Monday, October 24, 2005
Interview with Marc Diana, CEO of LeadPoint
My interview this morning is with Marc Diana, CEO of Los Angeles-based Leadpoint (www.leadpoint.com). Leadpoint is developing a marketplace for selling and buying leads for the mortgage industry. I spoke with Diana on what Leadpoint is working on.
BK: What's LeadPoint, and how does it fit into the mortgagelead business?
MD: LeadPoint's technology brings buyers and sellers together in a truly unbiased marketplace. The company ensures a fair exchange by monitoring lead quality as well as customers themselves. Leads are competitively priced based on bids, performance and ratings by members of the LeadPoint community. Our initial product offerings are in the mortgage category.
BK: How is your company different from the many lead generation companies out there?
MD: LeadPoint's proprietary technology controls lead flow as well as verifying and rating buyer and seller quality. LeadPoint operates as the arbitrator, bringing buyers and sellers together and allowing them to exchange in a truly fair market environment.
BK: I understand there's some controversy of the gathering of leads from spam emails. How does LeadPoint address this, and what are your feelings on how widespread the issue is?
MD: We require all participants in the platform to be compliant with FTC regulations and our trading rules.
LeadPoint tightly manages and rates the quality of leads and participants in the trading community, thus quickly identifying instances whereby marketers are in violation of any regulations.
BK: What's your relationship with Estalea, and how did you decide to start the business?
MD: Estalea is an investor in LeadPoint and assisted in the development of LeadPoint's underlying technology. The business was started through the identification of inefficiencies along the lead distribution chain. LeadPoint addresses these inefficiencies through its innovative technology and business model.
BK: Where is LeadPoint now in terms of product launch and stage?
MD: Our initial product offerings, which launched in May of this year, include all mortgage category leads. We intend to expand to additional categories in the near future.
BK: How big is the lead market for mortgages?
MD: We estimate that mortgage lenders and brokers spend over $50 billion to acquire customers on an annual basis, with over $1 billion of those dollars spent online and increasing annually.
BK: What's your own experience, and how did you decide to found LeadPoint?
MD: I saw an opportunity for companies trying to acquire customers and for companies gathering online traffic to extract more value in the lead generation lifecycle. So we created a hyper-efficient technological platform and applied an innovative business model to bring to market a low margin/high volume business.
BK: Why did you decide to raise venture funding for your venture?
MD: The business was self-financed for a short period, and then we determined that there would be an adequate return on the deployment of capital resources to offset the dilution from raising capital.
BK: Finally, what's the next big challenge for LeadPoint?
MD: We've completed our technological build out, and now must identify and execute on various ways to leverage our platform.