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Accord Business Funding Makes New Marketing Hire

April 3, 2018
Article by:

Aldo CastroHouston-based Accord Business Funding recently hired Aldo Castro to lead its marketing efforts. His title is Vice President of Sales & Marketing.  

“We are excited to have Aldo join our team,” Adam Beebe, co-founder of Accord Business Funding, told deBanked. “Aldo comes to us with over twenty years of experience in business-to-business sales and marketing experience… [and he] will use his experience and feedback from the ISO community to help Accord find new ways of adding value to our partners’ businesses.”

Prior to Accord Business Funding, Castro worked as a strategic marketing consultant and co-founded two digital marketing agencies in Texas. Founded in 2013, Accord is a B paper funder with terms between four to eight months and merchants that include auto dealers and trucking and construction businesses, among others. The company of 20 employees is entirely driven by ISOs.

“Accord offers our ISO associates a unique combination of integrity, speed, and flexibility, helping them close their deals faster and easier,” Beebe said.

Why FundThrough Acquired BlueVine’s Factoring Business

January 13, 2022
Article by:
FundThrough CEO
Steven Uster, CEO, FundThrough

“I know it might seem sudden for you, but we’ve been engaged in discussions since the Summer, and [BlueVine] has been in discussions internally for certainly longer than that.”

FundThrough announced their acquisition of the factoring division of BlueVine on Thursday. A deal that has been long in the works will make the Canadian factoring company’s American portfolio 80 percent of their business. 

“From FundThrough’s perspective, we’ve always had BlueVine’s factoring business on our radar,” said FundThrough’s Co-founder and CEO Steven Uster, exclusively to deBanked. “We started around the same time, they grew their business nicely, and then they started to branch out to other products.”

Uster spoke about BlueVine outgrowing their factoring business, while FundThrough was growing enough to acquire it. “From the outside looking in, it looked like this might’ve been turning into a non-core asset for them, but yet very core for us.”

For FundThrough, the move is substantial. The company has acquired their largest competitor’s inaugural product. According to Uster, the move brings two companies together who are starkly similar in more ways than just the product they sell.

“We share similar cultures, we’re much smaller obviously as a whole, but our factoring business is bigger,” he said. “We share a similar mindset, we’re also a technology based business, our systems are quite similar, so the move [will] be an easier, elegant transition.”

“We determined that FundThrough is perfectly positioned to serve our factoring clients with the care and individual attention they need and deserve,” said Eyal Lifshitz, Co-founder and CEO of BlueVine. “Our factoring clients will be in great hands with FundThrough.”

Lifshitz spoke on his company’s growth, and how the move will allow the company to focus on better serving their existing customers. “Since launching BlueVine, we’ve been focused on the financial needs of small businesses and are very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. As we evolve our products and services, we continuously examine how we can better serve our customers at scale.” 

According to Uster, fintech-inspired invoice factoring has sparked unprecedented interest in the financial world lately. While he is unsure of the reason, the engagement and inquiries FundThrough has received prior to the acquisition have been significantly higher than in the past.

“Something shifted over the last twelve months,” Uster said. “All of the sudden, without much branding, we have been getting a bunch of inquiries about partnering and providing this embedded invoice factoring solution.”

With their acquisition comes confidence, and it sounds like FundThrough is ready to be on the forefront of tech-infused financing. “[The acquisition] provides us the scale to be the partner of choice. We are now the players in the market,” Uster said.

“If you want to offer tech enabled instant funding on invoices in your B2B marketplace, FundThrough is now the solution.”

Nuula, Still in the Business Lending Game, Lays Groundwork for Larger Ecosystem

December 29, 2021
Article by:

Nuula, formerly known as BFS Capital, has 5,000 merchants on a waitlist to access a line of credit after just four months of its application process being made available.

But there’s more.

“Nuula is built to not only deliver our own financial products, but it’s developed to help us provision and deploy third party financial products that come from our ecosystem,” said Mark Ruddock, Nuula’s CEO. “So what we’re trying to do here is not really be a broker, but we will carefully curate products.”

“That could be larger, longer loans from one partner, it could be insurance from another partner, it could be entrepreneur wealth management from a third partner,” he continued.

“So we bring those partners onto the platform, and then we expose their functionality within the app, in a way that’s consistent with all the other tools in the app. So yes, there is room for third party lenders.”

Ruddock spoke about how as of now, Nuula’s infrastructure only offers opportunities to those interested in directly funding businesses. The company profits via revenue sharing when businesses are provided with capital from a third party funder on the platform.

Despite not being available yet, he hinted at possibly incorporating broker-esque products as the app’s financial product suite grows.

“Today, we don’t see a near term role for brokers on the app, because we’re not really trying to create a marketplace of a multitude of products, we’re really trying to curate things very, very carefully,” said Ruddock. “However that’s not to say say that we will not over time provide the ability for the more digital brokers or intermediaries to play a role as we seek to broaden the portfolio of tools that we offer.”

“I would say no to brokers in the sense that we really don’t have a compelling offer for them at the moment, but yes to other financial services providers.”

Ruddock described how Nuula is serving a niche customer base, a tech-centric merchant who is looking for an easy-to-use mobile software that can manage their businesses’ X’s and O’s. Not only is this type of merchant underserved and beginning to substantiate in numbers according to Ruddock, but they are extremely eager for access to capital.

“It’s a fundamental change in the way underwriting has been done, away from kind of a rearward looking model, towards a real-time forward looking model, and that’s what we believe is going to be required to unlock capital to this new generation of businesses.”

“[Nuula] reimagines underwriting in a way that says ‘don’t just look at the last six months of bank statements’,” Ruddock said. “[We] look on not only of the day of lending, but the lifetime of your relationship, and how those businesses are recovering, growing, and thriving.”

He spoke about how with real-time data being accessible through Nuula, businesses that are building their creditworthiness can have a mobile reference point for the data that they need to see their real-time financial state, while simultaneously giving lenders a live picture of the businesses’ books.

“So even if a business is not strong enough for credit today, it might be in three months, and we can go watch your progression through this period and unlock the capital when the time is right, and then if that business grows out of the pandemic and recovers and is stronger, we’re going to be able to a broader and richer portfolio of credit.”

Although their target customer seems to be a digitally native merchant, Ruddock says that Nuula’s onboarding process is designed to be simple enough for a merchant who may not be as familiar with fintech.

“I’m a fifty-plus year-old CEO of a fintech company, and I would say I’m as digitally savvy as a twenty year-old, so it isn’t really about age anymore,” said Ruddock. “It’s by the way which [merchants] have embraced technology.”

“What we’ve done with Nuula is we’ve tried to make this product intuitive and simple for a first time app user and we’ve tried to help these folks get access to the data that now is sitting in a multitude of systems. While we believe people who have grown up in an app-centric world are going to be amongst the first adopters, we’re trying to make this product accessible for the fifty year-old restaurant owner too.”

Nuula plans on expanding their data harnessing tools with other fintechs early next year. “Over the next two weeks, we will actually unlock the ability for [merchant] sales data from Shopify or Square,” said Ruddock.

Lender is Providing $5K Incentive to Veteran-Owned Businesses

November 10, 2021
Article by:

fountainheadIn an effort to promote veteran entrepreneurship, Fountainhead, the nation’s leading SBA 7(a) and 504 non-bank lender, is providing funds to veterans to assist them with closing costs of the deal should they pursue funding through the company.

Fountainhead’s CEO Chris Hurn spoke exclusively to deBanked Wednesday about what Veterans Day means to him, his business, and how giving this group a break on the cost of capital is not just a marketing ploy, but a genuine attempt to give back to an underserved and under-recognized community.

“We have always been very supportive of veterans getting into entrepreneurship,” said Hurn. “[The promotion] is basically us gifting $5,000 on a transaction if they close with us.”

“Oftentimes, that’ll be enough to cover a real estate appraisal, enough to cover the environmental reports, it may be able to cover some of the credit reports, different things like that. We do put a cap on it, we are still a for-profit enterprise, but we are covering up to $5,000 of the closing costs.”

As a lender with more than two decades of experience, Hurn believes that veterans are some of the most trustworthy and reliable business owners to do business with. “Some lenders feel like veterans don’t have business experience, I disagree with that,” he said. “I think the military teaches people to be very organized, very disciplined, which are two critical pieces for entrepreneurship.”

From the lender’s perspective, Hurn believes that it is not only good business practices that military experience can provide, but honesty and creditworthiness when it comes to paying back a loan.

“Veteran business owners tend to be extremely organized, extremely disciplined in terms of operating the business. I’m not saying [non-veteran] business owners don’t have aspects of that, but I think the military does a tremendous job on teaching those character traits, which as a lender I find very helpful to make sure I’m getting repaid.”

According to Hurn, about a fifth of his clients are veterans, and he is hoping to increase that number with this promotion.

“[Veterans] are a very good credit risk, we want to encourage them to get into entrepreneurship, and I think it’s the right thing for the business community to do all they can to help veterans.”

Mississippi Fintech is Innovating Small Business Lending with Brokers in Mind

November 3, 2021
Article by:
Bradley Tompkins
Bradley Tompkins, CIO, Vergent

Vergent, a loan management software, is creating a space where brokers and lenders alike can manage all aspects of a deal in one place. Based in Ridgefield, Mississippi, Vergent is trying to innovate the industry with brokers in mind, pairing the small town values of interpersonal engagement and getting to know your customer with the big city ideas of fintech and automation. 

“Really what we provide is the technology infrastructure for lenders to reach their end user,” said Bradley Tompkins, Chief Information Officer at Vergent. “Whether that be a small business looking for a loan, we facilitate that acquisition, the origination of that loan, and the servicing of that loan. That could mean recurring payment setups, based upon the lender’s requirements, communication with that customer via email, text, however that is facilitated, and all the different payment options.”

Tompkins talked about how his software is one of the few that brokers in his area are already utilizing to start making deals smoother. With access to all aspects of the deal, Vergent provides an all-in-one suite of options that can turn the process of analyzing a deal or checking out a deal post-funding into a couple of clicks.

“We actually have brokers who use our software to accept applications, originate loans, and then we can either transfer that to a separate portfolio that the lender then manages for servicing, or sometimes we have brokers that service the loans themselves,” Tompkins said. “So there are really a lot of options on how to set that up in the platform, so the lender can have a separate site where they accept applications from multiple brokers, or really any combination of those things.”

The value of a direct relationship with the customer is top-tier according to Tompkins, as he spoke about the next great innovations in fintech not being how to weed the human interaction out, but finding its role that will find the balance between human touch and AI power. “Once you know your customer, you can give them the option to pay you back in the easiest way possible. Understanding how they get paid, their pay cycles, when they have money and being flexible to accept that money when they have it, and giving them those repayment options is the next great innovation.”

When talking about the ability to market his product to a wide audience, Tompkins acknowledged the difficulty due to the size of the industry itself, but touched on the value of networking events like Money 20/20, where Tompkins was pitching Vergent to an international audience.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of lenders we’ve seen, and the amount of opportunities that have come our way from [Money 20/20]. We came here pretty open minded, maybe talk to some payment processors and other vendors that may be able to integrate to us and kind of help expand our network, but really it’s just getting our name out, seeing a little bit of a different segment than what we normally see, and looking at other market opportunities.”

Appalachian Crowdfunder Gives Take on Business Lending

November 2, 2021
Article by:
pittsburghView from outside of Pittsburgh, PA

George Cook, whose family has been running a small community bank in rural Appalachia for over 130 years, has grown up in a world surrounded by banking in some of the most rural parts of America. Now the CEO of Honeycomb Credit, Cook has taken to a crowdfunding platform to start lending to businesses in his area. Cook shared his thoughts with deBanked about the state of lending, and how his product competes with ones already available on the lending market.

Cook spoke about how when he growing up, he always had a fascination with the relationship between the consumer and their banks combined with the difficulties for those consumers to get access to capital. “I spent a lot of time thinking about community banking, especially local capital,” said Cook.

When discussing competing products in the lending space, Cook thinks that his product will innovate his area with a style of lending that benefits both the borrower and investor. It appears that he thinks products like MCAs have become partially antiquated.

“I think the downside of [MCA] is inherently when your value proposition is fast money, you’re going to have a negative selection,” said Cook, when asked about fintech’s role in innovating small business lending. “You’re going to have a lot of desperate businesses who need money fast, which means you inherently have to charge a high interest rate and that has [deterred] a lot of business owners.”

George CookGeorge Cook, CEO, Honeycomb Credit

Cook referenced how the complexity of some MCA deals prevent small businesses from using them. “We talk to a lot of business owners who really don’t understand what a merchant cash advance is, they get caught in a debt trap, and it’s not a good situation. For me, I think the next evolution is, not saying merchant cash advances are going away, but I think they’ve been over extended. I think they’ve been overapplied in places where they don’t make sense.”

Cook hinted at new fintech loan products that have elements of MCA popping up in the lending world, as fintech innovates the industry.

“I think now we’re going to see the fintech space start to right the issue, come up with other capital solutions that make sense for small businesses for longer term capital. I think we’re going to see a lot of term loan products that act with different data and different attributes coming to bear, [thus] being able to bank these businesses.”

After working in fintech building big data credit analytics products prior to starting Honeycomb, Cook claims he saw a major issue with small businesses having access to capital long ago. He saw that the qualifications needed for business loans were the same as ones needed for consumer loans, and many small businesses just didn’t qualify for the capital they needed.

“[The system] didn’t work as well for small business lending because you know, small businesses don’t have as much operating history, they don’t have clean data sets, they’re not keeping their books really well, there’s not really a good data aggregator of small business data.”

Cook continued to speak about the issues with banks evaluating a small businesses’ credit and how this was causing a low approval rating. “A coffee shop looks a lot different than a fitness studio and those look a lot different than a manufacturing plant,” he said. “We were actually seeing a really large decrease in small business lending across the country.”

According to Cook, his company allows investors to take their money and put it right back into the community. He also claims that each one of his customers can expect returns ranging from six to twelve percent on an investment. 

Honeycomb makes money on success fees, which are the closing costs on the loan. There’s also an investor fee to get a foot in the door. 

“One of the things we’ve found is whenever you have retail investors, you have local people in the community voting with their wallets on these small business loans,” said Cook. “So we’re able to do small business loans in a way that no one else has been able to.”

Ireland is Funding Fintech Through Government Investment

November 2, 2021
Article by:

dublin irelandThe Irish government has taken a serious liking to fintech. With a broad history of being active in financial services, the nation believes they can attract companies from around the world to reap the benefits of employing Irish citizens, while also tapping a major source of export revenue through an up-and-coming industry. 

With access to capital for small businesses just as difficult here as it is in the US, a new fintech company looking for start-up cash may be able to turn to Dublin to get a major investment, rather than dealing with a retail investor or a venture capital firm here in the states. Enterprise Ireland, the organzation that runs these programs, is trying to tempt fintech companies looking for a fresh start or an international expansion to start that process in Ireland. 

“Enterprise Ireland is the trade development and venture capital arm of the Irish Government,” said Claire Verville, Senior Vice President of Fintech and Financial Services at Enterprise Ireland. “We are a semi state agency and our mandate is to help support indigenous Irish enterprise to grow and expand in global markets.”

Just like in the United States, it is extremely difficult for an Irish business to walk into a big bank and get a loan. It’s in these situations where the Irish government has decided to make a direct investment themselves. Through Enterprise Ireland, according to Verville, the Irish government can provide capital to startups across a range of areas, in exchange for things like loan repayment or government equity in the company. 

“In addition to the kind of more traditional trade development stuff that you would see from any government promoting their indigenous businesses abroad, we do invest directly in companies through equity and participate directly as a [limited partner] in funds to funds.”

Verville spoke about how the Irish government has been looking to extend funding to fintech startups for some time. “Our fintech portfolio is over 200 companies now, we have been one of the most active investors in Europe in a long time. We are one of the most active global investors across all sectors, and we’re really focused on early stage capital for fintech.”

galway irelandWhen asked about the decision making process that goes into Irish investments, Verville portrayed it the same as if it was a private firm making the same move. “We will vet like any other investment, make sure we’re comfortable with it, make sure that the business is verifiable, and that we understand the track record of the team,” she said.

Through investing in fintech, Enterprise Ireland appears to believe they will give their small business owners better access to capital. If the industry can create a Euro-American hub in Ireland, the latest tech and funding innovations will develop there, giving access to that technology to Irish businesses first. If Irish small business lenders can use Irish technology to help an Irish merchant, everyone wins.

With financial innovation in Europe being leaps ahead of the US, Verville believes the Irish employees working in finance would be better suited to deal with some of these new innovations over Americans because of their familiarity with these systems that are already in place. She hinted at things like EMV cards being around in Ireland for years at the consumer level before they ever made it to the United States. 

As far as incentive for profit, Enterprise Ireland isn’t concerned with the success of their investment from a financial perspective as other investment groups are. They instead focus on things like employment numbers and longterm sustainability for those jobs acquired through their efforts in investing in industries like fintech.

“Because we are attached to the government, we aren’t a money-making mission as far as venture capitalists go. We are focused on employment in Ireland, which is partly why it’s so important that the companies are founded in Ireland and that they are building their employee base in Ireland, and on export revenue.”

Verville spoke about how only when businesses in Ireland do well, Enterprise Ireland only does well, too. “We do make money off some of our investments, and that’s government money. We get our budget set by the government department every year, just like any other government agency.”

To be eligible for funding from Enterprise Ireland, a business needs to be based in Ireland, have an Irish LLC, and must have a significant amount of Irish employees. According to Verville, the Irish market is ripe for American small businesses, especially alternative finance.

Shopify Capital Originated $393.6M in MCAs and Business Loans in Q3

October 28, 2021
Article by:

Shopify Capital, the funding arm of e-commerce giant Shopify, originated $393.6M in merchant cash advances and business loans in Q3, the company reported. That’s up from the $363M in the previous quarter.

Covid was a boon to Shopify Capital given its dependence on e-commerce businesses. Its 2020 funding volume was almost double that of 2019.

“Shopify Capital has grown to approximately $2.7 billion in cumulative capital funded since its launch in April 2016,” the company announced. The large volume and continued success has landed the Shopify Capital division in the company’s “core” bucket of “near-term initiatives” that will build the company for the long term, according to a presentation accompanying Q3 earnings.


Slide #22 of their Q3 presentation

shopify capital

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