When you need a place to stay, booking a room through AirBnB is as simple as a few taps on your phone. If you need a ride, you open your Uber app and a car pulls up within minutes. Want to find the cheapest airfare for a weekend getaway? Online marketplaces like Kayak will show you a list of options, and all you have to do is click through to secure your seat.
The founders of Lendio wanted to make it just as simple for small business owners to get a loan as it is to plan a vacation—and their remarkable success over a relatively short period of time demonstrates how hungry entrepreneurs are for their services.
Since launching in 2011, the company has helped match small businesses with more than $850 million in funding, which has helped put roughly $3 billion back into the economy. And Lendio CEO and founder, Brock Blake, estimates that they’ll hit the $1 billion mark in funding by the fourth quarter of this year.
Getting Funding Fast
Rather than going from lender to lender and spending hours and hours filling out applications, Lendio offers small business owners a streamlined, 15-minute application process that connects them to an entire network of the best lenders in the industry. They can apply for credit cards, lines of credit, short-term specialty loans and long-term traditional loans. Blake estimates that 70 percent of Lendio applicants are offered loans—and are often able to access their capital in as little as 24 hours.
Blake and his co-founder, Trent Miskin, are passionate about helping aspiring business owners get their hands on the capital they need.
“[Trent] and I joined together right out of college with a little bit of computer code and a penchant to build something groundbreaking. I know firsthand how grueling it is to survive as a small business owner in America; millions of small business owners are wrestling with how to start or grow a business with little to no funds.”
Small-Dollar Loans Are Big Business
One of the things that’s helped make Lendio so successful is their ability to match business owners with smaller loans.
“Since it costs banks just as much to underwrite a million-dollar loan as a $100,000 loan, it’s very difficult for most small business owners to get financing,” Blake explains. But the demand is definitely there. “There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S., and 80 percent of them want small-dollar loans,” says Blake.
Traditional banks usually only lend to businesses that can put up collateral, come with solid credit or have a proven track record. Lendio fills the gap for business owners who don’t meet those criteria—and who aren’t looking for a million dollars. The average loan granted through Lendio’s marketplace is approximately $40,000; clients are entrepreneurs in diverse industries including retail, restaurants, health care and construction.
Opening Up the Marketplace
For prospective business owners, one of the biggest stumbling blocks has traditionally been scraping up enough capital to get their small business off the ground. This can be especially challenging for women, minorities, mom-and-pop shops, seasonal businesses and other underserved populations. Without a track record of success, securing funding can be difficult.
“Historically, business owners needed perfect credit or years in business to get a loan,” Blake explains. “An online lending marketplace like Lendio is a game-changer for business owners with less-than-perfect credit or those who are just getting started.”
Because Lendio’s network of over 75 lenders includes online companies like Kabbage and Fundbox, as well as larger institutions like American Express and Bank of America, they’re able to serve a wide range of businesses owners with varying needs. Lendio’s lending partners consider more factors than just creditworthiness or how long a company has been in business.
Becoming a Household Name
“My vision is that Lendio will become the first place small businesses go for financing,” says Blake. “What’s exciting is the market is still largely untapped for online small business lending. Lendio plans to become a household name as the marketplace, both online and in its franchise locations across the country, for business owners to do comparison shopping and find the loan product that’s the best fit for them, in the most efficient way possible.”
As Lendio grows toward $1 billion in funding, Blake stresses that they’ll continue to offer a high-touch—or “white glove,” as he calls it—service to customers.
“I’m proud of the fact that Lendio has grown to be the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, and while the number of businesses funded and the dollar amount of loans facilitated continues to grow, our focus on providing the best customer experience hasn’t faded.”