Merchant Cash Advance CompetitionJune 3, 2013 | By: Sean Murray
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that Kabbage wasn’t a competitor in the Merchant Cash Advance space, I’d have my own funding company. It’s been argued that they only care about Ebay or Paypal and that their business model revolved around strengthening Ebay’s PowerSellers for the good of Ebay. I never really believed that was the case.
On September 11, 2012 I wrote this about Kabbage:
Some people feel that they are not a serious challenger to the status quo and that their tactics, methods, and headlines are merely shock value fodder for the rest of us to laugh at while we all rant and rave about ACH deals being the hottest thing since Square. We believe Kabbage is a company everyone should keep an eye on.
Kabbage analyzes many pieces of data in their underwriting including how many facebook fans a business has or added. And as of 2 weeks ago, what do you think happened?
Kabbage expanded their cash advance programs to brick and mortar businesses… (BusinessWeek)
And so here we are with yet another fierce well-capitalized competitor, a company that isn’t struggling to add technology but is rooted in it. Not only that, but last I heard they don’t work with brokers or agents. They cut out the middleman, much like Square did with ISOs.
Which brings me to the next few companies to keep an eye on:
Amazon: People say that their goal is to finance Amazon retailers for the good of Amazon. Sound familiar? I admit that Kabbage wasn’t owned by Paypal but there was a solid relationship there. Is it that ludicrous to think that Amazon will enter the brick and mortar cash advance business?
Groupon: They’ve been sniffing around this industry for quite a while. Keep an eye on them.
American Express: They already have their own cash advance program for premium merchants that accept a high volume of amex transactions. Every six months or so, their standards loosen. It’s only a matter of time until they have enough data to loosen their standards even more and compete head to head with the rest of the alternative business lending industry and cash advance industry.
Scott Griest, the CEO of American Finance Solutions wrote in Disruption in the Alternative Business Lending Space that when all the dust settles in a couple years down the road, there will be only 4-5 large alternative business lenders. Consolidation and competitive pressure will thin out the herd and the strongest will prevail. The question is, will those 4-5 funding companies be the grass roots companies that propelled the industry to where it is today or will it be the big mega-corporations who are looking at our the industry like a delicious snack?
In one of the most read ever articles of MPR, I made this prediction in The End of an Era:
2014 will eliminate the weaker firms that remain and by 2015, Merchant Cash Advance will no longer be a term that anyone uses. Big banks and billion dollar technology companies will go on to rebrand all that which the funding warriors of the last decade have worked so hard to establish. MCA will simply assimilate into other financial products. The metaphorical Sally, Joe, and Tom will probably still be in the business, but be working for companies like Capital One, Wells Fargo, and American Express.
We weren’t kidding…Last modified: June 3, 2013
Sean Murray is the founder of deBanked, a 10-year veteran of the merchant cash advance industry, a casual Lending Club and Prosper 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.