Prosper Marketplace is rolling out a revamped website that is designed to make loans it sells more attractive to individual investors.

The new platform will allow loan buyers to set specific investment criteria that can then be used to make automated investment decisions. It also features a dashboard that tracks the performance of an investor's portfolio.

The changes come at a time when many institutional investors – firms that fueled the rapid rise of marketplace lending – have suddenly grown wary of the sector.

Prosper is among the companies that have been rocked by the rapid change of heart by hedge funds and other large investors. Loan volume at the San Francisco firm fell by 12% in the first quarter from a year earlier. In May, Prosper announced plans to lay off more than a quarter of its employees.

Against the current backdrop, individual investors are in high demand among marketplace lenders, because they are seen as less likely to depart when market conditions shift.

"Marketplace lending is quickly establishing itself as an asset class that should be part of everyone's fixed-income portfolio, the way stocks and bonds are today," Prosper CEO Aaron Vermut said in a press release announcing the new website.

"However," he added, "in order for retail investors to start investing through the Prosper platform, we needed to improve the experience and make it easier."

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