Hockey Stick Growth Charts

Lending Tree Growth Chart

Tinkering/Pre-Start (Pre-1996)

  • Doug Lebda works as an accountant for Pricewaterhouse after graduating from Bucknell in 1992
  • 1996: Lebda becomes an expert on trading “basis” in the natural gas field
  • Lebda ideates a new way for lenders and borrowers to exchange loans while at Pricewaterhouse
  • Doug Lebda and Jamey Bennet both invest $1,500 to found Lewisburg Ventures

The Blade Years (1996-1999)

  • Launches in 1996 as Bankwire; soon changes name to CreditSource USA
  • 1996: Year 1 revenue = $0
  • 1997: Lebda drops out of grad school at UVA where he was pursuing his MBA
  • CreditSource becomes LendingTree and lands a $1 million investment
  • 1998: launches nationally and establishes its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.
  • 1998: Phoenix Insurance Group invests $3 million and Union Labor Life Insurance Company invests $7.5 million
  • In early 1999, mortgage brokers become important to LendingTree’s success in a time when banks aren’t closing their leads

Growth Inflection Point (1999)

  • Year 4 growth inflection point: $8,042,075 revenue (grows 1,587 percent from 1998)
  • Launch “When banks compete, you win” campaign
  • Late 1999: LendingTree spends time and money on lead-conversion rates with banks
  • Experience growth inflection when both mortgage brokers and banks hit full stride in lead-conversion closing
  • Spend $18.5 million on marketing this year

Surging Growth (2000-2003)

  • 2000: LendingTree goes public
  • 2000: Spend $56.6 million on marketing
  • 2001: Launch “Stanley Johnson” campaign
  • 2003: InterActiveCorp acquires LendingTree for $726 million