Any entrepreneur will tell you, starting a small business is not for the faint of heart. It takes vision, grit, determination, dedication, an overwhelming willingness to fight to the end, the will to overcome hurdles you never could have anticipated. But the result, for those with enough heart to see it through, can be massively […]
Any entrepreneur will tell you, starting a small business is not for the faint of heart. It takes vision, grit, determination, dedication, an overwhelming willingness to fight to the end, the will to overcome hurdles you never could have anticipated.
But the result, for those with enough heart to see it through, can be massively rewarding. It takes a certain, special type of work ethic to start something from scratch, to build something from the ground up. Many have ideas, but few can execute to fruition.
Perhaps that’s why so many veterans transition from the military to business owners. All of those characteristics mentioned above…those are just standard traits for the men and women who dutifully and proudly serve in the military. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to hear that as many as 25 percent of transitioning service members aspire to become small business owners. In fact, there are more than 2.5 million U.S. businesses today that are majority-owned by veterans.
Yet veterans are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to seeing their business ideas come to light. The issue isn’t a lack of desire, skill, or intent…it’s something else. Where, exactly, is the system broken?
An Overall Decline of Entrepreneurship – Why?
It’s a topic well-discussed by Inc.com in recent years – the fact that entrepreneurship as a whole has been on the decline for decades. Some reports show the trend has been on a downward slide for nearly four decades.
Just why is the ability to fulfill that age-old American dream of starting your own business in a slump? The main answer is simple: lack of access to capital.
For millions of businesses across the nation (both veteran-owned and non), cash flow and capital are a huge struggle. The simple fact is that access to working capital is among the greatest of challenges small businesses face. All too often, business owners just can’t get funding to start or grow their businesses. The term “underbanked” represents the 77 percent of small/medium business owners who are declined by traditional banks after they apply for funding for their business ventures. And for veterans, this is even more the norm.
VOBs – Entrepreneur Assets to Our Economy
U.S. veteran owned businesses (VOBs) are an essential component of our overall economy. The leadership skill sets and values service men and women hone during their time in the military is a big part of what transforms many of them into natural leaders. They develop an uncanny ability to solve problems…many of them are able to overcome the types of challenges most small businesses face during the startup phase. And these leadership skills often carry them throughout their tenure as business owners, even years after they launch. After analyzing four year’s worth of credit data (of both VOBs and non-veteran-owned-businesses), a recent report from Experian notes that VOBs tend to have improved sustainability and longevity when compared to non-veteran-owned businesses.
There are countless other substantial benefits VOBs offer. They’re more likely to provide employees with retirement plans, health insurance, paid leave and profit sharing. They’re also 30 percent more likely than non-veteran-owned businesses to employ fellow veterans. Statistically, research consistently shows that VOBs report impressive numbers in relation to growth, employment opportunities and sales, including:
VOBs with more than two employees = over 490,000
Total number of VOB employees = 5.8 million
Annual payroll = $210 billion
Number of VOBs that are “small businesses” = 99.9 percent
6-digit sales of $100,000 or more = nearly 80 percent
Generate an annual revenue of $500,000 or more = more than 38 percent
VOBs have collective sales of = $1.2+ trillion
What does all this tell us? VOBs are a huge benefit to the economy. That’s in part what makes it so hard to ignore the other side of the story. Despite their success and contribution to our economic sustainability, many VOBs – just like most small businesses today – are struggling to make ends meet. The Small Business Association (SBA) Office of Advocacy says that over 69,000 VOBs closed as a result of inadequate cash flow.
Taking that leap of faith and starting your own business has always been a risk, for any entrepreneur, but with entrepreneurship across the board on an overall decline (for both VOBs and non-veteran owned businesses), that risk seems somehow even greater these days.
Challenges Veteran Business Owners Face
Of the many challenges entrepreneurs face when starting a new business, for most, funding is high on the list. For the majority of veterans, sources of capital can include personal savings (30 percent) and personal or business credit (nearly 11 percent).
According to the same Experian report, veterans tend to have significantly fewer mentorship options and a lack of networking opportunities. They’ve also historically had less access to capital than their non-veteran owned counterparts, says a report from the Federal Reserve Bank, who together with the SBA assessed the stats of both VOB and non-VOB small businesses.
The SBA’s Office of Advocacy partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to publish FINANCING THEIR FUTURE: Veteran Entrepreneurs and Capital Access. Their research shows that despite need being strikingly similar amongst VOB and non-VOBs, there is a glaring disparage in lending opportunities for the two groups. It’s one major reason why veteran entrepreneurship continues to see a generational decline.
The report notes that even though VOBs submitted more applications for funding than non-VBOs (47 percent versus 43 percent, respectively, submitted three or more applications), from a larger variety of lenders (online lenders, small banks and large banks), VOBs received less financing overall. During 2010 – 2017, SBA loans to VOBs increased by 48 percent, whereas they increased by 82 percent to non-VOBs. This is despite dedicated veteran-dedicated relief programs.
And some more results of those applications? It’s reported that 60 percent of VOBs still have a financing shortfall due to receiving less funds than they applied for. In comparison, only 52 percent of non-VOBs received less than requested.
The report also points out what we’ve already seen in multiple other studies, that:
“military service is highly correlated with self-employment probability,” and
“veterans are at least 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed”
What should all this data tell us? It’s pretty clear: we should be putting more faith and funding into VOBs.
Real-Life Success Stories
For those veterans who have been able to find funding through alternative resources, the results are both impressive and inspirational.
Just look at veteran and owner of The Texas Silver Rush, Joseph Remini. Remini creates custom jewelry and is considered a “destination” in Fredericksburg. He’s created custom pieces for the likes of stars including Santana, Ringo Starr and countless other country artists. Reliant Funding’s non-traditional funding options allowed him to purchase the silver he needed to make expensive, custom, one-of-a-kind pieces that are allowing him to make a name for himself. Remini knows that Reliant’s dedication to veterans is something unique.
“I will tell you that Reliant has given me peace of mind. I know I am with a company that cares about me, is willing to grow with me.” – Joseph Remini, The Texas Silver Rush
Christopher Adams is VBO of Cedar Creek Builders and a rental management company. When both companies were growing at a rapid speed, Adams used alternative funding to purchase and replace equipment he desperately needed for a job. Borrowed funds also allowed him to cover unexpected costs during the winter months. His success even meant he was able to purchase a personal condo without concern that it would affect his credit, and ultimately, his ability to access capital to grow his businesses. Adams is grateful for the opportunity non-traditional funding has afforded him.
“Reliant is there when you need funding. It is nice to know and have that peace of mind.” – Christopher Adams, Cedar Creek Builders
Reliant Funding is honored to represent so many veterans in small business. By eliminating origination fees for veteran and active duty service members and their families, and releasing a comprehensive resource guide for veteran owned businesses, Reliant has shown its dedication to the veteran community. We believe knowledge is power, so we’re committed to setting VOBs up with the know how to successfully navigate:
Cash flow management strategies
Funding options and how to use them
Certification as veteran owned business
Training and education opportunities
How to take and apply advice from other successful veteran business owners
If you’re a veteran or family member of a veteran looking for funding and working capital for your new or existing venture, our special offering to veterans and the debut of our VOB guide is proof of our commitment to investing VOBs.
Adam Stettner is the CEO and Founder of Reliant Funding
News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi gets BitLicense in New York. Funding Circle unveils 250M GBP securitization of SME loans. Zopa raises 1.4M GBP. RateSetter to close family finance product. RMBS gears up for securitization windfall. Reserve Bank of India raises P2P lending limit by 5x. Today’s main analysis: Prosper performance update – October 2019. […]
New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has approved SoFi’s BitLicense application, allowing SoFi Invest customers in New York to trade cryptocurrencies on its platform through SoFi Digital Assets, LLC.
Through the use of artificial intelligence, Upstart examines approximately 1,600 variables pertaining to loan applicants, says CFO Sanjay Datta. But he doesn’t like to draw attention to the artificial intelligence per se.
In a Nov. 8 report, Kroll rated the performances of five loan securitizations, worth a cumulative $1.5 billion, that Upstart offered from mid-2017 through early this year. Each one has significantly outperformed Kroll’s forecast at the time of the deal.
Kroll predicted that Upstart’s first securitization, dated June 21, 2017, would experience 13.07% credit losses by October 2019. But the actual losses were only 9.96%, 24% better than forecast.
Kabbage placed Vermont at the third-highest in the nation at 173.90 on the Kabbage Index Value, based on monthly median-revenue growth for small businesses.
The Kabbage Index Value (KIV), a value used to track revenue growth of small businesses, increased almost 22 points, from 136.8 to 158.4 points, indicating U.S. small businesses’ median revenue grew 15.7% in the first six months of the year. This represents a 22% increase compared to the same time period in 2018 and a large contrast from the second half of 2018 when small business revenue only grew 1.8 percent.
StreetShares quietly discontinued a major part of its financing business on November 15, a new disclosure filed with the SEC revealed.
The company has only facilitated $180 million in funding to small businesses since inception in 2014. That would indicate that the invoice factoring portion was roughly half of the company’s funding volume.
Monzo has hired a Visa executive — who was previously with Standard Chartered — to lead its US business as it ramps up efforts to become a fully-fledged bank in the country even though complex rules have deterred some rivals, according to the FT.
Innovation in online lending has shifted consumers away from traditional payday lenders. And while that’s a safer bet, the shift has also sparked a misguided policy conversation around online lending that is focused on the wrong thing: capping interest rates.
Consumers with spotty or no credit histories might find it easier to get loans after federal banking regulators endorsed alternatives to traditional methods of assessing creditworthiness.
The regulators on Tuesday backed the use of information such as borrowers’ cash flow as an alternative to the traditional credit-evaluation system, which relies on scores issued by companies such as Equifax Inc. and Experian PLC based on applicants’ past history of borrowing and repayments.
Fintech lenders were supposed to be the next big thing in finance. Big data, machine learning, peer-to-peer platforms, social networking data: the list of buzzy new ideas that were supposed to upend the business of money lending went on and on.
Whether their families are higher income, lower income, or somewhere in between, a majority of all students today take out loans to cover at least part of their undergraduate degree. Which wasn’t always the case.
In fact, over the last 20 years, the percentage of students from higher-income families — defined here as making more than $114,000 a year — who take out loans to get a bachelor’s degree has more than doubled, from 30% in the mid-1990s to 60% now, according to a new report out Wednesday from the American Enterprise Institute. The percentage of students from low-income families who take out loans is higher, just over 75%, but hasn’t increased nearly as much since the 1990s.
Curo Group Holdings Corp. failed to shake off a proposed shareholder class action after the District of Kansas found sufficient allegations that the company didn’t disclose facts that were bound to impact its financial performance.
Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE: ELVT), today announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Jason Harvison, and Chief Financial Officer, Chris Lutes, will attend the Jefferies’ Crossover Consumer Finance Summit on December 12, 2019 at The New York Lotte Palace Hotel. Mr. Harvison and Mr. Lutes will be available for 1×1 meetings with investors.
On Tuesday, November 20, Harvard University’s Real Estate Development Club together with ArborCrowd (the “Company”), the first crowdfunding platform launched by a real estate institution, hosted a panel of experts at Harvard University to discuss the future of commercial real estate investing. The panel was attended by graduate students interested in pursuing a career in commercial real estate.
Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, and Ellie Mae, the cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, today announced that Finicity’s digital Verification of Assets (VoA) solution is now available through Ellie Mae’s Encompass Consumer Connect, part of the Encompass Digital Lending Platform.
Marketplace lending company Funding Circle (LSE:FCH) recently unveiled its £250 million securitization of SME loans with Waterfall Asset Management. The duo reported that the portfolio brings the total amount of UK Funding Circle loans securitized to £1 billion and the deal will notably open up the small business loans asset class to an even wider range of investors such as insurance companies and pension funds.
On, average Funding Circle collects 4.86% of the total amount of new loans generated annually as transaction revenue and 0.82% of the annual principal balance of loans under management in servicing fees.
Uncapped, a London-headquartered and Warsaw-based startup that wants to provide “revenue-based” finance to growing European businesses, is officially launching today and disclosing that it has raised £10 million in funding.
Finastra today announced that it has joined the World Economic Forum. The move will see the company collaborating with industry leaders and policy-makers to drive change across financial services, world trade and beyond, to help build a better, sustainable future.
Southwest China’s Sichuan Province became the country’s latest province to ban all peer-to-peer lending (P2P) businesses amid regulators’ tightened grip on the internet financial industry due to monetary risks.
Volumes have picked up since then, and RMBS-related issuance is forecast to reach $100 billion in 2019, up from $86 billion in 2018, according to Standard & Poor’s. However, the market is still a shadow of its former self. The banks still dominate mortgage lending, but not nearly to the extent that they used to. Most are quick to point out that their online disruptors have yet to perform through a cycle.
The banks still dominate mortgage lending, but not nearly to the extent that they used to. Most are quick to point out that their online disruptors have yet to perform through a cycle.
German fintech N26, valued at $3.5 billion in its latest funding round, views a stock market listing as an attractive option, but rather in 4-5 years than in the short-term, its Germany head told Reuters.
In a move to aid faster expansion and provide more security and regulatory compliance tools, Klarna Bank in Sweden is strengthening its longtime relationship with Amazon Web Services by making it the bank’s preferred cloud provider.
Klarna says it will leverage the AWS global infrastructure to support its scale, now at 60 million customers across 170,000 merchants in 17 countries.
Despite the influence of the US, we are finding something quite different when exploring the way the FinTech market is evolving. European technological innovation is having a profound effect on the approach US companies are taking, reversing the well-known ‘cultural influencing trend.’
While they turn to online banking, and given the rise in digital transformation, the most customers still appreciate the need for financial advice face-to-face, especially for complex transactions or help. Accenture’s recent study of financial service consumers show that on average two-thirds of consumers favour face-to-face interaction with their bank.
Today, the entire crypto loaning industry is estimated at $4.7 billion and the number of crypto loan platforms is growing rapidly, according to a report made by blockchain company Graychain Ltd. While lenders have only earned a combined $86 million in interest since 2018, the demand for cryptocurrency loans is growing. In the first quarter of 2019, over 5,400 new loans were issued, and in the second, at least 18,500. The volume of lending also increased, with lenders issuing $64.8 million in loans in the first quarter and $159.3 million in the second.
India’s central bank has raised the lending cap for peer-to-peer platforms fivefold, providing a boost to such lending.
The aggregate exposure of a lender to all borrowers at any point of time, across all non-banking financial company-peer-to-peer platforms, will be capped at Rs 50 lakh against Rs 10 lakh at present, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies issued on Dec. 5.
MyMoneyMantra is taking on rivals like BankBazaar and Paisabazaar head on. The company is growing its giant distribution network even as it swiftly expands its digital footprint to scale faster. But its physical network will remain the core business. A digital-only model just doesn’t deliver, believes its founder.
The new venture is an app called Mi Credit, and it’s a marketplace for personalized lending, offering users credit between Rs 5,000 ($70) and Rs 100,000 ($1,400). Xiaomi said it offers a “low” interest rate.
The NBFC (non-banking financial company), which lends to the young salaried segment with a monthly income of Rs 15,000 and upwards, is already profitable. With a monthly run-rate of 19000 loans, the lender has 30,000 unique customers. Its CEO Ketan Patel, who had spent 18 years in Kotak Mahindra Bank before joining CASHe, told IBS Intelligence that as long as lenders use technology to focus on strong underwriting, they need not worry about collections or NPAs.
FinAccel’s mission is to improve financial inclusion across Southeast Asia’s “vast and fast growing middle class”. Its starting point is Indonesia, where most of the country’s 265 million people lack access to formal financial services but do have a cell phone.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to lend $125 million to Mercado Credito, the bank’s third loan to a Latin American fintech this year and the biggest ever in Mexico.
MercadoLibre dominates Latin American e-commerce with an almost 25% market share and 40 million unique monthly visitors, Julie Chariell, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a November report. It’s based in Argentina, but almost two-thirds of its $603 million in third-quarter net revenue came from Brazil, according to the company’s financial statements. Its market value more than doubled this year to $29 billion.
The borrower, a unit of MercadoLibre Inc., plans to use the money to triple in about one year its $100 million working-capital portfolio provided to small and midsize companies in Mexico, Martin de los Santos, a senior vice president, said in a phone interview.
Migo, a fintech startup offering credit-as-a service to large companies, has raised $20 million in a Series B round led by Brazil-focused venture firm, Valor Capital Group. The round also saw participation from existing investors including The Rise Fund and Velocity Capital. It follows a $13 million Series A round in August last year.