Lightbank ventures into online pawning

Faith Merino · June 7, 2011 · Short URL:

Pawngo is a low-interest, high-security alternative to pawning your goods online

Pawn shops are rarely brought up in conversation in a positive light. No one ever says jubilantly, “yeah, we weren’t able to pay the bills, so I had to pawn my mother’s wedding ring. Best experience of my life.” But Lightbank and online pawn broker Internet Pawn want to put a new spin on the traditional pawn shop with the launch of

The idea is simple: You need money in a hurry but you don’t want to pull cash out of your credit card or take out a high-interest loan. Traditional brick-and-mortar pawn shops are going to charge you somewhere around 20% interest, and they’re only going to hold your items for 30 days before you have to start paying up. Pawngo offers a secure, low-interest alternative to the seamy brick-and-mortar pawn shop in the bad part of town (the part of town you don’t even want to stop for gas in, like all of Stockton).

Borrowers who go through Pawngo have the option of taking out a loan for $250 or $100,000, regardless of bad credit. And the money is available within 24 hours. Users also have the option of selling their items outright.

The process is fairly straight-forward—exactly as you’d imagine an online pawn shop would work. Let’s say you need cash fast but don’t want to part with your mother’s wedding ring forever, so you skip over eBay and head over to Pawngo, where you can enter a description of your item, add an optional digital image, and receive a preliminary loan offer or buy offer within a few hours. The amount offered is the market value as determined by real-time data. If you choose to accept the offer, you can print out an overnight FedEx shipping label to send the item to Pawngo’s Colorado-based evaluation lab.

At that point, Pawngo will conduct a more thorough evaluation of your item and contact you to give you an exact loan/buyout offer. If you accept, the item is locked away in Pawngo’s vault and your money is instantly wired to your bank account. Once your loan is paid off, your item is immediately shipped back to you. Pawngo has already loaned more than $1.3 million.

And Pawngo places a lot of emphasis on security. Every item is insured by Lloyd’s of London the moment it’s shipped to Pawngo, and items are handled and delivered under video surveillance at all times. Additionally, each piece is photographed and barcoded.

"Like we have for other antiquated industries, we intend to help the Pawngo team leverage the disruptive forces of the Internet to bring greater transparency, efficiency and massive scalability to the pawn industry,” said Lightbank Partner Paul Lee, in a statement.

Pawngo recently secured Series B financing to the tune of $1.5 million from Lightbank, and an additional $800,000 from Series A investors Access Ventures Partners and Daylight Partners.


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