Bank of Montreal online mortgage app circa Jan 1998 (via Internet archive). It's telling that Apply by Phone/Fax were more prominent than Apply Online.


Cleaning out some (paper!) files over the weekend, I ran across an Online Banking Report article I wrote in 1997 about Bank of Montreal's pioneering online mortgage application. It was the first time anyone had put a mortgage app online and one of the first online credit apps of any kind (note 1). Naturally, we were excited about it, naming it the biggest innovation of the year.

Unfortunately, we didn't track when the first business loan application went online, but it was likely a few years later, let's call it 2000/2001. So, the capability has existed for 20 years.

But as you can see from the chart below, the digital SMB lenders started in earnest during and right after the 2007/2008 financial crash. Only 3 surviving lenders were launched prior to 2007. Whereas, 3 of the 5 largest were founded in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

As a side note, there have been no major digital lenders founded in the past 30 months. We expect that will change quickly as the small businesses rebound from the pandemic.


Digital Lenders: Year Founded

Prior to 2007 >>> 3
2007 to 2011 >>> 7
2012 to 2015 >>> 9
2015 to 2018 >>> 7
2019 to 2021 >>> 0


Digital Lenders (ranked by our FAB score*)

Rank Company Founding HQ FAB Score Funding $M Visitors (Apr21)
1 Kabbage (AmEx) 2008 Atlanta 265 2500 210,000
2 BlueVine 2013 SF 187 768 1,050,000
3 SmartBiz Loans 2009 SF 133 37 1,350,000
4 Lendio 2011 Utah 127 109 1,200,000
5 OnDeck 2007 NYC 122 1200 100,000
6 Biz2Credit 2007 NYC 113 387 770,000
7 Nav 2012 Utah 106 99 990,000
8 CAN Capital 1998 Atlanta 84 1002 3,800
9 Fundera (NerdWallet) 2013 NYC 62 18.9 620,000
10 FundBox 2013 SF 53 434 120,000
11 Camino Financial 2014 LA 43 20.4 420,000
12 Lendistry 2015 Brea, CA 10 1.5 95,000
13 Lighter Capital 2010 Seattle 7 16 100,000
14 BizFI 2005 NYC 6 160 0
15 Fund that Flip 2014 NYC 6 13.2 55,000
16 Credibly 2010 Detroit 5 77 21,100
17 HoneyComb Credit 2017 Pittsburgh 4 3.1 17,800
18 Salaryo 2017 NYC 4 12.1 0
19 NepFin 2017 SF 4 13 2,400
20 FaasTrak 2018 Charlotte 3 0.7 0
21 SMBX 2016 SF 3 3.7 9,900
22 Patch of Land 2013 LA 2 24.9 15,400
23 Forward Line 2003 SF 1 120 12,000
24 P2Binvestor 2012 Denver 1 33.3 1,500
25 IOU Financial 2011 Atlanta 1 32.1 9,500
26 Lendvo 2015 Wash DC 1 1.3 2,000

Source: Compiled by FintechLabs, 11 May 2021 from Crunchbase, SimilarWeb data

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


Notes:
1. A defunct Canadian bank, Bayshore Trust, launched the first online loan application in March 1996.


Alt-Lenders (Digital) Lending to Small-to-Medium Businesses (SMB) in the United States

1. Kabbage (acquired by American Express)
FAB Score = 265
– HQ: Atlanta
– Founded: 2008
– Raised: $2.5B (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 210,000 (SimilarWeb, April 2021)
– Employees: 600 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 591 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  27,100 followers
Trustpilot: 3.9 (6,660 reviews)

2. Bluevine
FAB Score = 187
– HQ: San Francisco
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $768M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 1,050,000 (SimilarWeb, April 2021)
– Employees: 357 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 95 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  4,330 followers
Trustpilot:  4.5 (6,470 reviews)

3. SmartBiz Loans
FAB Score = 133
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2009
– Raised: $37M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 1,350,000 (April 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 112 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 13 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  2,500 followers
Trustpilot:  4.6 (13,400 reviews)

4. Lendio
FAB Score = 127
– HQ: Salt Lake City, Utah
– Founded: 2011
– Raised: $109M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 1,200,000 (April 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 392 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 118 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  14,200 followers
Trustpilot:  4.7 (15,700 reviews)

5. OnDeck (NYSE:ONDK)
FAB Score = 122
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2007
– Raised: $1.2B (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 100,000 (April 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 587 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  12,300 followers
Trustpilot: 4.9 (2,820 reviews)

6. Biz2Credit 
FAB Score = 113
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2007
– Raised: $387M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 770,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 350 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 147 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  13,700 followers
– Trustpilot:  4.2 (10,450 reviews)

7. Nav
FAB Score = 106
– HQ: Utah
– Founded: 2012
– Raised: $99M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 990,000 (April 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 120 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 166 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 3,420 followers
Trustpilot: 4.7 (153 reviews)

8. CAN Capital
FAB Score = 84
– HQ: Atlanta
– Founded: 1998
– Raised: $1.0B (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 3,800 (April 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 395 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 92 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  2,060 followers
Trustpilot: 4.4 (703 reviews)

9. Fundera (acquired by NerdWallet) 
FAB Score = 62
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $18.9M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 620,000 (April 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 64 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  27,200 followers
– Trustpilot:  4.7 (817 reviews)

10. Fundbox 
FAB Score = 53
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $434M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 120,000 (April 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 92 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  7,910 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.7 (2,740 reviews)

11. Camino Financial
FAB Score = 43
– HQ: LA
– Founded: 2014
– Raised: $20.4M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 420,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 81 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 10 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 1,170 followers
Trustpilot: 4.7 (71 reviews)

12. Lendistry
FAB Score = 10
– HQ: Brea, CA
– Founded: 2015
– Raised: $1.5M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 95,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 4 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 18 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  1,500 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

13. Lighter Capital
FAB Score = 7
– HQ: Seattle
– Founded: 2010
– Raised: $16M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 100,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 80 (Owler)
– Citations:  112 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 13,300 followers
– Trustpilot:  NA

14 (tie). BizFI (acquired by World Business Lenders 2017; appears dorment)
FAB Score = 6
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2005
– Raised: $160M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: NA
– Employees: NA
– Citations:  207 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 5,610 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.6 (440 reviews)

14 (tie). Fund that Flip
FAB Score = 6
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2014
– Raised: $13.2M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 55,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 59 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 9 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  3,670 followers
– Trustpilot: 3.7 (1 review)

16. Credibly
FAB Score = 5
– HQ: Detroit
– Founded: 2010
– Raised: $77M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 21,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 110 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 4 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  5,640 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.6 (677 reviews)

17 (tie). Honeycomb Credit
FAB Score = 4
– HQ: Pittsburgh
– Founded: 2017
– Raised: $3.1M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 18,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 22 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 19 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 559 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.7 (35 reviews)

17 (tie). Salaryo
FAB Score = 4
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2017
– Raised: $12.1M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors:  NA
– Employees: 11 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: NA
Twitter:  245 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

17 (tie). NepFin
FAB Score = 4
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2017
– Raised: $13M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 2,400 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees:  11 (Craft)
– Citations:  NA
– Twitter:  NA
– Trustpilot: NA

20 (tie). FaasTrak
FAB Score = 3
– HQ: Charlotte
– Founded: 2018
– Raised: $13M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: NA
– Employees: 7 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 2 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 63 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

20 (tie). SMBX
FAB Score = 3
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2016
– Raised: $3.7M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 9,900 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 15 (Pitchbook)
– Citations:  (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 302 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

22. Patch of Land
FAB Score = 2
– HQ: LA
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $24.9M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 15,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 35 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 35 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  48,000 followers
– Trustpilot: 3.3 (26 reviews)

23 (tie). ForwardLine
FAB Score = 1
– HQ: LA
– Founded: 2003
– Raised: $120M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 12,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 50 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 2 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 667 followers
Trustpilot: 4.4 (198 reviews)

23 (tie). P2Binvestor
FAB Score = 1
– HQ: Denver
– Founded: 2012
– Raised: $33.3M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 1,500 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 11 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 25 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 2,570 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

23 (tie). IOU Financial
FAB Score = 1
– HQ: Atlanta
– Founded: 2011
– Raised: $32.1M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 9,500 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 51 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 8 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 1,320 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.9 (492 reviews)

23 (tie). Lendvo
FAB Score = 1
– HQ: Washington DC
– Founded: 2015
– Raised: $1.3M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 2,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 2 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 0 (Crunchbase)
– Twitter:  NA
– Trustpilot:  (reviews)