Small businesses—defined as independent businesses with fewer than 500 employees—make up 99.7 percent of employer firms in the U.S. according to the Small Business Administration. The millions of new jobs they create each year are extremely important to our nation’s economy, yet traditional lending institutions often fail them when an unexpected opportunity knocks or cash is tight.
OnDeck, on the other hand, is 100 percent committed to helping small businesses get the capital they need quickly and efficiently. In fact, the online small business lender has provided more than $8 billion in capital to over 80,000 customers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia since its founding in 2007.
RewardExpert spoke with OnDeck’s Chief Revenue Officer, Andrea Gellert, about the company’s history and small business funding products.
Serving the Underserved Small Business
“Our founder, Mitch Jacobs, is a serial entrepreneur who has done a lot of work with merchants,” said Gellert. “He often heard from small businesses that they didn’t have the ability to borrow money in the timeframe they needed or for the amount they wanted.”
She explained that while business owners used to be able to go to their local bank or credit union to borrow money for their companies, several decades of bank consolidation had significantly changed the industry, leading to a shift in preference towards million-dollar loans to million-dollar entities.
“Our founder saw this, and he also saw that there could be a profitable way to lend to small businesses online,” Gellert continued. “That’s how he came up with the idea for OnDeck: a high tech but also high touch service for the small businesses that are underserved by traditional institutions when it comes to the funding they need to grow.”
Flexible Term Loans and Lines of Credit
OnDeck offers term loans and lines of credit to small businesses in more than 700 industries.
“We focus on main-street type business owners,” Gellert said. “Our top industries include restaurants, retailers, and auto body shops. And we actually have quite a few clients who are doctors, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners.”
While small businesses borrowing through OnDeck must earn a minimum of $100,000 in gross annual revenue and have a business history of at least one year, Gellert said that the company’s median customer has been in business for seven years and has gross annual revenues exceeding $450,000.
Though OnDeck uses the business owner’s personal credit score when making a lending decision, they report the borrower’s payments to the business—rather than personal—credit bureaus.
“Most of our competitors don’t do this,” she said. “We do, and it helps small businesses build their business credit history as a result.”
OnDeck term loans are available up to $500,000 and with flexible terms of 3 to 36 months. Gellert said a term loan is usually the best option for businesses needing to fund a large project or make necessary purchases of things like bulk inventory or new equipment.
“We spend a lot of time talking to the business about what their use case is,” she added.
OnDeck lines of credit are available up to $100,000. Gellert said lines of credit often work well for companies looking to smooth out variable cash flow issues or cover smaller unexpected expenses.
The company typically makes lending decisions in minutes, and businesses can receive their funds in as little as 24 hours. Gellert said OnDeck plans to launch instant funding capabilities later this year, leveraging the Visa debit rail to enable its borrowers to draw down funds immediately.
The Right Loan with the Right Terms for Your Business
While working with OnDeck is simple and easy, Gellert said there are steps business owners can take to improve their chance of successfully obtaining the financing they need.
“It’s important to know what you want to use the funds for,” she explained. “Think about what the return on investment is going to be and be open with us about the nature and financial performance of your business so that we can provide you a loan for the right amount with the right terms for your situation.”
She also encourages business owners to review their business information and correct any errors.
“There are a lot of things that can pop up in your Secretary of State filings, your online presence, or your business credit report,” Gellert said. “I always advise small businesses to keep track of what is going on there so little gremlins don’t pop in and derail your loan application unnecessarily.”
To learn more about OnDeck or apply for small business financing, visit www.ondeck.com.