Prosper.com is a site that connects people who want to invest money with people who want to lend it. Think of it like "Kiva for wall street", peer-to-peer lending but larger amounts.
The company has, in only six years, generated $396,000,000 in funded loans and investments. According to their website, investors can expect a 10.02% return in seasoned loans (loans aged 10 months or more). If these numbers are accurate, the investment potential here is high.
Prosper.com, helmed by some of the big hitters of the financial world, provides a platform for peer-to-peer investments that yield surprisingly secure returns. Connecting borrowers and investors directly cuts out the middle man and allows for greater portfolio flexibility.
Let’s say you are an investor. You want to lend to someone directly and get secure returns. You join the site and invest in a diversified portfolio of loans, comprised of individuals needing as little as $25. The borrowers then use your capital and make regular repayments, which are deposited directly into your account. As a borrower, the process is the same, but from the other side. Those in need of funds setup a loan request and investors deposit funds directly into your account. You then repay those loans back to the investors with interest. The connection between investor and borrower is direct, mitigated by Prosper.com in terms of risk management. They help setup investments that range from low to high risk, and take a small fee for the service.
This service requires secure web infrastructure, support, risk management, clear communication of complex metrics and concepts, and lots of investors and borrowers to populate the site.
The Acela services business commuters and those looking to travel from state to state without taking a plane.
For many short trips or longer commutes the Acela provides a fast no fuss way to get from point A to point B. Its’ appeal is in the comfort and convenience it provides to businessmen and women who can do their work on the train and arrive at their destination in half the time as it would take by car.
The Acela is one of the fastest trains on the east coast and connects a wide variety of transport to its’ route. It also sells itself on reinstating an element of luxury that services like the Commuter rail or the regular Downeaster don’t provide.
The user buys a ticket online or at a convenient Quicktrak- both of which are quite straightforward. The commuter has flexibility in changing his/her ticket with price changes reflecting the availability of their newly desired train or destination. The internal accommodations are of higher quality than anything else offered in train services and offer an impressive option of destinations. Unfortunately their prices reflect this. Taking the Acela is often as expensive or more expensive than taking a flight (for longer distances) and is far slower. Its’ price structure is only accessible to a certain income bracket and therefore attracts an older more professional clientele. Their customer service also airs on the side of the customer always being wrong. That being said the service is more reliable than its’ downeaster counterparts or bus schedules making the same routes.
This service requires physical track infrastructure/maintenance, train attendants, conductors, mechanics, communication with trains using the same tracks, web maintenance, Quicktrak installation and upkeep, and food service employees (purchasing agents, food suppliers, baristas etc..).