Google, an early investor in LendingClub, is using the online platform to help it sell more services to businesses.
The search-engine giant plans to provide as much as $600,000 of financing to companies that distribute its line of workplace technology, according to a statement today. The two- year loans will be arranged and serviced by LendingClub, which connects borrowers with investors who want to fund them.
"It's a way for Google to provide longer-term capital that can help their partners do more ambitious investments," LendingClub Chief Executive Officer Renaud Laplanche said in a phone interview.
Like rivals Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., Mountain View, California-based Google is pushing further into the business market to bolster revenue growth. Its Google for Work unit adapts services that were first designed for consumers, such as Gmail, maps and Android software, for business uses.
The unsecured loans will be interest-only for the first year. Rates will be fixed at 5 percent for the first 12 months and reset higher or lower after that depending on performance, Laplanche said. The maximum rate in the second year will be 9.99 percent.
The repayment schedule is designed to support Google for Work's reseller partners. Funds can be used to hire new staff, pay for business development and invest in other growth opportunities. Shannon Newberry, a spokeswoman for Google, declined to comment beyond today's statement.
The partnership also will help San Francisco-based LendingClub, which has surged 48 percent since its initial public offering last month. The company has been diversifying beyond personal loans that people use to consolidate credit-card debt, repair homes and pay for vacations, among other things. It began offering small-business loans last year and has partnered with banks to attract more borrowers.
LendingClub opened in 2007. Google joined other investors to buy a minority stake in the company during a fundraising round in 2013. Laplanche said in an interview then that the deal was intended to lead to "more ambitious projects."
Google for Work has about 10,000 partners, including resellers, consultants and system integrators. Laplanche said he wasn't aware of any cap on how much money Google may provide in what the companies are calling a pilot program. The search- engine operator had more than $60 billion in cash and short-term investments at the end of September.
LendingClub advanced 5.6 percent to $22.23 at 3:04 p.m. in New York. Google rose 0.4 percent.