“We’re excited to have the opportunity to fund within the community, and then go visit, help them grow their business and everything like that…” said Benjamin Lieff, Chief Revenue Officer of Capital Gurus.
For an industry that has a reputation for being online, funding relationships can become quite personal. Lieff, for example, previously helped a couple with securing a lease to open a barcade in North Hollywood, California and then also did whatever he could to get them through to their grand opening including work to get their liquor license. Now, they’re actually friends.
“Not only was I able to go visit during the construction process and them opening this location but whenever I’m back in Los Angeles, I always go spend some time with him and his wife,” said Lieff. “I went to the opening party and anybody who talks to me, and they’re looking for that type of business, I always lead them there and they’re actually really blowing up. And I’m really happy to see them. I’m constantly cheering them on.”
For Funding Circle US, having an office in the big city of Denver means that some of their borrowers are coincidentally located right in their neighborhood. It’s fairly common for them to be customers of these businesses as well and they’ve actually used some for in-office catering.
“One of our favorites in Denver is called Whittier cafe. And it’s Denver’s only African espresso bar,” said Kristal Bergfield, General Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Funding Circle. The store has even been featured on Funding Circle’s TikTok.
As for Claude Darmony, President at WeFund in the Fort Lauderdale area, he knew one business quite well before the funding started.
“He was just a mechanic shop, I gave him the funds to start building gas stations next to it,” said Darmony. “It was a good friend of mine.”
While still having to go through the normal underwiting process, Darmony got to attend the grand opening after the deal went through. “It was nice,” he said.