niches including loans to consumers, small businesses, students and property investors. To the extent the originators resemble one another, it is that they tend to make relatively small loans and use innovative methods to evaluate risk.