Ideas

 

 

P2P Banking & Crowdfunding:

2011 and 2012 have seen a tremendous rise in popularity in P2P Banking and Crowdfunding. The two P2P pioneers in the space in the U.S., Prosper and Lending Club have both become profitable and are here to stay. Far from becoming a niche industry, these players are growing leaps and bounds, with Prosper's growth approaching 200% year over year and Lending Club's even greater than that. My other website, Monedize.com has statistics for both of these sites. The charts show very different business models, with Lending Club winning the battle for lending dollars and Prosper focusing on expanding their user base. With Prosper's new management and recent VC funding round, it'll be interesting to see if they try mimicking Lending Club's model and regain market share from them.

What Prosper and Lending Club are doing for P2P Lending, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are doing for Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding now is gaining all the energy and focus from the media and public, and while Kickstarter has more users than both Prosper and Lending Club, their finances are obscure and it's unknoown if they're still bleeding cash, breaking even, or becoming profitable. In fact, out of these four companies. I believe Lending Club is the best positioned to take advantage of Crowdfunding, since they have former Wall Street advisors who are familiar with the inner workings with the SEC and will provide much value once those rules are set.

I'm cautiously optimistic 2013 will be the year crowdfunding becomes a reality. The SEC has already delayed multiple times the self-imposed deadline on creating rules for the nascent industry. I think it's likely in Q3 of this year or later for us to see some true progress in this space. One has to wonder if the SEC is giving incumbents enough time to be ready or if their simply dragging their heels...only time will tell.

I think with continuing higher returns than traditional investments, it's only a matter of time before Commercial Banks, Investment Banks, and Credit Unions start joining the party. I would love to be a part of this movement and help grow it further. If you have any great ideas or would like to discuss further, feel free to email me at nick.oswald@gmail.com

Also, look for a possible Lending Club IPO coming out in 2013. Depending on the valuation, may be a good time to get in on this growing company

Electric Car Revolution on the Horizon:

Within the last decade, there has been one company fully dedicated to achieving what has been nearly impossible since Ford made his Model T towards the beginning of the 20th Century: to build an affordable, mass produced electric car. No other company is as well known and on the cutting edge as Tesla. This company, headed by famed entrepreneur Elon Musk, released last june its Model S sedan and needs to sell 20,000 vehicles a year to become profitable.

I think it's almost certain that Tesla will become a profitable company. The big question mark will be whether or not they remain a niche player against the Toyotas, Hondas, Fords, and GMs of the world. Musk however keeps surprising the doubters with cars that exceed expectations in terms of performance (0-60 in 4.4 seconds), range (around 300 miles per charge), and design (Model X Falcon Doors). With a growing system of charging stations around the U.S. and most concerns being addressed, the real question now is how many cars they will sell in 2013 and 2014 and if they can keep quality and momentum in their favor. Winning Motor Trend Car of the year for 2012 was a huge boost for the company and should pave the way for the future.

Leap Motion and Google Glass - Will they change how we interact with the computer?

Two devices poised to change how we interact with computers are set for release in 2013. In Q1, the Leap Motion sensing device, where one can have full control of their computer with their hands, is set to change computing in areas that previously were hard to touch (the connected home, manufacturing environments, etc.). With a $70 price point, over $30M in venture funding, 100 thousand pre-orders, and former executives from Apple, all signs point in their favor

I've been lucky enough to recently have a developer device, so if you're interested in collaborating together, feel free to contact me.

While Leap Motion is revolutionizing the desktop and Laptop experience, Google Glass goes a step further in bringing the computer to your everyday life. It envisions having a HUD display on your glasses that can create a virtual augmented reality where you can check emails or gather useful enhanced information from your surroundings. If you're ever traveling and wondering where you are, this device is definitely for you.

However, with a price tag between several hundred dollars and possibly up to $1k, I don't think this will become a mass market device in 2013. If there's enough demand (at least 10k units sold), then I'm guessing this will become more mainstream in 2015.