They Grew Tremendously Through the Pandemic and Landed on the List
Inc recently dropped the latest annual list of the fastest growing small businesses in the country. These 5,000 businesses span across a range of industries including health, financial, IT services and more. Companies such as Fundomate, Fountainhead, and Business Lending Blueprint have been featured on this year’s list due to incredible growth.
For Sam Schapiro, the grit to grow Fundomate through a pandemic stemmed from a realization he came to years earlier.
“I think one of the best lessons I learned when I launched Fundomate, I was in Las Vegas at a conference to raise money,” Schapiro said. “…and barely anybody looked at us and I literally left with nothing.”
Full of doubt, Schapiro had lunch with someone he respected that had built several successful startups. That mentor told him that despite what he thought, 99.9% of the people pitching their business at the show were going to fail regardless, even if they really wanted success.
“So if you don’t really really really want it, then don’t bother doing it, because your chances of success are so slim,” Schapiro was told. That hard dose of advice led Schapiro to first question how bad he wanted it and he realized he was fully committed to seeing it through.
“I always say that if I knew how long it would take us to get here and how hard it would be to be down this road, I’d never get on the road,” Schapiro said. “But that’s the thing about life in general. Anything worth having and anything worth doing requires consistency and determination. And over and over and over again. So if something’s not working, and you can obviously see it’s not working and it’s clear, you know, the job is to keep looking at it, and at the point where it becomes a clear message that it just doesn’t work, then you got to pivot.”
Fundomate is a white label funding and banking platform for wholesale processors and MCA funders to automate their funding in a scaled way. Schapiro says that success was due in part to their technology, which collects a true daily percentage of a business’s sales.
As the pandemic subsided “we didn’t have to get back on the phone with every merchant and say, ‘Hey, we want to increase our daily payment again’ because we’re not on daily payments, we’re on instant collections that are happening on a daily basis,” Schapiro explained. “As soon as their sales came back up and even grew to get through the 2021 boom, all the sudden collections happen faster.”
Meanwhile, for Chris Hurn, Founder and CEO of Fountainhead, he had to refocus his non-bank small business lending company into a PPP loan operation.
“Pivoting our business solely to do PPP loans over the last two years was a pretty challenging experience,” said Hurn. “And we did, we worked ridiculous hours. I mean I averaged about three to four hours of sleep a night for months at a time every day. So, you know, that was probably the biggest challenge we had.”
But the work paid off. Hurn said that they were one of the most active PPP lenders over the last two years, making approximately 300,000 loans.
“Obviously, that helped accelerate our growth,” said Hurn, “as well as many of our full time hires that we made during that time are still there. And we’re still growing now.”
The process is no walk in the park when it comes to being listed on the Inc 5000. Thousands of companies apply annually to be ranked on the list. It’s months of lengthy paperwork and long-waited verifications. After realizing that one’s company has made the list, they find out their ranking along with the rest of the world.
“It’s a painstaking process because you can’t just apply and claim that you’re a growing company,” said Oz Konar, Founder at Business Lending Blueprint. “Your CPA needs to send them income verification or revenue verification, and all the things need to be documented and signed off on so they can actually prove that you’re a growing company, and you can make it on the Inc 5000.”
The hardest part of newfound success is maintaining it. With massive growth over the past four years, Konar believes growth happens when you have happy customers. Focusing on democratizing the lending space for new and existing brokers has drawn clients into his business.
“When you do things the right way consistently and stay laser focused on one problem, one solution, one product, that’s what brought us to the Inc 5000,” said Konar. “And to our surprise, we were hoping that we were going to be ranking about 1,000, the first 1,000 companies. We ranked in 799. So, it’s such an honor, we’re so happy, and we’re just getting started.”
In the competitive industry of finance that is always changing and rearranging, SMB finance companies may feel pressured to do all things for all people. But sometimes it may be more beneficial to stick to what one is good at. As Hurn can agree, it is much more complicated to compete in every marketplace.
“I think if you as a business, if you’re starting out, you need to definitely focus on a niche you want to attack and try to be the best at that,” said Hurn.Last modified: September 26, 2022
Anaya Vance is a reporter for deBanked. Connect with me on LinkedIn.