Ten DaysSeptember 28, 2012 | By: Sean Murray
It’s been ten days since Kabbage announced they had raised $30 million to fuel the growth of their Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) operations at home and abroad. MCA is changing faster than we can report it:
Former Yahoo CEO joins Kabbage. Hello Silicon Valley takeover! Quotes from the story:
Kabbage is providing an old service, merchant cash advances, with a new twist
Did they just call merchant cash advances old?
Kabbage is rapidly reshaping the small business financing space in the same way that PayPal reshaped the payments space over the last decade
Start believing this…
Amazon enters the MCA industry with a new division called Amazon Lending. Quotes:
Amazon is lending up to $800,000 to some merchants, Wingo said, adding that this is a pretty aggressive entrance into merchant financing.
Merchant financing…quite possibly the term that will replace “merchant cash advance” in the next couple years. Notice AMEX’s advance program is called the same thing. Trend anyone?
Amazon is competing against a start-up called Kabbage, which extends cash advances ranging from $500 to $50,000
They apparently don’t feel anyone else is a threat in the online space.
“We’re flattered that Amazon is building a business modeled on ours,” said Kabbage co-founder Marc Gorlin. “It’s validating that big companies are getting into the small business financing space.”
Dear Kabbage, you did not invent this model.
The kicker to Amazon’s new program? They charge up to 13% interest annually, on pace with what a little company in California named Opportunity Fund claimed was flat out unprofitable. Does that make them yet another new company walking around with a giant Kick-Me sign on their back? Some industry insiders would argue that offering these low rate programs are like swallowing dynamite.
We did a little bit of digging on this new program to see exactly what Amazon was up to. One of their prospective merchants posted this excerpt of the fine print:
Subject to applicable law, you will be in default under this Loan Agreement if any of the following events occur: ……..
(iii) your gross merchandise sales on Amazon.com as reported in your Seller Account (“GMS”) in any month is less than 50% of your lowest GMS on Amazon.com in any of the prior 12 months,
(iv) the collective value of your units stored in Amazon fulfillment centers in the US, based on your list price of those units on Amazon.com, (“FBA Inventory Value”) in any month is less than 50% of your lowest FBA Inventory Value in any of the prior 12 months,
Except as otherwise required by applicable law, if you are in default, subject to any right you may have under applicable law to receive notice of and to cure such default, you agree that we may in our sole discretion exercise any remedy available to us at law or equity or take any or all of the following actions: (I) declare the unpaid balance of your Loan to be immediately due and payable, (II) enforce our rights as a secured party by directing Amazon Services LLC to reserve, hold, and pay to us an amount up to the unpaid balance of your Loan from your Seller Account disbursements until the unpaid balance of your debt under this Loan Agreement is paid in full, (III) enforce our rights as a secured party, by taking possession of your units stored in Amazon fulfillment centers and disposing of them in accordance with the Uniform Commercial Code,……………..
If this Loan Agreement is referred to an attorney (who is not our salaried employee) to collect the amount you owe or otherwise enforce the terms of this Loan Agreement, you agree to pay our reasonable attorneys’ fees, court costs and other costs of collection to the fullest extent not prohibited by applicable law.
6. Financing Statements. You authorize us to file and, as we may deem necessary or desirable, to sign your name on any documents and take any other actions that we deem necessary or desirable to ensure that our security interest in any item of inventory or your Seller Account is properly attached and perfected.
There’s some language in there that would make a lot of MCA companies jealous, particularly the section that states a 50% drop in sales is an automatic default!
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– Merchant Processing Resource
Sean Murray is the founder of deBanked, an 11-year veteran of the merchant cash advance industry, a casual Lending Club and Prosper note investor, the co-founder of Daily Funder, an alternative lending speaker, consultant, writer, and enthusiast. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter.