Orchard Platform grows databases to meet demand

The online lending data and analytics provider continues to launch new databases as loans sold via the platform leap to a projected $200 million in April.

New York-based Orchard Platform, which started out as an online lending data and analytics provider offering information on whole loans, has established more databases in response to client interest. Earlier this month, the firm started a new investment manager database, designed to host information on firms like business development companies, hedge funds and alternative lenders that are open to buying loans from online lenders.

The database provides information such as fund size, portfolio leverage, originator counterparties and sub-asset class diversification, said a statement from the firm. It also provides the only marketplace lending index so far: The Orchard US Consumer Marketplace Lending Index.

The firm originally launched its Orchard Originator Database in December 2014, meant to offer investment managers a view into marketplace lenders. That platform also added 18 new online lenders to its ranks over the past month and a half, Orchard announced yesterday (27 April). “With a combined projected 2015 origination volume in excess of $7 billion, these new participants in the database are a testament to the industry’s massive growth,” said a statement from the firm.

The databases are free to online lenders and the firms interested in buying loans from them, explained chief executive Matt Burton (pictured). They were launched as both parties have been coming to Orchard asking for more information on each other. Orchard doesn’t originate loans or offer investment advice itself, so Burton told PDI that creating the databases was a good way to connect these firms without conflicts of interest. He has also encountered many private equity and venture capital firms that are interested in investing in online lending platforms. These players don’t yet have access to the database and Burton is considering offering it to them for a fee.

The firm has been scaling up quickly, with about $2 million in orders placed through its platform in February and $200 million projected for April. Because of this, Burton has also been on a hiring spree and is looking for several engineers and programmers to build the infrastructure to support Orchard’s growth, he told PDI

While plenty of hedge funds and BDCs have shown interest in buying loans from online lenders, Burton said the next level will be institutional investors, like insurance companies, pension funds, private wealth firms and large retail asset management firms. He says he’s starting to see some interest in online lending from these parties, and the marketplace lenders themselves are vying for their attention as a source of more permanent capital.