Category: Lenders

Digital SMB Lenders

Lending to small- and mid-sized businesses (SMB) is further along than many fintech services. While there were a few players in the early 2000s (just 4 remain), the market exploded after the 2007/2008 financial crisis with 10 companies founded from 2007 to 2011 and another 13 from 2012 to 2015. The pace slowed with about 1 new company per year since then. 

Businesses constantly need capital and smaller businesses have fewer options. So most digital fintech lenders are so-called alt-lenders, meaning they are an alternative to traditional financial institutions.

By using different underwriting techniques alt-lenders are able to lend to a much more diverse segment of businesses. This generally comes at substantially higher interest rates. But the comparison to legacy banks is meaningless. All that matters to the business is they make an acceptable risk-adjusted return on the borrowed funds. And to survive, alt-lenders make sure they only lend on terms that borrowers can make a profit on.

Here are the biggest digital SMB lenders in the United States:

Learn MoreFAB Score*FoundedFunding $M
ApplyClearco logoCLEARCO3962015$682MToronto
ApplyFundera Logo

Fundera (Nerdwallet)

762013$18.9NYC11 May 20219610,000018.95528600966284.8Lead gen
ApplySmartBizSmartBiz172009$37SF11 May 20213150,0000371210157110154.8
ApplyNavNav1252012$99Utah11 May 20217940,000099
ApplyBlueVineBlueVine1382013$767SF11 May 20212440,0007569379239031213904.694.6
ApplyBix2CreditBiz2Credit632007$387NYC18 May 20216220,0000387
ApplyCan CapitalCan Capital971998$1,002Atlanta11 May 2021819,000010029221102006954.5
ApplyLendioLendio542011$109Utah11 May 20214370,00001091001160035022924.9
ApplyOnDeckOnDeck1382007$1,200NYC11 May 20215100,000012005481190058724054.9102.3
ApplyKabbageKabbage (American Express)32420082500Atlanta11 May 20211420,0000250046005302300050066434.883034.9
ApplyFundboxFundbox772013$454SF31 Mar 202010230,0000434378737720277174057814.9
ApplyCamino FinancialCamino Financial442014$20.4LA11 May 202111420,000020.46722103281.8
ApplyLendistryLendistry1020151.5LA (Brea)11 May 20211270,000$1.50
ApplyLighter CapitalLighter Capital592010$116Seattle12 May 202113100,00016
ApplyBizfiBizfi82005$160NYC11 May 2021141,200016020758901814394.4Acquired by WBL in 2017
ApplyFund that FlipFund that Flip122014$13.2NYC11 May 20211595,000013.28373041
ApplyCredibilyCredibly62010$77Detroit11 May 20211623,000077458701554284.5
ApplyHoneycomb CreditHoneycomb Credit52017$3.1Pittsburgh, PA12 May 20211715,0001.81.3
ApplySalaryoSalaryo32017$12.1NYC11 May 2021185005.86.31510
ApplyNepfinNepFin4201713SF11 May 2021192,40001326
ApplyFaaStrackFaaStrak320180.7Charlotte11 May 202120000.7
ApplySMB XSMBX92016$15.2SF11 May 20212114,0002.51.2317316184.7Small Business Bonds Marketplace
ApplyPatch of LandPatch of Land62013$24.9LA11 May 20212212,000024.9345100036154.4
ApplyForwardLineForwardLine22003$120SF11 May 2021235,1000120
ApplyB2B InvestorP2B Investor12012$33.3Denver11 May 2021241,200033.325272014
ApplyIOU FinancialIOU Financial12011$32.1Atlanta11 May 2021253,8002.13031310504084.6
ApplyLendvoLendvo12015$1.3Wash DC11 May 2021262,90001.3
ApplyLendineroLendinero02014$0.03Miami11 May 202128000.0399602874.3
ApplyLendrLendr02011$25Chicago11 May 2021291,200025161339
ApplyNuulaNuula662021$120Toronto9 Sep 20211,400

Source: FintechLabs, 19 Nov 2021 from Crunchbase, SimilarWeb, SEMrush and other news sources

*FAB SCORE: As nerds do, we are developing a proprietary score measuring the adoption of private digital financial services companies that do not release traditional metrics (# customers, deposits, AUM, etc). We call it the FAB score, standing for Fintech Attention Barometer. It’s a work in progress, so expect changes in the formula.

Definition: To qualify, challengers don't need to originate loans themselves or be regulated as a financial institution. Startups must focus on small-business credit/debt (eliminates Paypal, Amazon, Square) delivered digitally (rules out Wells Fargo, BofA, and the majority of traditional banks). We will include divisions of traditional FIs if they operate under a separate autonomous brand, such as American Express's Kabbage unit.  

FAB Score*FoundedFunding $M
novo logo black copy 01 Artboard 1158SF2017$152
Rho logo 01 Artboard 167NYC2018$120
novo logo black 2114NYC2016$46
Nearside logo25SF2018$19
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FAB Score*FoundedFunding $M
Clearco logo3962015$682MToronto
Fundera Logo762013$18.9NYC
See Full List

Last Updated: August 2021
FAB Score*FoundedFunding ($M)
Rho logo682018$120NYC
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Updated June 2021
FAB Score*FoundedFunding ($M)
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