PlentyOfFish, Peer 1 founders lead $10.2m funding round for Grouplend

The CEO and founder of online dating service PlentyOfFish is keeping busy after agreeing to sell his company for US$575 million in July. 
PlentyOfFish CEO Markus Frind

The CEO and founder of online dating service PlentyOfFish is keeping busy after agreeing to sell his company for US$575 million in July.

Markus Frind, along with Peer 1 Hosting founder Lance Tracey, are leading a $10.2-million funding round for fellow Vancouver tech startup Grouplend.

The financial tech company was founded 10 months ago and uses data analytics to calculate different loan rates for customers depending on their history.

Frind told Business in Vancouver last month  he prefers cutting cheques for more mature companies, pointing to the $21-million investment he made in Burnaby-based e-commerce company Cymax earlier this year.

“We’re a bit of a departure from Markus’ traditional strategy,” Grouplend CEO Kevin Sandhu told BIV, adding Frind even invested a much smaller amount this past year during an earlier financing round.

“I think he was pretty overwhelmed by huge opportunity to leverage data to really improve on an industry that hasn’t changed much.”

Sandhu said the company’s technology has been successful at identifying risky customers and accurately predicting the likelihood of getting a loan repaid. That, he said, allows Grouplend to offer qualified applicants more competitive rates than its rivals.

Frind said in a statement Grouplend shows a lot of promise on the Canadian startup scene.

"Its technology-anchored approach has the potential to revolutionize banking in this country."

Sandhu added customer volume has been 2-2.5 times greater than expected over the past 10 months and he plans to use the money raised to invest in a larger staff.

Grouplend currently has nine employees. The CEO expects to expand that to 15-20 employees by the end of the year before doubling that number by the end of 2016.

torton@biv.com

@reporton

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