|03/25/2021||PIRS Capital on Regionals and Crains lists|
|01/27/2021||PIRS Capital updates portal|
|11/07/2019||PIRS Capital, Fundera on Fast 50 list|
|09/28/2018||Meet PIRS Capital on Oct 4th in San Diego|
|08/21/2018||PIRS Capital secures additional $10M|
Interview With Matthew Washington - PIRS Capital
I recently connected with Matthew Washington, the Chief Revenue Officer of PIRS Capital to get his take on the state of the industry right now and whether or not there are opportunities in the market. Video below:
Crain’s New York Business has revealed its Fast 50 companies. Among them are Fundera (#22 with 720% 3-year growth) and PIRS Capital (#50 with 230% 3-year growth).
Crain’s says that to be considered for the Fast 50, firms had to be at least four years old, generate at least $10 million in 2018 revenue and be headquartered in the New York metropolitan area, which includes the five boroughs; Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties; and Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris and Union counties in New Jersey.
#1 on the list was Hoboken-based Bear Mattress with 3-year growth of 13,481%.
PIRS Capital is a sponsor of deBanked CONNECT San Diego. The half-day event for funders, lenders, brokers and industry professionals is being held at the Andaz on October 4th!
A year into the pandemic and from the deBanked office in Brooklyn, it looks like the world is opening up again.
After a year of Zoom and LinkedIn networking, those in the industry lucky or talented enough to have survived can still complain without restraint about big government lockdowns and misguided legislation. Competing with Uncle Sam’s deep PPP pockets have slowed deals down, and with a new fund opening this week for restaurants, it might be more of the same.
But two funders said that though there is an initial slowdown when a new stimulus is rolled out, the programs have still been vital for business– and if firms kept up with contacts, the business could be booming even after the pandemic.
CEO David Leibowitz of San Diego-based Mulligan Funding said that his firm survived the worst of the shutdown. That was due in no small part to government programs that kept merchants in business.
“People forget where we were sitting in April, May last year, 20 million people filed for unemployment. The segments of the market that we serve in general don’t have more than 30 days of cash on hand at any time,” Leibowitz said. “There’s no chance that our market survives that without the level of government support that they’ve been given.”
Sure, there’s a dampening effect at first, but there wouldn’t be B2B without businesses to fund. Leibowitz said he thinks the macroeconomic effects of printing money will have consequences in the long term, but it’s the lesser of two evils.
Matthew Washington, the well-known CRO of PIRS Capital, has also been vocal about PPP. Like Liebowitz, he said it has its pros and cons, creating a slowdown and demand for capital in one stroke. In his experience, because the stimulus was limited to payroll and rent, merchants were hungry for other products.
“They’re only able to allocate it for certain things, payroll, and hiring people, right,” Washington said. “Our funding allows them to be able to use capital for other opportunities, like buying supplies, buying inventory. Although it’s kind of been somewhat slow, they need to have other working capital needs to be provided for.”
Washington also said some merchants used their PPP funds as low-interest loans, paying off and refinancing advances. PIRS has succeeded through the pandemic due to its relationship-based model.
“It’s all about keeping in touch with your merchants during this time, having a big pulse with the people you do business with,” Washington said. “We’re really a lean and mean company, we kind of have the community bank approach to this space; we’re more relationship-based.”
PIRS had only paused for 60 days and was lucky enough to be set up with recurring merchant partners that turned out to be essential businesses.
“We were very blessed; a lot of our portfolio was operating during the shutdown,” Washington said. “Our portfolio did very well for the circumstance.”
That was how they survived, a lot of good faith and hard work, but pinches of luck as well. Leibowitz said that contrary to popular belief, many good people lost their business during the pandemic. It wasn’t just bad actors and funders with terrible underwriting.
“In March, we had customers who, for reasons totally beyond their control, couldn’t pay. And we weren’t sure in March, how long that would go on for, we weren’t sure how bad it would get,” Leibowitz said. “If you’d asked me in March, April, were we going to survive this thing. There’s no way I would have been able to give you a confident answer.”
Some with public securitizations, well-run businesses, dropped out and disappeared. Leibowitz said Mulligan was able to keep every employee on staff and got through the “sh*t show.” In part, it was with help from competitors who specialized in PPP funding that Leibowitz said his firm was still going strong.
“So I think for all of its shortcomings, I have a world of respect for the SBA and the program. I think of Brock and guys at Lendio, I think of the guys at BlueVine and Kabbage, who really have done a truly extraordinary job of distributing that product to our target market,” Leibowitz said. “And I’m sitting here today, unquestionably, enjoying the benefit.”
So PPP helped, despite the slowdowns, in the short term, and Liebowitz said in the long term, the government overspending might get hairy. But with talk about the world opening back up, with bars open down the block for the first time in a year, what does Washington think about the near future?
The world just isn’t going to stop; it’s just evolving with the new temp of what’s going on; I think there’s a lot of positive things on the horizon for our business,” Washington said. “Once the vaccine rates, and everyone’s ‘cured’ how are they not going to open up.”
Here’s where fintech and online lending rank on the Inc 5000 list for 2020:
|351||Direct Funding Now||1,297%|
|647||Fund That Flip||724%|
|1229||Smart Business Funding||365%|
|1282||Global Lending Services||349%|
|1502||Fountainhead Commercial Capital||293%|
|1933||Choice Merchant Solutions||218%|
|2466||Bankers Healthcare Group||167%|
|2537||Central Diligence Group||162%|
|3062||Shore Funding Solutions||127%|
|4344||Yalber & Got Capital||76%|
|4509||Expansion Capital Group||70%|
Nearly three months on from the beginning of the United States’ lockdown, the alternative finance industry is starting to feel a recovery. As states look to ease lockdowns, businesses seek to start back up, and offices are reopening, an element of normalcy, if it can be called that, appears to be returning. deBanked reached out to a number of businesses in the industry to find out how they were plotting their recovery, as well as what they thought of the future for the space and the American economy.
One such company was Everest Business Funding. After experiencing a strong start to 2020 in January and February, covid-19 and the economic shutdown that accompanied it came as a shock to Everest, CEO Scott Crocket explained.
“It’s difficult to imagine an exogenous event outside of our control that could more squarely impact an industry like this,” Crockett stated. “I mean, after all, we provide capital to small and medium-sized businesses all across the United States, all 50 states, every type of small business you can imagine. And we’re cruising along, we had a record 2019, we’re off to a great start with January, February, even the beginning of March … and we really saw it come on in the third week of March, the week that started with Monday the 16th. It started as a kind of a trickle in, but by the end of the week it was more of a tidal wave in terms of the number of small businesses in our portfolio that were calling in looking for some type of relief as a result of what was happening.”
Crockett said that they paused all new funding the following week, out of concern for the company’s ability to generate business while there was a national economic shutdown in place. Since then however, Everest has been slowly getting back to what it was, with employees now returning to the office in waves and discussions being had over when exactly to start funding again, be it late June or early July.
Another firm that halted its funding operations was the New York-based PIRS Capital. Similarly, it was mid-March when the pressure was first felt, and PIRS didn’t return to funding until May 15th. PIRS COO Andrew Mallinger chalked this up to the company’s lack of reliance on automated underwriting processes, saying that although “the industry was leaning towards automatic funding and all these models and 20-second approvals, we weren’t fully invested in that yet. So it was good to see that the old-school approach is back and working again, interfacing with these brokers and really understanding their deals and what they’re bringing to the table.”
Mallinger is also confident going into the rest of 2020. Saying that while the company is maintaining a cautiously optimistic outlook, PIRS is working off the assumption that there will eventually be growth this year and that it is set to continue working from home for however long that may be, on the basis that New York may be one of the last states to return to offices.
Also looking forward is Velocity Group USA’s Trace Feinstein, who believes there will tough times ahead for many in the industry, but who also holds that there are opportunities for those who can make it through.
“Anyone who can weather this storm is going to come out 10 times better than they did going in.” The Chief Syndication Officer said in a call. “It’s an adjustment for our economy, it’s an adjustment for our country, and I think it’s an adjustment for our industry on top of that. So there’s a lot of different changes and things are going to be happening, but I think it’s going to be very good for the ones who make it out of it.”
Feinstein, who said that most of Velocity’s workers are back in its offices, noted that it approached underwriting during the pandemic with thoroughness. Daily underwriting meetings entailed going through each state, looking at what was happening there with infection rates, and discussing how various industries could be affected.
Reporting that applications following the lockdown were actually cleaner than before, with average credit scores going up to be between 650 and 750, Feinstein explained that he pushed underwriters to rely on common sense rather than overthinking their decisions and to treat these deals like they would any MCA application.
And while many funders have struggled through the lockdown period, another part of the industry, collection agencies, have been doing well after an initially tough stretch.
Shawn Smith of Minneapolis’ Dedicated Commercial Recovery has claimed to have grown the company’s portfolio by 100% in 60 days despite a particularly trying period in mid-April. Explaining that the company was two weeks away from having to bring in strict measures to keep things going, Dedicated began getting calls again just in time, with its clients mostly phoning in about MCA deals.
Looking ahead, Smith is anticipating a busy summer and fall as businesses, funders, and the courts come back, but he is worried about a second wave and the alternative finance industry not putting in the precautions needed to stave off the economic impacts this next time around.
“Anyone can lend out a lot of money or put out a lot of money on the street, but your ability to get it back is going to be very important, and you want the fire extinguisher in place before the house is on fire … what you’re seeing in the MCA industry is because it’s just not as aged as the equipment leasing and banking industries … the MCA companies just didn’t have 20-30 year veterans in collections and legal … we’re so concerned with how to write more deals and get more money out there, and not about how to get it back and not about having strong enough underwriting standards and things like that. So when it got stress tested, the pain came back real quick.”
Likewise, Kearns Brinen & Monaghan’s Mark LeFevre claimed that after having a rocky road during the earlier stages of the pandemic and switching to a “plan B” for the year, the collections company is optimistic about going forward. Having weathered what may be the worst stretch without having had to furlough or lay-off anyone, KBM now has brought most of its workers back after a reworking of the office space. A pre-return fumigation, sneeze guards, and temperature-taking upon re-entry to the office building have all been employed after KBM’s employees asked to return to the workplace.
“The industry is changing literally day to day,” explained the President and CEO. “Some of the laws that are passed by the House and by the Senate are changing quicker than I’ve ever seen. I’ve just never seen it before. But I think it’s for the better and we’re starting to see the comeback of the economy, the stock market, employment. The unemployment numbers are really good and, in my opinion, [the numbers will] continue to go down from what we’re seeing in our industry.”
The below chart ranks several companies in the non-bank small business financing space by revenue over the last 5 years. The data is primarily drawn from reports submitted to the Inc. 5000 list, public earnings statements, or published media reports. It is not comprehensive. Companies for which no data is publicly available are excluded. Want to add your figures? Email Sean@debanked.com
|Global Lending Services||$232,200,000||$125,700,000|
|Bankers Healthcare Group||$220,300,000||$160,300,000||$93,825,129|
|Envision Capital Group||$32,700,000|
|Expansion Capital Group||$31,300,300||$23,400,000|
|1 Global Capital||bankruptcy||$22,600,000|
|Channel Partners Capital||$23,000,000||$14,500,000||$2,207,927||$4,013,608|
|United Capital Source||$9,735,350||$8,465,260||$3,917,193|
|US Business Funding||$14,800,000||$9,100,000||$5,794,936|
|Seek Business Capital||$8,800,000|
|Funding Merchant Source||$7,500,000|
|Shore Funding Solutions||$5,000,000||$4,300,000|
|Eagle Business Credit||$3,600,000||$2,600,000|
|Swift Capital||acquired by PayPal||$88,600,000||$51,400,000||$27,540,900|
|Blue Bridge Financial||$6,569,714||$5,470,564|
|Fast Capital 360||$6,264,924|
|Priority Funding Solutions||$2,599,931|
PIRS Capital is a new site sponsor...
please welcome pirs capital as a new site sponsor. to learn more visit their website. :cool::)...
pirs capital, principis, quicksilver, rapidfinance, snap. likely some others....
pirs capital - talk to matt washington...