Maneuvering the startup puzzle is a challenge for all businesses regardless of the space you choose to explore. You must figure out the missing pieces to get your company “up and thriving” and have them put in the right places. Here’s a story of how Lendio grew from a fintech to a lender with 1B in business loans.
Facilitating over $1 billion in business loans— responsible for creating $3.8 million in total economic output and more than 25,000 jobs— Lendio is now the country’s biggest marketplace for micro-business loans.
A good start
This success comes after over a decade of challenges. Lendio originally got underway in 2006 under the name Funding Utah. The firm used a simple model then: link Utah entrepreneurs in search of capital with Utah angel investors and VCs.
Funding Utah did well, and the firm decided to spread beyond its borders, officially changing its name to Funding Universe. A few years later, the Fintech company hit $10 million in annual revenue.
A time to face facts
But instead of a celebration, the founders were met by the sad fact that the business model for Funding Universe wasn’t scalable. They lacked the tech to get them up to speed— most times staff had to draft business plans and design financial models for business owners (behind the scenes).
Furthermore, only a few startups that came to Funding Universe wanted to get capital from an investor. And when they found compatible businesses, the angels and CVs were very unpredictable— because their decision to provide funding depends on their investment portfolios, which change on a daily basis.
The fall and rise
The dilemma here was whether they were to: continue with the same idea; decide it was a dead end, or re-think their plan and start over.
They chose to rethink and start over. Noticing the merchant funding problems small business were facing they begun plans to arrange new tech infrastructure and started linking with alternative lenders rather than unpredictable angel investors and VCs. So January 2011 marked the close of Funding Universe and the birth of Lendio.
The Unique Selling Point
As soon as Lendio got underway, it began partnering with various lenders. The firm’s unique model allows dynamic application that collects all the necessary information to submit to up to 75 different lenders. That way, Lendio reduced the traditional 30-day application process to as quickly as 24-48 hours.
Lendio also designed software that takes a 6-month snapshot of a business’s bank account to help in reviewing indicators like cash flow. So now, Lendio funding managers can do their job and let tech handle the rest. Finally, the firm had a scalable revenue model and a more satisfying customer experience in a tech-savvy platform.
Lesson learned: Failing fast is essential to any successful business. Lendio wouldn’t exist if Funding Utah and Funding Universe didn’t fail. When the time comes to make tough decisions about your business; always decide based on facts. Only that way can you get your unique selling point and get on the road to business success.
Author Bio: As the FAM account executive, Michael Hollis has funded millions by using merchant funding solutions. His experience and extensive knowledge of the industry has made him finance expert at First American Merchant.