Part 2 of a 3 part series

As mentioned in part 1 we are enthusiastically following the awards for LendIT and if you’re geeking out on this as much as we are, stop by our kiosk in startup section (#4) and we would love to discuss… we’re also giving out free Amazon Echo Dots.

In this post, you’ll gain insights about each of the Executive of the Year Nominees and who we think will take home the Oscar.

The Nominees

Executive of the Year

We liken these awards to the Oscars and are particularly interested in the Executive of the Year award because it’s a given that the original strategy and idea a company has will endure plenty of obstacles, so having a captain capable of steering the ship down the right path is critical. Although you can make a case that the closest comparison with the Academy Awards is “Best Director”, we see similarities with best actor, as the executives have plenty of screen time and need to be comfortable being in the spotlight, while working well with many moving parts. Some recent Best Actor and Actress Winners have been Daniel Day-Lewis, Meryl Streep, and Francis McDormand.

Our prediction for Executive of the Year award winner is:

David Klein of Common Bond!!!

Why we’re bullish on David:

David was a Co-Founder of CommonBond back in 2011. The company is revolutionizing the student loan industry, including student loan refinancing and parent loan refinancing. Since inception, David has led the charge to make the industry more transparent, navigable, and provide a better user experience.

Within the past 18 months, David has worked tirelessly to bring maturity to his company and industry, by bridging the gap between incumbents and the new FinTech companies. He believes in collaboration, and sees both sides needing each other for success in FinTech.  David has also raised significant capital, including $300M in debt financing and another $50M in equity to set his company up for a large runway to build on.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the other very impressive nominees (in alphabetical order):

Yihan Fang

Ms. Fang has led her China based company to a 102% increase in loan origination as cited during their Q4 earnings call. She has also expansed the companies reach beyond online lending into 3 business lines, while building strong partner development programs.

Anthony Hseih

Loan Depot
Mr. Hseih is a self made billionaire (according to and has been a FinTech pioneer for many years. 2017 was not a let-up, as he launched a new product “Mello” and opened a tech center in Irvine, CA

Max Levchin

Mr. Levchin’s career goes back to the early days of one of the premier FinTech companies, PayPal. He has been busy growing Affirm, with his vision of “Buy Now – Pay Later” The company recently had their 1 millionth installment loan on the platform and joined forces with Shopify. The company is poised for bigger things to come, having raised $200M at a $2 Billion valuation.

David Kimball

Mr. Kimball joined Prosper as CFO and since taking the reigns as CEO, he has pushed the company from a high growth tech startup which was burning cash to a mature lending org. Prosper has also aggressively expanded into institutional loans, helping to diversity their investor base.

Renaud LaPlanch

Mr. LaPlanche is known as one of the fathers of marketplace lending and has brought energy and excitement through his company Upgrade. The P2P startup has introduced market-leading credit monitoring tools and raising the standards of the industry with their blockchain protocol to protect data integrity. They are positioned well, to launch a new major product each year.Full disclosure, Upgrade is an active client of True North

Raul Vazue

Mr. Vazquez has revolutionized the much-maligned payday loan industry with Oportun. The company has recently surpassed 1 million customers and $4 billion in loan facilitation. He has brought trust and transparency to the industry with exciting times ahead.

Stay Tuned for Part 3, Our Prediction for FinTech Innovator of the Year.