Shaper: Giles Andrews

Show aired on 3rd October 2015


Giles Andrews is Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Zopa, the world’s first and the UK’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform. Giles has overseen Zopa help over 200,000 consumers financially and it is on course to lend it’s billionth pound. Before joining Zopa, Giles spent the first ten years of his career pursuing all things automotive. This included co-founding Caverdale in 1992, a start-up taken to a £250m revenue motor retailer, renamed Godfrey Davis Motor Group, and sold in 1997. He then set up his own consultancy business (clients included Tesco and Tesco Personal Finance, and it provided start up advice and early stage funding for new businesses) until co-founding Zopa in 2004, becoming CEO in 2008. Giles is also non-executive Chairman of Bethnal Green Ventures, the accelerator programme for people who want to make social and environmental impact using technology.

Follow Giles on Twitter @zopagiles

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By connecting people directly and not going through a bank, the investor gets a better deal than they would by sticking money in a bank and the borrower borrows money more cheaply and more fairly.

Banks weren’t necessarily trusted to have the best interests of the customer at heart, they weren’t necessarily trusted for being simple and easy to understand, and they didn’t explain themselves very well.

We have helped about two hundred and twenty thousand people.

I really enjoyed psychology but it was never going to be a career. I also wasn’t the kind of person who woke up in the morning thinking I want to be an entrepreneur.

I remember talking to friends and family and saying ‘what an earth am I going to do with my life’, because all my friends were being told to go and become consultants or lawyers or bankers or something truly horrific like that.

I had a sort of hankering to see if my brain still worked and go and study again – I had one of the best years of my life.

Entrepreneurs learn more from failure than success and this period was not a great success, in fact we all partly fell out with each other and I ended up leaving the business.

Every business that gets venture capital money has to have some chance – it might be a very small chance – of being a genuinely big, potentially global, business.

It is all about confidence and trust, I think optimism is one of the overarching characteristics of many entrepreneurs.

Life depends a lot on luck.