What Happened to Bizfi?July 1, 2017 | By: Sean Murray
This past week, Bizfi gave their remaining employees a 90-day warning notice, according to sources familiar with the matter. It was the latest wave of layoffs to hit the company over the last few months. At its peak, Bizfi, which provided capital to small businesses, employed more than 200 people. Some of those riding out their potentially last 90 days are anxiously awaiting the outcome of nonpublic negotiations to salvage parts of the company’s legacy, if it can be done at all.
It’s a bittersweet moment, according to newly former employees I spoke with, some of whom are so young they vaguely recall Bizfi’s past as both Merchant Cash and Capital (MCC) and Next Level Funding (NLF). They characterized their experience as having worked in fintech.
MCC was founded in 2005 as a buyer of future credit card sales, way before the rise of modern fintech. They later spawned affiliate company NLF, which was eventually consolidated into the newly minted Bizfi brand in 2015. In 2016, they were one of the top three largest originators of merchant cash advances. Today, they are no longer funding new business.
Overall, the company grew too fast and missed the window of opportunity to sell, observers maintain. In a CNBC interview in 2015, a Bizfi representative said that they believed securing a major equity investment would allow them to go public by 2017. Such an investment never came. And with the market cooling last year, institutional interest in the space waned and several of the industry’s better-known players were forced into a precarious position.
Bizfi held on, until recently.
I myself was the third employee of MCC, or fourth depending on who actually walked through the door first on my first day that I shared with another new hire back in 2006 (who by the way was Jared Feldman, the eventual co-founder and CEO of Fora Financial, which sold for millions to Palladium Equity Partners LLC). I was at MCC until 2008 and then worked at NLF until 2010. That means I had been gone for five years before the companies ever merged to become Bizfi and seven years before the current dilemma. Therefore I’m not able to personally comment on what exactly went wrong because the company was nowhere near the same as when I left it.
I will report new developments as they become public.Last modified: July 1, 2017
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.