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04/26/2024Parafin partners with Hostaway
04/09/2024Parafin lands $125M


How the Amazon / Parafin Merchant Cash Advance Deal Came to Be

November 2, 2022
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Back in December, Parafin, then a fintech startup with 20 employees, submitted a proposal to Amazon to roll out a potential Amazon merchant cash advance product. At the time, Parafin was little known to the general public and its surprise deal with DoorDash wouldn’t even become public until a month later.

AmazonThe prospect of an MCA would not have been foreign to Amazon given that the company already offers direct business loans, lines of credit through Marcus by Goldman Sachs, and other loans thanks to a successful pilot with Lendistry. But the team behind Parafin were virtual unknowns in the merchant cash advance industry itself. The company’s 3 co-founders, including CEO Sahill Poddar, all hail from Robinhood, the investment app that became wildly popular especially with younger adults over the last several years.

Coincidentally, more than a dozen people employed by Parafin, including the co-founders, are former Robinhood employees, according to profiles reviewed on LinkedIn. It’s part of a trend, it appears, as other members of their team hail from well known Silicon Valley firms like Lending Club, Stripe, Funding Circle, Google, Amazon, Facebook, StreetShares, and more.

Ultimately, Parafin’s big bet paid off. On Tuesday, November 1st, Amazon announced that the Parafin team was the one it had chosen to debut its official merchant cash advance product.

“Amazon is committed to providing convenient and flexible access to capital for our sellers, regardless of their size,” said Tai Koottatep, director and general manager, Amazon WW B2B Payments & Lending, in the announcement. “Today’s launch is another milestone in strengthening Amazon’s commitment to sellers, and builds on the strong portfolio of financial solutions we already provide. This latest offering significantly expands sellers’ reach and capabilities, and broadens their access to capital in a flexible way—one that helps them control their cashflow, and by extension, their entire business.”

“We founded Parafin with the mission to grow small businesses, and we’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to do that by providing Amazon sellers with this merchant cash advance option,” said Vineet Goel, co-founder of Parafin. “It’s a privilege to count ourselves among Amazon’s suite of financial solutions, and we look forward to making a difference for sellers looking to expand their business.”

The product is already listed on Amazon’s website and was rolled out to some US businesses immediately. It will be available to hundreds of thousands of additional sellers by early 2023, the company claims.

available products on amazon

Unique to an Amazon MCA is that funding amounts can start as low as $500 and go up to $10 million.

Amazon’s entrance into the merchant cash advance market coincides wih a unique moment in the product’s history as several states are in the midst of imposing strict regulations on their sale.

Lavu Adds MCA Product Through Partnership With Parafin

October 7, 2022
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LavuIt’s not just DoorDash that Parafin has partnered up with to provide MCA funding. Last week, the restaurant software company Lavu launched Lavu Capital to help restaurants owners access capital.

“We are a restaurant software company that focuses on small and medium restaurants,” said Saleem S. Khatri, CEO of Lavu. “Think of your favorite restaurants that have one or two locations that are really really popular, that are ingrained in the community. We do everything from point of sale to online ordering, payment processing, and anything a restaurant would need to start and grow their business.”

Khatri said that one thing they noticed is that these restaurants have a fundamentally hard time getting loans and that led them to connect with Parafin. Parafin’s product is an advance on future sales, not a loan, and their offerings have been simply integrated into Lavu’s technology. Parafin automatically generates an offer for restaurant owners that they can see in their Lavu dashboard.

“…it’s just really beautifully designed,” said Khatri. “It basically says, ‘Hey, you have an offer to borrow up to $5,000. Do you want it yes or no?’ And you just click ‘yes’ and you’re good to go, the money deposits straight into your bank account, and then you have a repayment schedule. And it just pulls it directly from your bank account according to that repayment schedule.”

Khatri says they haven’t really begun to market the product yet and they’ve just started off with a limited base of customers but that the plan is to roll it out to all their customers around the US. They’d even do it with their customers outside of the US if they could, but the tech is not set up to do that just yet.

“This is going to be a feature and an offering that really really benefits our customers because it gets to the heart of what they need, which is they’re in constant need of liquidity, they’re in constant need of kind of tools to run their business better,” Khatri said. “And it just really fits our portfolio of products that we offer to these customers. So the reception has been awesome.”

Amazon Discontinues Its In-House Business Loans

March 9, 2024
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amazon truckAfter deBanked reported that Amazon’s on-balance-sheet business loan receivables had remained steady throughout 2023, the company has abruptly decided to terminate its in-house lending program altogether.

Through an email confirmed to Fortune, Amazon ended its in-house term loan business on March 6. That same story says that they will continue to work with third party lenders and funders as they have been doing for a while. Some of their partners include Lendistry, SellersFi, and Parafin.

The in-house program had been running since 2011 and was first discovered by deBanked in 2013.

While the company was shy about disclosing origination figures, it carried approximately $1.3B in loan receivables on its books throughout last year.

The Amazon news coincides with the announcement that business loan rival Funding Circle has decided to exit the US market. Funding Circle US is currently up for sale.

The Biggest Small Business Funders

February 21, 2024
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Although all of the specific data isn’t entirely available, we’ve compiled a short list of who the largest small business funders were in 2023:

1. Square
2. Enova
3. PayPal
4. Shopify
5. Amazon
6. Intuit
7. Parafin


Amazon’s On-Balance-Sheet Business Loan Program Steady

February 11, 2024
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amazon truckAmazon’s business loan program was relatively steady in Q4 if its seller lending receivables are any indication. Those receivables totaled $1.3B, which was in line with where it has been throughout 2023. Compared to Amazon’s overall business, which generated $170 billion in sales in Q4 alone, its in-house lending business is rarely if at all mentioned.

Part of this is because Amazon has forged ties with third parties to service large swaths of its sellers. These parties include Parafin, Lendistry, and more recently SellersFi.

“Amazon is committed to providing our sellers with flexible and convenient access to capital, regardless of their size,” said Tai Koottatep, director and general manager, Amazon WW B2B Payments & Lending as part of the SellersFi announcement last month. “Through this lending option with SellersFi, we’re able to strengthen that commitment and offer sellers even more opportunities to grow their business.”

“Working with the Amazon Lending team has been an exceptional experience for SellersFi,” said Leonardo Felisberto, Head of Global Business Development and Partnerships at SellersFi during that same announcement. “Their dedication to empowering sellers aligns perfectly with our mission, and together, we’ve unlocked more possibilities for e-commerce entrepreneurs. We’re hopeful this can be another step toward supporting the growth aspirations of online sellers in the US and beyond.”

Amazon’s Business Loan Program Relatively Flat, And The Company is Now Possibly the Largest MCA Broker?

October 29, 2023
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amazon truckAmazon’s seller lending program, in which the company extends working capital loans to Amazon sellers to buy inventory, has been somewhat flat this year. Its seller lending receivables in Q3 were unchanged from Q1, coming in at $1.2B. It had briefly gone up in Q2 to $1.3B.

Amazon rarely mentions its seller lending business which is but a blip compared to the $143B in net sales the company recorded in just the third quarter. Despite all this cash, Amazon relies on a $1.5B secured revolving credit facility with a lender in the same way many small business lenders do to facilitate this amount of loan volume.

deBanked has been tracking the company’s seller lending receivables balance since 2016.

Amazon’s separate merchant cash advance program is not counted as part of their selling lending program. Amazon partnered up with Parafin in November 2022 to offer MCAs to their clients. One consequence of that is that Amazon sellers talk publicly in the company’s Seller Central forums and this has been no exception. There, most mentions of Parafin have so far been less than flattering.

Much of the confusion reported by sellers is centered around the percentage collected from each sale. Unlike most MCA funding companies, which either withhold a percentage of card sales or debit a fixed daily amount that can later be trued-up upon request, Amazon was previously collecting its percentage “based on whether a seller had received any disbursements, automatic or manual, in the prior week.” However, that changed this past August, according to Amazon who published the following note in their forum:

Payment is deducted from your bank account based on your current Amazon disbursement schedule. If you receive disbursements weekly, payments for your cash advance will be deducted weekly. If you receive disbursements bi-weekly, payments for your cash advance will be deducted bi-weekly. In instances where Amazon sales data is delayed in reaching Parafin, Parafin combines the payment amount with the subsequent payment to avoid debits happening on unexpected days of the week. Sellers whose payments are impacted by these instances receive emails from Parafin detailing the expected payment dates and adjusted amounts.

“Your merchant cash advance will be paid off automatically over time as you make successive sales-based payments. Because your offer is determined in part by your past business performance, our estimate is that you’ll pay your merchant cash advance within the estimated timeframe stated when you accepted it. If your sales ramp up or slow down, your payment amounts (and therefore the estimated payment period) may ramp up or slow down with them. The payment rate itself will not change and is a fixed percentage of monthly sales.”

Although there is some irony to Amazon playing the role of MCA broker and MCA customer service, Amazon also refers its loan-interested sellers to Lendistry and Marcus by Goldman Sachs. All of this activity started late last year just as Amazon was on pace to max out its own credit facility with its own lending program. Since then, the company’s flat business loan receivable balance might suggest that Amazon’s seller financing business is actually growing, just not on its own balance sheet since its brokering the deals out.

So who’s the biggest MCA broker in the US? Amazon generated $514B in net sales in 2022. $1B in MCA deals wouldn’t be so hard for a company already doing about a billion a year in loans. It would be quite ironic to discover that the biggest MCA broker in 2023 was Jeff Bezos, but it’s a real possibility.

Amazon’s Seller Lending Program Receivables Cool Off

April 30, 2023
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AmazonAccording to documents purportedly obtained by Business Insider in January, Amazon had planned to increase its business loan operations in 2023, estimating that its loan receivables would eventually exceed $2B. Instead, the receivables figure has been slowly going in reverse, according to an examination of the company’s regular quarterly earnings reports. Amazon’s seller lending receivables hit a high of $1.4B in Q3 of 2022 but then ticked downward to $1.3B by year end. In Q1 of this year, those receivables had gone down again to $1.2B.

Amazon’s Seller Lending Receivables
2016: $661M
2017: $692M
2018: $710M
2019: $863M
2020: $381M (covid)
2021: $1B
2022 (Q1): $1.1B
2022 (Q2): $1.3B
2022 (Q3): $1.4B
2022 (Q4): $1.3B
2023 (Q1): $1.2B

Not counted in these figures is financing to Amazon sellers conducted through a third party. Amazon teamed up with Parafin on merchant cash advances, Lendistry for Business Loans, and Marcus for lines of credit, for example. Data on funding from these parties is a little more difficult to come by.

All Registered Sales-based Financing Providers in Virginia (As of 3-29-23)

April 2, 2023
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Is the revenue-based financing provider you do business with registered to operate in Virginia? On July 1, 2022, Virginia’s commercial financing disclosure law went into effect and with that the necessity to register one’s business. As of March 29, 2023, 101 companies had registered. This is the official list of registered sales-based financing providers as of that date (yellow means it has been added since our last update):

  • Advance Servicing Inc.
  • Accredited Business Solutions LLC dba The Accredited Group
  • Advance Funds Network LLC dba Advance Funds Network
  • AdvancePoint Capital LLC dba advancepoint
  • Ally Merchant Services LLC
  • Alpine Funding Partners, LLC
  • Business Capital LLC
  • Byzfunder NY LLC dba Tandem dba Nano-FI
  • Bridge Capital Services, LLC
  • CFG Merchant Solutions, LLC
  • Clarify Capital II LLC dba Clarify Capital
  • Cloudfund VA LLC dba Cloudfund LLC
  • Capflow Funding Group Managers LLC
  • Clear Finance Technology (U.S.) Corp. dba Clearco
  • Coast Premier LLC dba Coast Funding
  • Commercial Servicing Company, LLC
  • Corporate Lodging Consultants, Inc.
  • Crown Funding Source LLC dba Crown Funding Source
  • Diesel Funding LLC
  • Direct Capital Source Inc.
  • Dealstruck Capital LLC
  • EBF Holdings, LLC
  • Essential Funding Group Inc
  • Errant Ventures LLC
  • FC Capital Holdings, LLC FundCanna
  • Fidelity Funding Group LLC
  • Front Capital LLC
  • Finova Capital, LLC
  • Fintegra, LLC
  • First Data Merchant Services LLC
  • First Path Capital Ventures LLC dba First Path Capital
  • FleetCor Technologies Operating Company, LLC
  • Flexibility Capital Inc.
  • Fora Financial East LLC
  • Forward Financing LLC
  • Fox Capital Group Inc.
  • Fundamental Capital LLC
  • Funding Metrics, LLC dba Quick Fix Capital
  • Good Funding, LLC
  • Granite Merchant Funding, LLC
  • Invision Funding LLC
  • Itria Ventures LLC
  • Jaydee Ventures, LLC dba 1 West Capital dba 1 West Commercial
  • Kapitus LLC
  • Knight Capital Funding III, LLC
  • Lexington Capital Holdings Ltd
  • LG Funding LLC
  • Legend Advance Funding II, LLC dba Legend Funding
  • Liberis US Inc.
  • Libertas Funding, LLC
  • Liquidibee 1 LLC dba Liquidibee LLC dba
  • Loanability, Inc.
  • Millstone Funding Inc.
  • National Funding, Inc.
  • Nav Technologies, Inc.
  • Orange Advance LLC
  • Pearl Alpha Funding, LLC
  • Pearl Beta Funding, LLC
  • Pearl Delta Funding, LLC
  • Proto Financial Corp.
  • PWCC Marketplace, LLC
  • Parafin, Inc.
  • PayPal, Inc.
  • Payability Commercial Factors, LLC
  • Pinnacle Business Funding LLC dba Custom Capital USA dba EnN OD Capital
  • Platform Funding LLC
  • Prosperum Capital Partners LLC dba Arsenal Funding
  • QFS Capital LLC
  • RFG USA Inc.
  • Rival Funding, LLC
  • Riverpoint Financial Group Inc.
  • Rocket Capital NY LLC
  • Ruby Capital Group LLC
  • Rapid Financial Services, LLC
  • Reliant Services Group, LLC
  • Retail Capital LLC dba Credibly
  • Revenued LLC
  • Rewards Network Establishment Services Inc.
  • Secure Capital Solutions Inc.
  • Sky Bridge Business Funding, LLC
  • SMB Compass LLC dba SMB Compass
  • Sunrise Funding LLC
  • Santa Barbara Tax Products Group, LLC
  • SellersFunding Corp.
  • Sharpe Capital, LLC
  • Shine Capital Group LLC
  • Shopify Capital Inc.
  • Shore Funding Solutions Inc.
  • Streamline Funding, LLC
  • Stripe Brokering, Inc.
  • The LCF Group, Inc.
  • Unique Funding Solutions LLC
  • United Capital Source Inc.
  • Upfront Rent Holdings LLC
  • Upper Line Capital LLC
  • Vader Servicing, LLC
  • Velocity Capital Group LLC
  • Vivian Capital Group LLC
  • Vox Funding, LLC
  • ZING Funding I, LLC