In the past five years, the number of bank loans under $1 million has dropped by more than 20 percent. This puts small business owners, arguably the driving force of our economy, at a severe disadvantage when it comes to starting a business.
But Jared Hecht, co-founder of startup success story GroupMe, alongside cofounders Rohan Deshpande and Andres Moran, is today launching a totally new service called Fundera, built specifically to facilitate small business funding through alternative lending.
Fundera has received a total of $3.4 million in funding from Khosla, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, and various angel investors including Strauss Zelnick, Rob Wiesenthal, David Rosenblatt, and David Tisch.
Fundera is an online marketplace for small business loans. Once SMB owners are on the platform, they can fill out one common application with information on how long the business has been in place, annual revenue, approximate credit score, accounts receivable, among other data points.
Once they’ve filled out the necessary information, it only takes seconds to be pre-approved and matched with potential lenders.
Instead of harassing big banks, getting rejected, or (in the best-case scenario) getting approved and waiting months for the cash, Fundera allows entrepreneurs to secure the funding they need in days.
It all started when Hecht saw his cousin-in-law, Zach, struggling to raise funding to open a third restaurant in his thus-far successful Fusian chain of restaurants. After multiple attempts, Zach still couldn’t secure a loan from a bank, despite having a profitable business.
Once Hecht started investigating the situation, he realized that the alternative lending space is growing rapidly, but has yet to be touched by the efficiency and transparency of the internet.
And so, Fundera was born.
Unlike the traditional model, which taxes between 5 percent and 15 percent on the borrower side, Fundera only receives a 1-3 percent origination fee, from lenders only. But where does the money come from?
“In small business lending, alternative lenders source capital through a variety of sources: credit facilities from banks, institutional investors, hedge funds, private equity, family offices, and accredited investors,” explained Hecht. “The higher risk that lenders assume is reflected in their respective pricing.”
In beta testing, the company has matched 200 business owners with lenders and facilitated nine loans.