One of the most important aspects of sound financial management is managing cash flow. Unfortunately, given the lumpiness of inflows and outflows, individuals or businesses sometimes find themselves in a crunch, unable to attain loans that would allow them to smooth out their cash flow. That smells like an opportunity for fintech, which has created companies and services to fill this lending void that traditional banks haven’t.
In no particular order, here are 5 alternative lending startups helping individuals and companies better manage their cash flows.
Founded in 2012 in San Francisco by Jeffery Katitz, Nathan Gettings, and Max Levchin, Affirm provides point-of-purchase loans in the form of payment plans for individuals to make purchases. Each individual purchase made through Affirm is treated as a separate loan, and customers are informed in real-time if they have been approved. In order to provide additional security to the loan, customers may be required to give a down payment or link their checking account to their Affirm account. For the service, Affirm charges between 10%-30% simple interest APR.
Affirm has raised 3 rounds of capital since 2014, totaling $420 million. The last two investment rounds were in 2015 ($275 million) and 2016 ($100M), and were led by Spark Capital and Founders Fund, respectively.
Founders Tuba Breca, Alon Feit, and Gil Don decided to extend a method of payment to users in the United States that exists in only a few countries around the world. Using Splitit, customers can buy items on payment plans using their existing credit cards, requiring no additional fees or applications. Each month, Splitit automatically authorizes and captures payment from a buyer’s credit card, allowing consumers to pay for a product over a time period of their choosing.
Although Splitit is currently available only to customers with a Visa and MasterCard, 54% of credit card holders prefer installments over free shipping, so it looks like there’s a lot of room to grow market share. Splitit raised $10 million in May of 2015, and was founded and operates out of Herzliya, Israel.
Fresh off a recent investment round, BlueVine provides businesses with invoice financing, also known as factoring, and lines of credit. Acting as a traditional lender, BlueVine offers up to $250,000 in invoice financing, and up to $30,000 in lines of credit. Businesses can apply for a loan and know within 24 hours if they are approved.
Founders Eyal Lifshitz, Nir Klar, and Motti Shatner founded the company in 2013 and are Headquartered in Palo Alto, California. BlueVine has raised $64 million in 7 investment rounds since inception, with the last two rounds led by Menlo Ventures and Citi Ventures. In 2016, leading Israeli business publication, Calcalist named BlueVine one of 2016’s top 50 startups.
Behalf provides up to $50,000 in trade financing for B2B enterprises. As opposed to lending money to a business to pay for its supplies, Behalf pays suppliers directly on behalf of its business customers, assuring that the money goes to the right places. Behalf charges between $10 and $30 a month for every $1,000 loaned out.
Founded in New York in 2011 by Jeremy Esekow, Shai Feinberg, and Benjy Feinberg, Behalf raised $10 million in 2013 and $124 million in 2015, with rounds led by Spark Capital and Mission OG, respectively. Sequoia Capital is also an investor.
Another B2B lender, Fundbox gives advance payments to small businesses by providing loans on existing invoices. Using invoice financing, Fundbox provides cash flow relief to businesses by allowing companies to borrow against their accounts receivables. As of September 2015, Fundbox had 20,000 businesses signed up, a single digit default rate, and processed invoices totaling $30 billion.
Fundbox was founded in 2013 by Yuval Ariav, Tomer Michaeli, and Eyal Shinar, and has raised $112.5 million since 2014, with funding rounds led by Spark Capital, General Catalyst Partners, and Khosla Ventures. At the 2016 PYMNTS Innovator Awards, Fundbox took home the award for Small Business Innovation.