In 2011, group text-messaging service GroupMe was acquired for $85 million by Skype. Two years later, GroupMe co-founder Jared Hecht is back with his next startup called Fundera. This goal this time: help match small business owners who need loans with the best alternative non-bank lenders.
Joined by software entrepreneur Rohan Deshpande and co-founder of Earndit.com Andres Moran, Hecht is looking to help bring more transparency to the alternative lending process.
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“Every year, nearly half of all small businesses report needing working capital and over 75 percent of those who apply do not receive the financing they need from their bank,” he says. Fundera lets small businesses pick from among vetted lenders to see which one offers them the best opportunity to grow.
Fundera hand-selects all the lenders and eliminates those that it believes won’t match well with small business owners. It looks at various factors including length of time in business, annual revenue, credit score, and other data points to determine the correct course of action. Acting as the middleman, the company doesn’t let either party contact one another unless previously approved.
In return for its efforts, Fundera receives between a 1 to 3 percent fee from lenders. It says that so far, the company has helped execute 9 loans and matched more than 200 small business owners with lenders during its beta testing period.
Fundera has raised $3.4 million from Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, and several angel investors.
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