Daily News Digest Featured News

June 28th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • Note: this section has been modified and contains our text commentary without links. Links to the articles can be found in our new News Summary section below .
  • The supreme court refused to hear the case Madden vs Midland, as expected. In consequence, platforms lending to borrowers in the 2nd circuit (New York, Vermont and Connecticut) have to cap rates to the state’s max allowed rates if they wish to sell the notes. Lending Club already implemented this change in February 2016. This will probably reduce credit availability to borrowers in those states as platforms will just reject loans that would have too high an interest.
  • Prosper tests loan-interest modifications once a note is 60 days past-due. Humans being humans, I wonder how many borrowers with interest above 20% will go into default on purpose to get their interest reduced. Will this increase default or reduce default ? I would like to point our readers to the Cobra Effect. On the capital side, Prosper , who has been refocusing on retail investors since mid-2015, hopes to sell 1/3 of all loans to retail investors by end 2016.
  • Details, thanks to Peer IQ, on SoFi’s AAA 1st unsecured personal loan securitization, and comparison with Prosper’s CHAI. The next SoFi securitization will be mortgages.
  • A lot of Lending Club news this morning. We have the shareholder agenda ( Scott Sanborn named permanent CEO.). We have charts from Morgan Stanley showing the retail note sales volume with great investor survey. And the long waited Lending Club layoff (179 people) has happened.
  • And an interesting survey showing that in New York bank’s small business loan approval is stable at 23.4% approx while non-bank lenders approve 62.9%.

United Kingdom

  • The general opinion is that Brexit will keep interest rates low, which will help online lenders. However, uncertainty and volatility will cause institutional investors to pull back capital. Will UK marketplace lenders suffer the Lending Club effect ? P2P GI’s and VPC’s discount is back closer to -20%, perhaps a buying opportunity.
  • And, perhaps a lesson other lenders could use, LendInvest gets rated for underwriting and loan services as “exceptional” by ARC Ratings.

Czech Republic

  • Ferratum enters the unsecured personal p2p lending space.

Hong Kong

  • The launching of a new p2p lender. Offers 7 to 10% 12-months guaranteed to investors. Interesting insight on the regulatory aspect of lending in Hong Kong as well.


  • Lendingkart raises $32 million in round B. Round A was $10 million and seed was Rs 3.8 crore. Very impressive raise.

Middle-East and Africa

  • Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance launches the 1st industry survey. We look forward to writing about the results in a few months.


News Summary


United States

Lenders Rejected by Supreme Court on State Interest Caps, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Rejecting calls from across the financial-services industry, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a ruling that gives borrowers more power to enforce state limits on interest rates. The justices turned away a company’s effort to avoid a class-action lawsuit over efforts to collect credit-card debt from New York consumers.

The appeals court decision is a blow to LendingClub Corp., Prosper Marketplace Inc. and other companies that arrange consumer loans online. It may prevent those marketplace lenders from bypassing usury laws by originating loans in states without rate caps.

The ruling was largely expected and doesn’t indicate the end of debate around the issues raised in the case, according to Issac Boltansky, an analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading. The industry is likely to continue fighting in the courts to clarify how some loans are treated after they are sold, he said.

The ruling gave new life to a lawsuit by Saliha Madden, a New York woman who says she shouldn’t have to pay the 27 percent interest Midland says she owes on credit-card debt. New York caps rates at 25 percent.

Midland argued that the U.S. National Bank Act blocked New York’s usury law because the debt collector bought the lead plaintiff’s loan from a Bank of America Corp. unit that is regulated under the federal law. The appeals court said the federal statute didn’t apply because Midland isn’t a national bank itself and wasn’t acting on behalf of one.

President Barack Obama’s administration took a middle position, urging the Supreme Court not to hear the Midland appeal even while saying the 2nd Circuit decision was wrong.

Legal Experts Respond to SCOTUS Decision Not to Review Second Circuit Madden vs. Midland Decision, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Brian Korn and Richard Gottlieb from Manatt speculated on their blog that the Supreme Court inaction was “much ado about nothing.”

“In some respects this is a positive for marketplace lending platforms that might have faced the prospect of an eight-member Supreme Court accepting the case and siding with Madden. This would have effectively “nationalized” the case. By denying certiorari, the Court has localized the damage caused. Platforms will begin to mitigate the effects ofMadden, but in the short term, credit availability in the affected areas to the affected borrowers will be relatively scarce. In fact, a recent study by professors at Columbia, Fordham and Stanford Universities has shown that theMadden case has had a chilling effect on credit availability.“

Prosper Tests Loan Modification, (Peer IQ Press Clipping), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco company is in the early stages of preparing the effort, which would offer interest reductions of up to half for borrowers who have fallen 30-60 days behind on personal loans with rates of 20% or more. The idea is that more affordable payments would enable those individuals to catch up on their debts, and thus prevent defaults.

“What they are trying to do is reach out to borrowers and get those loans performing again, because once they go to 60 days late, they never go back to performing.”

There’s no word on whether the affected accounts would include those already in securitization pools.

SoFi’s 1st unsecured consumer loan securitization rated AAA, (Peer IQ email), Rated: AAA

The underlying loans of SCLP 20016-1 are from prime borrowers with lower coupon rates and higher incomes relative to its peers, such as recent CHAI transactions backed by Prosper loans. Kroll’s base case loss expectation is about 7.50% to 9.50%, which is also lower than the recent transactions off the CHAI shelf.

sofi AAA securitization
Source : PeerIQ, Kroll Bond Rating Agency

Peer Comparison – Initial Pricing
The B-tranche (BBB-rated) of the most recent CHAI-Prosper deal 2016-PM1 was priced 700bps over Treasury with 27% credit subordination. By comparison, the A-tranche of this SoFi deal was priced at 237.5bps over swap rate with 25% credit subordination.

These two tranches have similar subordination and weighted average life, but are priced significantly different for a number of reasons. The SoFi transaction printed during favorable market conditions and was well-timed ahead of Brexit volatility. Additionally, a number of collateral considerations are at play. The SCLP 2016-1 collateral pool has 1) the lowest base case loss range 2) the larger pool size (500mm), 3) the highest average FICO scores (~736), 4) higher average incomes, and 5) the highest home ownership level (~80%). SoFi also removed loans that had missed any of first three payments before including in the collateral pool of SCLP 2016-1.

Marketing Process
The WSJ reported that SCLP 2016-1 was three times over-subscribed with 28 investors indicating interests. 24 current student loan ABS investors participated in the consumer deal. SoFi is not solely reliant on dealers for marketing support. It functions as a co-manager and maintains direct relationships with its investor group.
Cumulative Loss Estimates
SoFi started originating consumer loans in 2015 and has only 13 months of performance data, which makes estimating cumulative losses challenging for investors and ratings agencies. Under Kroll’s base loss rate, the SoFi A tranche (A-rated, Kroll) has a breakeven cumulative net loss multiple of 4.06x vs the B-tranche (BBB-rated, Kroll) from CHAI 2016-PM1 a 2.8x, both with mid-twenty credit subordinations.
Risk Retention
Unlike other marketplace lenders, SoFi uses its balance sheet to initially fund loans and has multiple channels of distribution. The WSJ reported SoFi retained 5% of aggregate credit risk of the transaction under Dodd-Frank risk retention rule.  Risk retention allows SoFi to demonstrate “skin in the game” and satisfy risk retention obligations while also maximizing capital velocity and shareholder value creation.

SoFi Plans Mortgage Deal to Follow Large Consumer Offering, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Nino Fanlo, the company’s chief financial officer, said that SoFi next would look to sell securities backed by mortgages it made this coming fall.

Unlike other online lenders that match borrowers with investors that ultimately fund the loans, SoFi kept 5% of the deal that priced Tuesday on its own balance sheet, more than it has historically held onto.

Mr. Fanlo and other members of SoFi’s capital markets team have spent considerable time meeting with existing and potential investors in the U.S. and abroad to foster more interest in its loans. Of the 28 investors in its latest deal, 24 had previously met with SoFi executives, and several had also purchased SoFi’s student loans.

Weekly Volumes Stumble, but Still in the Same Range, (Morgan Stanley Research), Rated: AAA

LC retail sold volumes

Latest weekly retail volumes dip back down: LC’s June 21 weekly SEC filing showed the weakest week of volumes since CEO resignation at $16.8mn, down from $23.2mn in loans sold over the prior week.While incrementally
negative, we think these volumes are within the realm of normal, historic volatility.We would expect this volatility to continue,especially in the nearterm as investors adjust to recent events. Note that QTD volumes have already
exceeded our 2Q16 estimate for retail funding, but volumes would need to average $25.3mn per week to reach our 3Q16 estimate.

As highlighted in [Morgan Stanley’s] recent AlphaWise survey, only 55% of investors primed with information about the investigation plan to continue investing immediately, while another 23% of surveyed respondents expect to stop investing on a temporary basis but ultimately return if all appears normal.This appears consistent with the 42% sequential decrease in trailing 6 week volume vs. pre-investigation 6 week volumes, and if the survey data is representative this suggests a potential recovery of ~20%+ of investors in coming months is reasonable. Note this data is a bit more negative than the”unprimed” responses from our survey, which suggests 82% of respondents would maintain or increase their spend over the next 12 months.

Morgan Stanley report on LC 2

Troubled P2P lender LendingClub names Scott Sanborn CEO, cuts 179 jobs amid lower loan volume, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

Ahead of an annual meeting being held later today, the companyannounced Scott Sanborn as its permanent CEO and Hans Morris as independent chairman of the board as it seeks to repair its image and business. But it also said that it would cut 179 jobs “in light of lower loan volumes in the second quarter and recognizing that fully restoring investor confidence may take time.”

The company also gave an update today about its Q2 business, and it’s not pretty. It expects loan originations in Q2 to be one-third lower compared to Q1 amid the fall in business after the scandal first came to light, or “since pausing in early May” in the company’s more euphemistic terms.

Among other charges, LendingClub said it also expects to report “investor incentives of roughly $9 million”; along with $15 million – $20 million of additional expenses “related to employee retention, employee severance, advisory relationships, board review, remediation and due diligence activities.”

Biggest of all will be a goodwill write-down of between $20 million and $40 million related to “slower growth expectations for Springstone,” the credit marketplace it acquired in 2014 for $140 million. All in all, these charges will total between $44 million and $69 million.

As part of today’s news, LendingClub also said that it had concluded its own internal review of some of the problems. It has adjusted the valuation of six private funds managed by LC Advisors (the fund that did not disclose Laplanche’s involvement originally), and it has “made several changes to improve governance of the funds, including establishing a majority independent Governing Board.” It also was investigating loans made in December 2009 to Laplance and three members of his family.

Lending Club’s annual shareholder meeting, (Lending Club Press Release), Rated: AAA

Annual Stockholder Meeting Topics

In addition to the formal business related to its Annual Stockholder Meeting (“Annual Meeting”), Lending Club will be addressing the following topics during its Annual Meeting call and webcast which occurs today at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time (Tuesday, June 28, 2016, – see webcast and conference call information below):

  • CEO and Independent Chairman Appointments – Lending Club announced that the company’s Board of Directors has appointed Scott Sanborn as CEO and President and that Hans Morris has assumed the role of independent Chairman of the Board.
  • Substantial Conclusion of Internal Review, Two Items Identified – The first item related to adjustments to the valuation of assets held by six private funds managed by LC Advisors (“LCA”) that were not consistent with generally accepted accounting principles and impacted net asset values and monthly return figures for the LCA funds. In response, Lending Club and LCA engaged an independent valuation firm, with specific expertise in the valuation of marketplace assets, to provide valuation services to the LCA funds, and Lending Club and LCA have made several changes to improve governance of the funds, including establishing a majority independent Governing Board. The second item related to loans made in December 2009 to the company’s former CEO, and three of his family members.
  • Q2 Origination Volume, Incentives and Certain Expenses – Investors continue to return to the Lending Club platform to invest in loans since pausing in early May. Based on quarter to date originations, the company expects loan originations in the second quarter of 2016 to be roughly one third lower than in the first quarter of 2016. In addition, the company expects to report investor incentives of roughly $9 million, $15 – $20 million of additional expenses related to employee retention, employee severance, advisory relationships, board review, remediation and due diligence activities, and a goodwill write-down of between $20 – $40 million related to slower growth expectations for Springstone, subject to finalization of this analysis.
  • Organizational Changes – In light of lower loan volumes in the second quarter and recognizing that fully restoring investor confidence may take time, the company has decided to reduce 179 positions in the organization.
  • Progress on Controls, Compliance and Governance – Over the last seven weeks, Lending Club initiated a comprehensive review of its controls, compliance and governance and has taken actions that included implementing KPMG best practice recommendations; increasing testing of data changes; increasing compliance and oversight resources; aligning business and control functions into a better risk management structure; and retraining employees on code of conduct and ethics and reinforcing the importance of a high compliance culture.
  • Key Second Half of 2016 Drivers – In an effort to reignite the platform, Lending Club provided several investor incentives (to both retail and institutional investors) most of which are expected to continue into the third quarter. The company expects to transition away from these incentives in the fourth quarter and plans to resume revenue and EBITDA growth in the first half of 2017.
  • New Policies on Anti-Pledging and Ecosystem Investing – Lending Club’s Board has established new policies prohibiting pledging of Lending Club shares, and prohibiting the company from making investments in ecosystem partners that invest in Lending Club loans.

Webcast and Conference Call Information

The Annual Meeting will reconvene today, June 28, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time with the same virtual meeting access (www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/LC2016). Only stockholders of record as of the close of business on April 11, 2016 will be able to vote and ask questions during the meeting using the virtual meeting access. Other interested parties may listen to the audio webcast of the Annual Meeting using the same link above or may dial into a listen-only line by dialing +1 (877) 883-0383, or outside the U.S. +1 (412) 902-6506, with a conference ID 0183459, ten minutes prior to 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time (or 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

Prosper Targets Retail Investors Anew After Big Buyers Pull Back, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Inc. plans to lean harder on small investors to fund consumer debts it arranges online, reemphasizing the company’s roots as a “peer-to-peer” lender so it’s not too reliant on Wall Street money.

Prosper hopes retail investors will fund about a third of loans by the end of this year, Ron Suber, the San Francisco-based firm’s president, said in a phone interview late Tuesday. That’s up from just under 10 percent at the end of 2015 and 20 percent in recent months, he said.

As a part of the push, Prosper relaunched an online platform for retail investors in recent days to improve the experience for loan buyers. New features include a redesigned automatic investment tool and a dashboard to see portfolio performance.

 “We have been working for more than a year to do more with retail,” Suber said. “This is the first time you’re able to see the investment.”
Some big investors have pulled back from buying online consumer debts this year and demanded higher returns amid questions about loan performance. That’s pushed firms including Prosper to work with banks to help line up big purchasers. The ventures also raised interest rates to bolster returns for buyers.

Big banks are boosting loans to NYC small businesses, (NY Daily News), Rated: AAA

Biz2Credit’s Small Business Lending Index, a monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan requests, found that small business loan approval rates at big banks ($10 billion or more in assets) in the New York metro area are up one-tenth of a percent, improving to 23.4% in May 2016.

Compare that to the national rate of 23.2%, an all-time Index high, and it’s easy to understand the impact that mainstream banking institutions are having on entrepreneurs.

New York metro area non-bank lending organizations approved 62.9% of funding requests in May 2016.


United Kingdom

Brexit Vote May Sting Online Lenders, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Online lending upstarts whose fates are closely tied to credit-market conditions may end up as yet another casualty of the U.K.’s vote to exit the European Union. Market volatility could cause hedge funds and other loan buyers to pull back at a critical time, analysts warned.

Shares in LendingClub Corp and online small business lender On Deck Capital Inc. were each off around 14% since Thursday’s close, slightly more than the decline in the KBW Nasdaq Bank index over the same period. “If you’re a company that is selling loans every day, then a big risk-off move can be a problem,” said Jefferson Harralson, analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. “More cautious investors are a problem.”

“Now you’re going to see low rates for a longer time,” said KBW’s Mr. Harralson. “When you factor in rate increases on loans, if LendingClub can continue to produce credit with predictable loss rates, [its loans] becomes more attractive.”

Sam Hodges, co-founder and U.S. managing director of Funding Circle Ltd., a London-based small-business lender that operates in the U.S., U.K. and Europe, said the Brexit vote would “no doubt impact our business,” including a potential tightening of credit in the U.K.

“If you look where yields in most asset classes are going, they’ve collapsed,” he said. “If anything, this reinforces the view that yields will remain quite compressed.”

Funding Circle’s U.K.-listed fund that buys loans, the Funding Circle SME Income Fund Ltd., was off 2% since Thursday, better than the broader U.K. FTSE 100 index, which was down 5.6%. A handful of online loan funds have listed in London. VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC was down 4.7%, and Ranger Direct Lending Fund PLC was roughly flat.

P2P/marketplace lending should outperform in a downturn, says Polar Capital’s Brind, (Alt Fi News), Rated: A

The fund manager heads up the $1bn Polar Capital Income Opportunities fund, a portfolio mainly consisting of a blend of credit and equities in the financials space.

He has exposure to alternative credit in the form of the first two P2P/marketplace lending investment trusts to launch onto the UK market. These are the £871m P2P Global Investments trust and the £391m  VPC Specialty Lending trust. Brind bought both funds at launch, in July 2014 and March 2015 respectively, and has been adding recently due to their move to wide discounts in the last year shown below.

altfi chart 1

“There is no data yet to prove it but I suspect that in a downturn you’re going to see spreads widen on a fixed income portfolio on expectations of defaults and in specific credits you will see some sharp falls because of those worries. I suspect it will perform slightly differently in a down period. In theory the trusts could be buying back their shares to manage the discounts. Also they are shorter duration because they are also consumer loans.”

Brind has been adding to both P2P GI and VPC Specialty Lending in recent weeks as he says there move to discounts has made them more attractive, although he doesn’t believe they will replace the banking industry as some investment commentators have claim.

He also says funds in the space could do more to better communicate investors, particular by giving more frequent updates to the net asset value [NAV] of the portfolios which currently are updated on a monthly basis.

“Transparency is improving but it is not great for all of them. partly some of the discounts are related to that,” Brind said.

LendInvest earns top credit rating, (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

ARC Ratings gave LendInvest the SQ1 Servicer Quality rank following a comprehensive annual review of factors such as corporate governance, due diligence and financial health.

The firm claims to be the only marketplace lender to have achieved such a rating.

Christian credited the rating to LendInvest’s “exceptional” underwriting and loan servicing infrastructure.

Czech Republic

Ferratum launches its new marketplace lending (P2P), (EuroInvestor), Rated: A

Ferratum, a pioneer in mobile consumer loans and small business lending, takes the next logical step and expands into marketplace lending and investments. On its new peer-to-peer platform www.ferratumP2P.com Ferratum connects investors and borrowers.

As part of its service offering Ferratum handles all payments and collects possible overdue payments. In addition, Ferratum guarantees to buy back payments that are 60 days past due. Thus, the system secures 85 % of outstanding loans for the investors.

The underlying loan types will be diversified in the next months. The minimum investment amount is 25 EUR. The loans provided on the platform usually range in between ca. 400 EUR and 1.000 EUR with a payment term of 6 to 12 months.

Hong Kong

Elephant Club, the first hybrid fund peer lending platform in HK

Hong Kong may have strict regulations concerning internet lending but some fund managers have found ways around this while still complying with the law by combining the structure of a fund with a form of internet lending.

“These overseas models cannot be introduced in Hong Kong because it is illegal to do so here. Under Hong Kong law, anyone who lends money as a business needs a money lender’s licence from the Hong Kong police and without that no one can lend money via the internet,” he said.

Li said the Elephant Club has a money lender licence and it has appointed a Securities and Futures Commission-authorised fund manager to manage the fund. It began raising funds last week with Li targeting HK$200 million in the first round and up to HK$2 billion in the medium term.

Investors can put in a minimum HK$800,000 in the club for a period of 12 months to three years with a guaranteed interest rate from 7 per cent to 10 per cent.

“They will not suffer any loss in case of default by borrowers as the Elephant Club will absorb the loss. This is the major difference of our model from other peer-to-peer lending platforms. We believe investors will find it attractive as it is just like investing in a bond with a regular return,” Li said.

The money will then be available to borrowers who can apply online for funding up to HK$300,000 per case at an annual interest rate between 18 to 30 per cent.

Janan Tam Lok-fung, the credit and operation manager of Elephant Club, said the average personal loan default rate in Hong Kong over the past two decades was only 5 per cent.

Middle-East and Africa

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Launches First Industry Study for Middle East & Africa, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School is launching its first Middle East & Africa Alternative Finance Benchmarking Study.

Recent benchmarking reports covering the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas depicted a rapidly growing ecosystem of internet finance.

The Middle East & Africa Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey launches today (June 28, 2016) and is scheduled to close on July 28th with the aim to track the transaction volume, year-on-year growth and latest trends within alternative finance across these regions.

Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/AltFin_MiddleEast_Africa

For enquiries about the Middle East & Africa Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey, please contact: Tania Ziegler at t.ziegler@jbs.cam.ac.uk  or Kieran Garvey atkjg44@cam.ac.uk at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, University of Cambridge Judge Business School.


Fin-tech startup Lendingkart raises mn from Bertelsmann India Investments, others, (VC Circle), Rated: A

Fin-tech startup Lendingkart, which facilitates working capital loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), has raised $32 million (around Rs 205 crore) in its Series B funding round led by Bertelsmann India Investments (BII).

In July 2015, Lendingkart had raised $10 million in its Series A round co-led by Saama Capital and Mayfield. In January 2015, it had got Rs 3.8 crore in seed funding from Ashish Goenka (member of Mumbai Angels), Rhythm Ventures Ltd, Saama Capital, India Quotient, Ashvin Chadha (member of Indian Angel Networks), Sandip Chintawar and Shailesh Mehta

Recently, Saama Capital had raised $30.3 million (Rs 205 crore) under its third fund. It has set a target of raising around $50 million in the fund.

Bertselmann India has also backed fashion discovery app Roposo.

India Quotient is an investor in companies such as rBus, Care24, and HolaChef.

In the fin-tech segment, last month, online investment platform Goalwise had raised $1 million from affluent individuals while online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform i2ifunding had secured Rs 2 crore from a group of angel investors.



George Popescu
George Popescu

About the author

George Popescu

Serial entrepreneur.

George sold and exited his most successful company, Boston Technologies (BT) group, in 2014. BT was a technology, market maker, high-frequency trading and inter-broker broker-dealer in the FX Spot, precious metals and CFDs space company. George was the Founder and CEO and he boot-strapped from $0 to a $20+ million in revenue without any equity investment. BT has been #1 fastest growing company in Boston in 2011 according to the Boston Business Journal and the only company being in top 10 fastest in 2012-13 as it was #5 in 2012. BT has been on the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing companies in the US for 4 years in a row ( #143, #373, #897 and #1270). After the company sale in July 2014 until February 2015 George was Head-of-Strategy for Currency Mountain ( www.currencymountain.com ), a USD 100 million+ holding company focused on retail and medium institutional currencies, precious metals, stocks, fixed income and commodities businesses.

• Over the last 10 years, George founded 10 companies in online lending, craft beer brewery, exotic sports car rental space, hedge funds, peer-reviewed scientific journal ( Journal of Cellular and Molecular medicine…) and more. George advised 30+ early stage start-ups in different fields. George was also a mentor at MIT’s Venture Mentoring Services and Techstar Fintech in NY.

• Previously George obtained 3 Master's Degrees: a Master's of Science from MIT working on 3D printing, a Master’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Supelec, France and a Master's in Nanosciences from Paris XI University. Previously he worked as a visiting scientist at MIT in Bio-engineering for 2 years. George had 3 undergrad majors: Maths, Physics and Chemistry. His scientific career led to about 10 publications and patents.

• On the business side, Boston Business Journal has named me in the top 40 under 40 in 2012 in recognition of his business achievements.

• George is originally from Romania and grew up in Paris, France.

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