Renren Leads $70 Million Investment in Mortgage Lender LendingHome

The Chinese social-networking company Renren Inc. has led a $70 million investment in another financial tech venture, this one a provider of peer-to-peer mortgages, LendingHome.

As Wall Street Journal reported, Renren has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into financial-tech startups, including SocialFinance Inc. for student loans and Fundrise LLC for equity investments in commercial real estate.

LendingHome’s Series C investors also included earlier backers Colony Capital, Cowboy Ventures, First Round Capital, Foundation Capital, Ribbit Capital and SAB Capital. The funding brings LendingHome’s total venture capital raised to $109.3 million.

The company’s co-founders, Chief Executive Matt Humphrey and President James Herbert, said that they were able to raise their Series C following a blockbuster year. Their 85-employee startup originated more than $100 million in mortgages over the past year, they said.

Today, San Francisco-based LendingHome provides short-term bridge loans to homeowners who want to flip a property and for landlords who own and rent out 10 or fewer single-family residences.

Borrowers can submit their application materials online in a self-serve process on LendingHome, or phone if they need help. Once submitted, they can check on the status of their loan with a dashboard on their LendingHome accounts.

The company uses a mix of both traditional and alternative data sources to determine the true value of a property and a borrower’s likelihood to repay a loan, going well beyond a simple appraisal or FICO score.

LendingHome can review transactional data from a borrower’s bank statements via Intuit Connect, for example, to build a borrower’s profile, the co-founders said.

Alternative data sources help LendingHome find creditworthy borrowers who may not look like a good bet at first glance.

The company aggregates deals on their platform, so that institutional investors–like hedge funds, family offices or large financial services firms–have a way to put their money to work in bulk numbers of loans that are already deemed reliable and creditworthy.

These financiers wouldn’t typically provide capital in this asset class.

Soon, LendingHome will expand to allow accredited individual investors, not just institutions, to put their money to work on the platform. These are the types of investors who have the wealth, but may not have the time and expertise to vet deals in real estate.

With a tech-forward approach, LendingHome can originate mortgages and loans faster than financial institutions that still rely on manual reviews teams. Brokers often use LendingHome to help their clients get financing fast.

Renren Global Vice President Matt Murphy said that investors expect LendingHome to continue growing at a rapid clip in the U.S. He declined to disclose a valuation and other terms of the deal.

The LendingHome Series C follows a spate of other deals this month in tech ventures that want to make it easier for real-estate developers and property owners to attain financing quickly and online. AssetAvenue, RealtyShares and PatchofLand all recently raised venture rounds.

Write to Lora Kolodny at Follow her on Twitter at @lorakolodny