Zopa is expanding abroad. As is well documented we will be launching in the US later this year and are working with Italian partners towards a similar goal. Less well known are our plans further afield….
I won’t be revealing exact details here, beyond saying that certain Asian markets are looking very interesting…. but thought I would share something of the incredible breadth of approaches we have had.
Since we launched in March 2005 we have had over 100 different teams in over 40 countries get in touch with with us, looking to launch a version of Zopa locally. These have ranged in distance from France to New Zealand, and included countries as diverse as Brazil, Mexico, Canada, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, South Africa, Ghana, Turkey, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania and Romania.
Obviously, the essence of Zopa is very important to us - we haven’t worked so hard creating something from scratch only to see it pulled apart in many different directions. So we spend considerable time getting to know potential partners to ensure they share our ethos and have the appropriate skills and experience to launch Zopa in their territory and protect our brand. Also, Regulators aren’t necessarily favourable everywhere or markets may be too small to make it worthwhile. Still, there’s hope for any prospective partners out there - our Italian team came from just such an approach.
The upshot is that I would hope to see Zopa in several interesting (and some rather exotic) countries in 2008, which has to help cement our market leading position in the category of “social Lending” that we invented.