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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.

The Real Small Business Funding Demand Has Yet to Kick In

May 26, 2022
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Now that small and medium sized businesses received crucial PPP and EIDL funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have become more familiar with other options to obtain capital.

“…they’re learning that they can borrow money based on their revenue, not based on their credit and assets,” stated Sean Feighan, Co-founder and President of Cash Buoy. Feighan explained that the exercise of obtaining capital during Covid to stay in business created or further developed an appetite for small businesses to borrow money in general.

As these businesses are still utilizing the remaining government aid, the real demand has not truly begun, according to Dylan J Howell, CEO of Liquidibee. “…we have yet to see the real big demand that’s about to kick in, in my opinion, over the next six to twelve months, I believe that a lot more demand will come in,” Howell said. “A lot of companies received a good injection of government stimulus. And they’ve enjoyed that over the last year, year and a half. And as that comes to an end, companies are always looking for additional capital, whether it be to grow or foster future growth of their company.”

“I think we’re beginning now to see a new phase within small business,” said Avi Wernick, VP of Partnerships at FinTap. Because of the money that’s still lingering from the stimulus efforts, he thinks that alternative finance companies will soon see more demand in the coming months. But at the same time, those finance companies will have to determine if they’re even a good fit for their products. “I think some businesses will be more adversely affected. I think it depends a lot on the nature of the business owners, you know there are better business owners out there that are able to manage [their] finances more responsibly, and there are others that are kind of just more reactive.”

Erez Stamler, CEO and Managing Director of Fresh Funding, echoed a similar sentiment. He said that increased risk factors of a business coming out of Covid can make it harder to get them approved. Besides, a business now predisposed to forgivable funding or ultra long terms at very low interest may not necessarily demand other products in the market.

“So you will see demand, but you might not see increased amount of views or volume of deals, because you can’t replace SBA loans with MCA,” Stamler said.

Tomorrow’s Broker/Funder Relationship, According to Funders

February 23, 2022
Article by:

Looking out at the future“In the end, we all press zero to talk to someone.”

The conversation about what characteristics will make up tomorrow’s loan brokers is surrounded with ideas latched in fintech, social media, and more. Brokers from around North America have been showcasing these new strategies on social media or in chats with deBanked, which sparked the question — what do the funders think of all of this?

Efraim Kandinov, CEO of FundFi Merchant Funding, has a lot of ideas about how brokers should function in a constantly changing financial landscape. According to him, it’s not the style of funding or modernization of business logistics that will make tomorrow’s broker, but it’s leveraging ethics with both merchants and funders to preserve future business down the line.

“I believe more and more merchants look for the digital aspect and remove the broker because of the dishonesty that we usually uncover and want something clean without interpretation. Many issues with merchants in my opinion [stem] from being misled by the broker, promising something after to just take this deal or promising to get payments lowered and take an overleveraged position.”

Other funders think much differently, identifying a sense of community being brought about by tech, having a ‘we’re in this together’ type of mantra to hold the legacy industry up.

“There’s a sense of familiarity when dealing with my brokers,” said Amanda Schuster, CEO and President of Fundhouse LLC. “We’re your friends, we get you, we get your business.”

 

“AT THE END OF THE DAY, BUSINESS IS ALWAYS ABOUT THE PEOPLE”

 

Schuster believes that relationships between funders, brokers and merchants alike will help them weather the storm of tech’s emergence into their industry.” We are your business and it’s just as important to us that you succeed,” she said. “I have business owners that I still speak to this day, that I funded over five years ago.”

Schuster dismissed companies like PayPal, Square, and Shopify’s takeover of small business lending, circling back to the interpersonal value that a broker provides as a face to a financial product.

“At the end of the day, business is always about the people,” she said. It’s about creating a need and filling it. You can’t do that on a website.”

When asked about the value of this happy-go-lucky community of brokers, funders and merchants, Kandinov brought up how some brokers have found ways around the ‘repeat business’ model of funding deals, thus making relationships between brokers and merchants pointless.

“I think brokers are less caring of repeat business because they have discovered a short term model of stack, stack, stack, and then put in a reverse. This front loads commission. I believe a broker has a huge advantage in creating the relationship. [This] unfortunately is starting to take a back seat to a new way to score big commissions.”

 

“I DO NOT BELIEVE FINTECH ALONE IS ADVANTAGEOUS, JUST IN SPEED AND CLARITY”

 

Kandinov spoke about brokers who will say anything to make a sale carelessly shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to forming a book of business. By saying whatever they need to get paid now, merchants are either going straight to the funders to big tech for their next source of funding.

“Jaded merchants then look to only speak to the funding house in the future and stay or just prefer the direct to consumer model of fintech,” said Kandinov.

Despite these feelings, Kandinov does believe that there’s a bright outlook on the future of the broker/funder relationship if some change occurs.

“[Brokers] deserve their high commissions as they do a lot of work. I think funding houses have much less overhead with the broker model, but lately with the broker behavior it is almost pushing themselves out if it continues. I do not believe fintech alone is advantageous, just in speed and clarity. It’s a byproduct of poor behavior.”

Enova and Nav Partner Up, Leveraging Data for Instant Funding

February 9, 2022
Article by:

Enova - NavIntelligent financing platform Nav has announced an expanded partnership with small business lender Enova, bringing a mass amount of data to the X’s and O’s of small business financing approvals and funding processes of companies like OnDeck and Headway Capital, subsidiaries of Enova.

According to a joint press release, the move will create the first two-sided open marketplace in small business lending.

“Two-sided means we are bringing together both the demand and the supply,” said Greg Ott, CEO of Nav. [Nav] is the platform in the middle which allows small businesses to compare their options using the real data that the supplier, say lenders like Enova, use so that the small business owner can understand what they qualify for before they apply.”

As the head of a company that uses the value of data as a business model, Ott spoke about the harvesting of such data in ways that’s mutually benefits all parties.

“It’s all permissible, part of the desire for a lot of companies to get more data is you have to have a value proposition for small business owners to share their data,” said Ott. “Because Nav allows you to compare your options, we connect three commercial bureaus, we connect two personal bureaus, and then we connect the bank accounts so we can see the cash flow data. In certain cases, we may connect with merchant processing data, accounting data, and other data sets that the small business owners connect into our platform.”

While data will provide the merchant with options on different types of financing, the lenders also have a benefit in leveraging data provided by merchants to Nav from a marketing perspective. By having merchants input their own information, Enova and its subsidiaries like OnDeck and Headway Capital can offer those potential borrowers ‘instant funding’.

“I think [instant funding] is something that Enova has tried to do for a long time,” said Jim Granat, Head of Enova SMB. We’re trying to make things where the access to capital is as effortless as possible for the hard working Americans or business owners. We try really hard to take that approach in the way we design our product because in today’s world of ‘always online’ expectations for business owners, we want to provide the type of experience that allows them to have certainty, if it’s at all possible, as fast as they can.”

Granat stressed that effortless access to capital for merchants is the best way to differentiate one funder from another when trying to lend a small business money.

“An effortless experience allows [merchants] to know what they can do for their business as well [lenders] being able to capture the different business owners’ attention at the moment that they need it.”

Funding Circle Partners With Nationwide in Mutual Referral Program

February 1, 2022
Article by:

Funding Circle WebDenver-based small business lender Funding Circle announced a partnership with Nationwide Insurance, in a move designed to improve access to capital for businesses that use Nationwide as their insurance providers. The move is a continued trend in the small business financing industry to create access to resources surrounding business financing in places that merchants are interacting with on a daily basis.

“Funding Circle is thrilled to partner with Nationwide to offer essential resources that seamlessly supplement our customers’ business needs and set them up for success in a competitive market,” said Vipul Chhabra, Managing Director of Funding Circle US.

“This first-of-its-kind partnership with one of the country’s leading insurance and financial services providers embodies our core values,” said Chhabra. “[Our values are] to truly support American small business owners in accomplishing their goals, especially among underserved populations that banks typically are not incentivized to reach.”

On top of access to funding, the partnership offers access to resources surrounding small business financing to Nationwide customers. According to a press release by the companies, this is the first merger of a top insurance company with an online lending platform. 

“Today’s hardworking business owners have a variety of insurance and financial needs. They are looking for innovative ways to have those needs met so they can focus on running their companies,” said Kasey Ketcham, Associate Vice President of Commercial Digital Enablement at Nationwide. 

“This partnership with Funding Circle is another example of Nationwide’s commitment to addressing the challenges small business owners are facing,” said Ketcham. “[Nationwide is] offering expert guidance and comprehensive insurance and lending resources hand-in-hand to help them make informed decisions to fortify their business and livelihoods.”

According to Nationwide, the partnership will be a mutual referral program, where Funding Circle customers will be exposed to Nationwide products, and Nationwide customers will be exposed to Funding Circle products. Nationwide representatives explained the partnership exclusivley to deBanked. 

“Exactly what is provided through Nationwide.com or the app is a link to Funding Circle,” said a Nationwide representative. “Once there, the user can complete an application for loan coverage, but are not granted special exception because they came from Nationwide.”

“They would still go through the loan application and underwriting for funds and vice versa,” said the representative. “The Funding Circle website/app is providing a link to Nationwide that the user can ‘learn more’ through the Coverage Assistant page, or “get a quote” using Nationwide Business Express.”

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.”

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