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How hedge funders are like hipster rockstar wannabes

How many times have you sighed when a college friend who majored in comparative lit or your colleague’s tattooed troubled teen daughter asks for capital to produce an EP or launch a boutique T-shirt line?

Young and struggling artists and creative types aren’t the only ones looking to cash in on crowdfunding. A new breed has emerged as the Kickstarter of the alpha set.

Founded in 2005 as America's first peer-to-peer lending marketplace, Prosper now has more than 1.6 million members and more than $500,000,000 in funded loans. The company’s CEO Stephan Vermut is founder and former managing partner of Merlin Securities, a prime brokerage service based on cutting-edge technology. The company’s investors include Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and Benchmark Capital.

Lending Club, which entered the market two years later, is now the industry leader, with nearly $2.6 million in funded loans.  The company said last week it had raised $25 million of financing from Sequoia Capital and BlackRock.

Both Prosper and Lending Club are now expanding into securitizations and have been building their ranks with Wall Street’s elite. Lending Club’s board includes former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack and highly regarded securities analyst Mary Meeke. Prosper poached Stephan Vermut, a former executive at Wells Fargo.

Now Alon Goren and Frank Troise have joined the game with InvestedIn Alpha, a new platform where hedge funds can advertise that they're raising money and accredited investors can funnel in the capital.

InvestedIn, founded by Goren, has been providing white-label crowdfunding technology for other brands and the new expansion offers invite-only access for hedge fund managers to run their campaigns.

“InvestedIn Alpha’s technology is connecting the best hedge funds and funds of fund managers directly with accredited investors and facilitating relationships in a matter of moments that would have traditionally taken months,” said Goren.

What’s next? Let’s hope it’s not an Etsy that offers vintage securities and handmade alternatives.

Wining a Job at Ernst & Young (eFC)

The Big Four accounting firm offers insight into landing a job in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory, as well as its core business services group that supports marketing, finance and other support positions. Ernst & Young plans to make roughly 10,600 hires in the U.S. during fiscal year 2014, which began in July.

Ex-Trader in Whale Scandal Expected to Return to U.S. (DealBook)

Javier Martin-Artajo, the former J.P. Morgan trader facing criminal charges in connection with the multibillion-dollar trading loss in London, will be extradited to the U.S., a senior prosecutor said. Artajo, who has been living in Spain, appears to be fighting extradition after briefly surrendering to police in in August.

Global Investment Banking Fees Rise (Reuters)

Fees earned for global investment banking services increased 3% in the first nine months of 2013 from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data. J.P. Morgan retained its top ranking in the investment banking league table, taking in $4.4 billion, or 7.8% of the total $56.8 billion.

N.Y. AG Sues Wells Fargo, Drops BofA Suit (The Street)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing Wells Fargo for its alleged failure to adhere to the terms of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement. Meantime, he won’t go after Bank of America over similar complaints, after BofA agreed to improve its practices.

Investing in an Iconic Skyscraper Soars (CNBC)

Some 71.5 million shares of the Empire State Building went on the market yesterday at $13 each. The majority of proceeds from the IPO will go to the estate of property mogul Leona Helmsley, who died in 2007.

Three London PMs Leave SAC Capital (Bloomberg)

Three quant traders who bought and sold stocks based on signals from computer models in SAC’s London office have left Steven A. Cohen’s $14 billion hedge-fund firm. Woei Chan, Alidod Shirinbekov and Paul Crouch departed on Sept. 26, according to filings at the U.K.’s Companies House.

Buzz Around the Office

Wuff Your Way to Wall Street Fame (Funny or Die)

You don’t need matinee idol looks or method acting lessons to star in this flick. A DIY video can transform anyone into a Wolf.

List of the Day: Power Play

Do you have the moves like Dimon? Here are three things to flaunt as you swagger your way in the power brokers club.

  1. Your expertise: Come on, show us what you know! Maybe you’re a math whiz or a Street-smart sage.
  2. Your relationships: Connections, connections, connections. Face it: it comes down to who you know.
  3. Your presence: Your presence adds or subtracts power. Body language is a big part. Stand tall! And make eye contact.

(Source:  CNBC)

AUTHORNatasha Gural Insider Comment

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