|06/08/2018||US Business Funding will keep their name|
|06/05/2018||Fora acquires stake in US Business Funding|
Interview with Peter Ribeiro, US Business Funding - With deBanked
I recently caught up with Peter Ribeiro, CEO of US Business Funding, based in Santa Ana, California. US Business Funding is quite well known on social media for their company culture.
I asked Ribeiro about what 2020 has been like as a broker in this wild year of 2020 and you can watch it in full below:
Fora Financial’s announcement yesterday that it acquired a sizable stake in US Business Funding (USBF) will create one of the “largest, broadest reaching direct sales organizations in the small business alternative lending space,” the company said in a statement.
USBF is a direct sales and marketing company of about 40 to 50 people. Fora Financial founder and CEO told deBanked that his company started working with USBF to obtain leads two years ago and that this acquisition has been in the works for between 12 to 18 months.
“We were looking for a team that does direct sales and marketing that complements what we do,” Feldman said. “And they’re one of the best at [direct marketing] in the business.”
USBF is based in Santa Ana, CA, and has connected customers to financing since 2008, with an emphasis originally on equipment financing. In 2012, they started facilitating working capital deals and that now makes up 85 percent of the company’s business, according to its CEO Peter Ribeiro.
They provide financing solutions ranging from $10,000 to $10 million. Fora Financial, also established in 2008, is a New York-based funding company that funds MCA deals and provides small business loans up to $500,000.
Consistent with yesterday’s announcement, Feldman said that with Fora Financial and USBF combined, they will likely originate $400 million year. Feldman told deBanked today that, of this amount, about $300 million should come from direct sales.
“We’re more heavily weighted towards direct sales,” Feldman said.
Formerly a company of 100, the new entity will now include about 150 employees and will share resources like capital, technology and access to help with compliance, Feldman said. USBF will retain its name, location and all of its employees.
“We wouldn’t have done this deal unless Peter [USBF founder and CEO] and his team agreed to stay on,” Feldman said. “They have a fantastic brand and we want to avoid getting in their way. We just want to help them to continue doing what they do.”
Feldman said that while USBF will retain its name, “we’re now a combined entity with an east and west coast operation.”
Fora Financial acquired USBF because it did something unique, and Feldman said that Fora is looking for opportunities to acquire other companies that do uniques things in the financing space.
Fora Financial’s newly acquired stake (a significant one) in US Business Funding will put them on track to originate $400 million a year, the company said. Those numbers will place them on the list with industry titans like BFS Capital, Strategic Funding and National Funding.
The co-founders of Fora were previously featured on deBanked’s Jan/Feb 2016 magazine issue.
US Business Funding (USBF), who is based in Santa Ana, CA facilitates different financing products for small businesses including vendor programs, capital equipment loans, and leasing solutions.
“This is an exciting time for all of us at US Business Funding,” said USBF CEO Peter Ribeiro in a published statement. “We have rapidly built one of the top sales organizations in the industry, and now we have the opportunity to leverage the expertise and resources of Fora Financial to fuel our growth even further. Jared and Dan have established Fora Financial as one of the top lenders in the space, and we are motivated to build on our terrific relationship with them to create even more opportunities for our companies to succeed.”
deBanked is hosting a livestream broadcast tomorrow beginning at 10:30 AM from a venue in Midtown Manhattan with guest speakers from two broker shops and a business funding company. There is no need to register for anything. Anyone can tune in live at deBanked.com/tv to watch it. The broadcast will run for 2.5 hours and end at 1 PM. This is an-person event being broadcast with no Zoom or virtual conversation. The event will also be recorded and made available free.
deBanked’s massive in-person conference, Broker Fair, will return to NYC later in the year on December 6th at Convene at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan.
Boston-based Fintech Company Expands Main Street’s Access to Capital During Pandemic, Achieves Major Growth Milestone
Boston, Mass., March 1, 2021 – Forward Financing, a financial technology company that provides flexible revenue-based financing to small businesses, today announced that they have provided $1 billion in funding since their inception in 2012. The majority of this funding has gone to underserved small businesses nationwide; those that are unable to obtain financing through traditional sources like banks or the Small Business Administration.
“Nine years ago, we started this company upon the realization that so many small businesses lacked access to working capital,” said Forward Financing co-founder and CEO Justin Bakes. “As we look ahead to our next $1 billion milestone, we will continue to focus on providing best-in-class customer service and on helping our small business customers reach their full potential, no matter what challenges may arise.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the U.S. economy and many small businesses have needed additional financial resources to get by. Despite over $600 billion in loans provided through the Payroll Protection Program, this alone has been insufficient in fulfilling the need for capital. As a result, many small business owners have turned to funders like Forward Financing for support.
Forward Financing is uniquely suited to help small businesses during this economic downturn because it offers financing that is based on revenue, and is not a loan. Therefore, small business customers who may be experiencing a revenue slowdown can reduce their payments proportionately.
“Forward Financing has helped me grow my business and take advantage of opportunities,” a retail business owner recently said. “Their service has been excellent and when COVID hit, they easily and efficiently helped me adjust my payment schedule so I remained current and my business was not interrupted. I will use them again and again in the future!”
Over the past six months, Forward Financing has grown daily funding volume at an average rate of 17% per month as they continue to help small businesses navigate the pandemic economy. In order to help meet rapidly growing demand, they are currently expanding headcount in Boston by 20%.
About Forward Financing
Forward Financing is a Boston-based financial technology company that provides fast, flexible working capital to small businesses nationwide. Their dedicated account representatives and advanced proprietary technology help customers spend less time finding capital and more time growing their business. With a simple, secure online application, business owners can trust that Forward Financing works to get them approvals within minutes, funding within hours, and personalized support when they need it most.
Since 2012, Forward Financing has expanded Main Street’s access to capital by providing over $1 billion in funding to nearly 30,000 small businesses. The company is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and ‘Excellent / 4.9 stars’ on Trustpilot.com. Forward Financing was named a Best Place To Work by both
the Boston Business Journal and Built In Boston, and has been named by both Inc. Magazine and the Boston Business Journal as one of Massachusetts’ fastest-growing companies each year since 2017. Forward Financing is committed to helping more small business owners succeed and achieve their full potential. To learn more, visit www.forwardfinancing.com.
The Federal Reserve’s analysis of overall funding efforts for all small businesses demonstrates a market of unmet financial needs. In 2020, a total of 47% of firms met their funding needs, while the other half (53%) still needed capital.
23% of firms saw a “financing shortfall.” They were partially approved but still needed more funds. The other 30% have unmet funding needs because they never applied according to the survey- they’re scared of debt, risk-averse, or don’t meet requirements.
Those that did not apply for funds would have if they were not discouraged by weak sales (44%), insufficient collateral (41%), low credit (33%), and too much debt already (36%).
83% of companies used a bank or small bank as their primary financial service provider, while only 11% said an online lender or fintech was their primary.
Meanwhile, in the funding world, MCAs were only sought by 8% of all funding applicants last year, compared to 89% of firms applying for a loan or line of credit.
Most firms that went for an MCA went with a bank. 85% percent of firms that applied for a loan, credit, or cash advance used a large or small bank. In contrast, only 20% of firms applied to an online lender, falling from 33% since last year.
42% of firms that worked with online lenders or fintech companies were dissatisfied with support during the pandemic. Comparatively, firms that did receive some funding from an online lender were far happier: only 18% were dissatisfied.
“From inception through 2019, [Par Funding] incurred a cash loss from operations of $136.2 million.”
That’s the conclusion reached by Bradley D. Sharp, CEO of Development Specialists Inc (DSI), the financial advisor to the Receiver appointed in the Par SEC case.
Par has scoffed at the Receiver’s analysis of its business. “We do not necessarily begrudge attorneys, whose skill sets are often in other areas, a potential inability to understand the math that often makes for a strong and profitable financial model,” Par’s lawyers wrote in an October court filing. “There is a reason that smart, mathematically inclined people are typically hired by banks, hedge funds and financial services firms. But the Receiver and his counsel’s inability to understand Par’s business has led to all manner of baseless accusations that are easily answered in the very documents they possess but do not understand…”
Par says it was profitable and walks the Court throught its mathematical process. Sharp says Par’s assessment “is misleading and does not reflect actual operations at the company.”
Sharp alludes to Ponzi-like characteristics but refrains from using that term. “From inception through 2019, [Par] paid $231 million to investors, consisting of principal repayments totaling $135.6 million and interest payments totaling $95.4 million. [Par] could not have made these principal and interest payments to the investors without additional funds from the investors.”
Par explained that the key to its business is in the compounding:
“The merchant funding model is profitable because merchant funding returns are reinvested, either in a new or different merchant, or in an existing merchant with adequate receivables as a consolidation, or as a refinance of a merchant which may already have MCA funding from another provider. And the reinvestment begins on the merchant funding returns which commence immediately and occur daily. In very simple form, the math works as follows. Assuming $10,000 is funded to a merchant pursuant to a funding agreement providing for a funding return of $13,000 over the course of 100 daily ACH withdrawals, the agreement would provide for repayment to begin immediately with daily payments of $130. As those monies are returned, portions are used to pay operating expenses, but most of the monies are re-invested to fund other merchants. Mathematically, this means that the original $10,000 is being used to fund more than one merchant. Over the life of a single $10,000 funding, that same $10,000 can be used to fund multiple merchants, all of whom are paying funding fees in excess of the principal amount received. Thus, the original $10,000, at a 1.30 factor rate, generates $13,000 on the first merchant cash advance (MCA). Those funds are reinvested and generate $16,900 on the second MCA, and $21,970 by the third MCA – an increase of $11,970 over and above the initial $10,000. And that can happen within a year. This is the powerful compounding effect of the financial model.
That is the simplest version of the model. In practice, the model is far more sophisticated than that because the leveraging to new merchants of the MCA returns begins as soon as the MCA payments come in.”
Par additionally said:
“At the conference on October 8, 2020, the Receiver’s counsel told this Court, and many investors, that out of $1.5 million received per day from merchants prior to July 28, 2020, $1.2 million was used for new MCA funding. Thus, according to the Receiver’s counsel, only $300,000 constituted net collections, about 20%. The Receiver’s counsel appears to be suggesting that the company is not holding on to receivables but, instead, is refunding the same merchants 80% of receipts. This proposition is wrong and its assertion shows that the Receiver and his counsel do not understand the MCA business.”
One could assess that a large element of this case consists of the Receiver being like, ha! well look at this! and Par responding, well, yes, that is actually how our business works.
In fact, that is precisely the angle Par took in defending its use of funding new deals with money collected from deals previously funded.
“First, the numbers show that collections are used to fund new MCA deals,” Par’s attorneys wrote. “This may come as a total surprise to the Receiver and his counsel, but funding merchants is the business of Par. That is like criticizing Ford Motor Corp. for using its car sales income to build and sell more cars.”
Both sides agree that Par advanced over $1 billion to small businesses but Sharp says that “reloads” distorted the numbers.
“Use of reloads escalates the obligations of the merchant as each reload adds an additional ‘factor’ along with any new funds advanced,” Sharp wrote. “In [one example the reloaded funds are] subject to the factor twice; once when the funds were originally sent and again when they are included in the reload advance. The use of reloads also significantly distorts the calculation of loss rates as the advances are simply refinanced without becoming a loss.”
Sharp concludes that the true end result for Par is a much higher default rate than it lets on to.
And then there’s this
Sharp has repeatedly brought attention to a list of merchants with unusual payment and funding activity. Par countered by saying there are good explanations for each.
Amongst all of this is that company insiders are alleged to have received tens of millions in payments from Par and the Receiver is confident, in part due to DSI’s report, that Par was majorly unprofitable.
“Based on our review to date, it is apparent that [Par] would not have been able to continue to provide payments to investors, or to continue to operate, without additional funds from investors,” Sharp wrote in a December 13th report.
This case is not the first rodeo for Sharp and DSI in the merchant cash advance business. They were also assigned to manage the 1 Global Capital case.
The case is ongoing. The Court recently approved a motion to expand the Receivership estate.
Pearl Capital Business Funding LLC Resumes Merchant Cash Advances After Processing $1.75 B in PPP LoansNovember 5, 2020
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – November 5, 2020 — Pearl Capital Business Funding, LLC, a leading provider of direct financing to small and midsize businesses, today announced that it will resume funding merchant cash advances for U.S. small businesses after suspending funding for a period of time due to the COVID-19 crisis. The move comes after a seven month hiatus during which the company utilized its technology platform to process over $1.75 Billion in SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans.
Pearl Capital provides innovative alternative financial solutions, specializing in the underbanked and subprime business sector. Their financing solutions are available throughout the U.S. to businesses of virtually any industry that are unable to access sufficient traditional financing from banks and non-bank lenders. Pearl’s solutions are not dependent on the business owner’s FICO score and present a compelling solution to underwriting credit even during the current COVID-19 crisis. With the relaunch, Pearl’s ISO Partners can expect lighter stipulation requirements with fewer requested documentation than before and updated pricing. Virtually all business types are eligible for funding from Pearl including high risk industries like auto sales, real estate, home-based businesses, and insurance.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March, we weren’t sure what our future looked like. With so much uncertainty of the economic climate, like many other funders, we temporarily ceased funding. We pivoted and partnered with Cross River Bank and were able to transition our fully-automated processing and anti-fraud technology to process SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans.” Chief Revenue Officer, Jake Lerner, says, “Using our technology platform, we were able to process over $1.75 Billion in PPP loans for businesses affected by COVID-19.”The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was a SBA loan program established under the CARES Act to help small businesses keep workers on their payrolls during the pandemic. The program ended on August 8, 2020 but is likely to resume.
“We’re thrilled to have the ability again to continue to provide financing for companies during an especially difficult time for businesses across the country and give much needed financial support to businesses” CEO, Sol Lax, says, “Pearl did not default on its senior credit line due to its superior underwriting and has added $250 Million in committed financing to expand its activities. If you are a small business and you have survived COVID, you shouldn’t have to shut your doors because you have limited access to capital. We are going to be there for small business both in further iterations of PPP as well as MCA.”
About Pearl Capital
Pearl Capital was founded in 2012 and acquired by private equity firm Capital Z Partners in 2015. Since then, they have become a leader in the fintech industry specializing in short term capital advance solutions for under-banked and credit-challenged businesses, in just about every industry. Over the years, they have provided over 23,000 MCA financings to small businesses across the country, by working with their network of ISOs. Their advanced online application technology platform and machine learning SMB credit score allows them to provide flexible terms and some of the fastest response times in the industry for deals up to one-million dollars. Most recently, Pearl Capital partnered with Cross River Bank to process over $1.75 Billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
Jake Lerner, Chief Revenue Officer
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