A few Internet decades ago in 2006, our friend John Philip Green introduced us to Michael Garrity, who was looking to leave Canada Post to pursue a belief that social lending was going to be a huge catalyst for change in the finance industry. Canada has strict regulatory requirements of financial interests and there was no competition; companies like Prosper don't have a presence here, even though they do well in the US. However, it was clear from the start that Michael had no interest in simply cloning an existing success, and we were hooked.
Ryan McMinn and I started to brainstorm at length with Michael and Colin Henderson (who we think of as being “like Sean Connery with humility and credibility”) and eventually brainstorming became prototyping. The ideas came easily, and the hardest part was not blogging or telling our friends about the amazing things in the works. Mr. Jeffrey Allan Hardy took the lead on the project right out of the gate, and coordinated contributions from various Unspacers over several iterations of the platform, which is called CommunityLend.
Hampton Catlin and Mike Ferrier ran with the torch after Jeff joined 37Signals in January. Today’s team includes Anthony Watts and Shawn Allison on the design side, Steph Malek doing extensive user testing, and guest-starring developer Daniel Haran from Montreal. CommunityLend’s team has grown as well; Duarte da Silva has been a joy to work with, and a huge piece of the puzzle.
Recently, Michael announced some high level partnerships including Unspace, which means we can finally blog about it. While it’s been less of a secret over the past while, it’s annoying to be tight-lipped about a project we’re all quite proud of. We make it a policy to not work with clients we wouldn’t be friends with, but CommunityLend has really been an exceptional effort to be a part of.
Congratulations to everyone involved so far, and thanks to CommunityLend for being the kind of development partners every team wishes they could have.