Ilya Sherman is a Software Engineer at Google and a lender on WeFinance. She chats about what she looks for when lending money, the importance of social vouching, and her overall experience with WeFinance.
Lender Corner with WeFinance is a regular series that looks at some of our angel lenders, why they lend, and what they look for when looking for opportunities.
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What’s been your experience lending on WeFinance?
It’s been really positive! It’s a good way for me to diversify my investment portfolio while helping people along the way.
I think it’s amazing how WeFinance allows me to make a return while doing good for society. It reminds me of Kiva, but for the developed world.
Is there anything in particular about the platform that you like?
I like how simple and easy it is to use. There’s an initial setup, but afterwards lending to people can take less than a minute.
I also love how collections is automated. It’s nice to be able to lend money and not have to worry about asking for a payment every month.
What do you look for when you lend money to people?
I look for a shared connection and endorsements from people.
If I think the person is trustworthy as a borrower, I’ll look at the loan terms and see if it meets what I’m hoping for.
Do you have any tips for first time lenders on WeFinance?
Look for people who are endorsed by the founders or employees of WeFinance, since that’s a strong sign of credibility. Otherwise look for mutual connections and do your due diligence about that person.
When you’re lending, do you have a bias for fellow Stanford alums?
Definitely. I’ve noticed that I lend to Stanford graduates more partially because it’s my alma mater but also because Stanford has such a high bar that it’s an extra level of confidence that they’re credible borrowers.
As a Google employee, do you think that a platform like this — that allows a community/group to lend within itself — would be useful?
I can see people lending money for something like the down payment of a house.
It would have actually been super useful for me recently since the housing market in the Bay Area is one where buyers are pretty much forced into the position of having no contingencies when buying a house. It’s a big problem when you think the bank will issue you a loan for x, but they end up issuing you a loan for x-y. You have to scramble to come up with the difference and WeFinance would be a great way to borrower between friends while having the security of a contract in place.
What’s the best way to tap into this market?
Likely build out more features and make the process more seamless. Venmo needed time before it became widely used.