To drive loan originations, BlueVine uses partnerships like the one it recently signed with Intuit

In October, small business lender BlueVine announced that it had closed a deal with Intuit to offer its line of credit product inside the software firm’s QuickBooks financing platform. The partnership allows small businesses that use QuickBooks to use their business data to quickly apply for a line of credit up to $100,000. Thousands of small businesses have already used BlueVine’s Flex Credit since it first launched in April 2016.

Alongside inbound and outbound marketing, these types of collaborations are crucial to help generate loan origination growth for BlueVine. Partnerships like the Intuit one drive 60 percent of the traffic to the company’s website, according to CEO and founder, Eyal Lifshitz. They’re also a defensible channel for BlueVine, which has focused on creating a growing volume of smaller partnerships before landing the recent Intuit collaboration.

The long tail of distribution partnerships are important for online lenders because they’re hard to replicate, while they also remove the risk of relying too heavily on a large partner whose strategy can change over time. Big headline-grabbing partnerships are important, too, because they provide credibility and volume, helping to set up similar strategic partnerships in the future.

It’s a win-win for companies partnering with online lenders. They’re frequently looking for value-added services to provide to their customers. Lending, for firms that service SMBs, is a common addition.

“Intuit is a software company, which makes their financing platform more valuable to customers,” said Lifshitz. “Partners want to distribute the best products because lending is an efficient market. I just believe we have the best product and experience.”

Founded by Lifshitz in 2013, BlueVine began as an online invoice financing lender, modernizing a very paper-intensive, back-office type of financing for small businesses. After listening to customer feedback, Lifshitz became convinced that there was something much bigger afoot.

“Customers don’t think of their needs in terms of specific financial products,” he explained. “They have a problem — cash flow — and they need help now. So for BlueVine, we started thinking about how we can help them solve that problem through innovative products and technology.” The line of credit product was launched in April of 2016 and more lending products will follow over time.

Intuit’s QuickBooks financing platform, on which partners have to date originated over $500 million in loans to SMBs, typically offers just one or two options in each lending category. This means newer fintech firms that partner with the firm must scale quickly. BlueVine joins OnDeck as the other line of credit provider. Though informal discussions started about two years ago, Intuit took eight months to conduct diligence on BlueVine.

Ultimately, what drives advantage in acquisition for firms like BlueVine is a differentiated product. But Lifshitz cautions focusing too much on acquisition costs as a sole metric of success. Instead, lenders should also consider customer retention.

“Acquisition cost has no meaning as a standalone number,” he said. “Retention is a way to differentiate as well. Too many firms in our space think only in loan units, not the total customer experience. You need to think about whether a customer really loves what the service you’re providing.”

As a software provider, Intuit has a lot of experience partnering with young upstarts. Lifshitz credits his firm’s maturing compliance process with helping to land strategic partnerships. “We raised capital last year from Citibank and they’ve helped us mature our compliance program,” he said. Having a more mature compliance program makes it easier to get distribution deals done with larger partners.

Additionally, scale is important when partnering with a company the size of Intuit. Partners need to feel that the companies they work with can deliver on the added demand they generate. There are 5 million QuickBooks users. At 100 people and growing quickly, BlueVine is ramping up.



Sticker shock? These 5 fintech startups can help finance your purchases

5 fintech startups that will help you buy that next purchase

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.

Photo credit: Patrick Hoesly via / CC BY

The Startups: Who’s shaking things up (Week ending January 24, 2016)

fintech startups shaking things up

[alert type=yellow ]Every week, Tradestreaming highlights startups in the news, making things happen. The following is just part of this week’s news roundup. You can get these updates delivered direct to your inbox by signing up for the Tradestreaming newsletter.[/alert]

The Startups: Who’s shaking things up

Unbundling financial data, Tammer Kamel’s Quandl is powering an entire finance app ecosystem (Tradestreaming)

NerdWallet? The $520m company that wants to solve all your financial needs (Inc.)

Robinhood ramping its free trading app via integrations, global expansion in 2016 (Tradestreaming)

Francois de Lame of PolicyGenius on how to build a digital-first insurance brand (Tradestreaming)

Startups raising/Investors investing

After round, Lufax, Chinese marketplace lender, highest valued fintech startup ($18b) (Bloomberg)

Chinese e-commerce outfit raises $1.1b to grow financial arm (Finextra)

ING, Khazanah invest $160m in Asian online lender, WeLab, backed by billionaire Li Ka-shing (Bloomberg)

LendUp pulls in $150m to build out its alternative to payday loans (PEHub)

Opendoor pays cash to buy and flip homes; Raises $80m at $580m val (WSJ)

Digital Asset Holdings, the blockchain startup led by former JPMorgan exec Blythe Masters, has raised more than $50m in a new funding round (CoinDesk)

BlueVine raises $40m to help small businesses with cash flow via factoring (TechCrunch)

Patreon gains $30m to grow crowdfunding of the arts (TechCrunch)

Neyber raises £6m to take on credit rivals in lending to UK employees (Telegraph)