A few nights ago I had the opportunity to speak on a panel hosted by PayPal and the Milken Institute, where the discussion centered around the future of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.  To my pleasant surprise, even as I spoke on the third and last panel of a three-hour event, the room remained packed with fellow entrepreneurs and investors looking for insight into how to become part of our nascent, but burgeoning industry.

 

While much of the discussion centered around regulation and public policy, what most interested me was how nascent this industry still is.  To hear senior representatives of Prosper and SoFi — among the leaders in their respective asset classes — say that this was “still the beginning” was a reminder that, while P2P may be an everyday part of my life, it is still unknown to the broader investing and borrowing public.

In the heat of competition, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that we as an industry are still trying to create new markets and to prove that a peer investing model — regardless of the asset class — is safe, sustainable, and beneficial for all parties involved. In order for any industry to have winners, the industry itself must exist and thrive, and I’m looking forward to spending my 2014 ensuring that P2P, especially as it pertains to small business lending, is here for years to come.

-Ethan