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 began in earnest during and right after the 2007/2008 financial crash. Only 4 surviving lenders were launched prior to 2007. Whereas, 3 of the 6 largest were founded in 2007, 2008, and 2009.


Digital Lenders: Year Founded

Prior to 2007 >>> 4
2007 to 2011 >>> 10
2012 to 2015 >>> 13
2016 to 2018 >>> 3
2019 to 2021 >>> 3


Challenger of the Month

Clearco (formerly Clearbanc)  |  HQ: Toronto  |  Founded: 2015  |  Raised: $682M  |  Website traffic: 260,00/mo  |  Employees: 600  |  Article citations: 78  |  Linkedin follwers: 35,000 |  Twitter followers: 8,600  |  Trustpilot score: 4.5

 

NEW: Looking for digital banks, lenders, payment providers, insurance or digital accounting for small businesses? Check out our latest lists: SMB online lenders (33) | SMB challenger banks (12) | SMB insurers (15) | SMB charge cards/expense management (16) | Billpay & invoicing (16)| Payment processors (7) | Subscription processors (7) | SMB digital accounting/bookkeeping (21)

The FAB Score Ranking (Fintech Attention Barometer) is a proxy for the size of a private fintech company.


Digital Lenders Ranked by our FAB* score (updated 3 Feb 2022)

Rank Was** Company FAB Score* Founded HQ Funding ($M) Visits
(Nov '21)
1 2 Kabbage (AmEx) 424 2008 Atlanta 2500 360,000
2 1 Clearco 368 2015 Toronto 682 260,000
3 3 Capchase 241 2020 NYC 470 12,000
4 5 BlueVine 212 2013 SF 767 520,000
5 5 OnDeck 183 2007 NYC 1200 100,000
6 7 Nav 180 2012 Utah 92 850,000
7 4 Pipe 178 2019 Miami 316 110,000
8 9 FundBox 149 2013 SF 554 180,000
9 8 CAN Capital 129 1998 Atlanta 1002 12,000
10 10 Fundera (NerdWallet) 121 2013 NYC 18.9 600,000
11 14 Lendio 100 2011 Utah 109 440,000
12 12 Biz2Credit 87 2007 NYC 387 200,000
13 11 Nuula 67 2021 Toronto 120 3,600
14 13 Lighter Capital 63 2010 Seattle 116 81,000
15 15 Camino Financial 58 2014 LA 20.4 280,000
16 18 Fund that Flip 31 2014 NYC 33.2 100,000
17 16 SmartBiz Loans 16 2009 SF 37 85,000
18 21 BizFI 13 2005 NYC 160 0
19 19 SMBX 12 2016 SF 15.2 26,000
20 17 SnapCap (LendingTree) 10 2012 Charlston, SC 0 65,000
21 19 Lendistry 9 2015 Brea, CA 1.5 43,000
21 27 IOU Financial 9 2011 Atlanta 32.3 43,000
23 24 HoneyComb Credit 8 2017 Pittsburgh 3.2 22,000
23 22 Credibly 8 2010 Detroit 77 12,000
25 22 Patch of Land 7 2013 LA 54.9 4,100
25 26 Forward Line 7 2003 SF 120 7,700
27 25 Salaryo 4 2017 NYC 12.1 1,700
28 27 P2Binvestor 2 2012 Denver 33.3 1,400
28 30 Rapid Finance 2 2005 Bethesda, MD 0 60,000
30 27 Lendvo 1 2015 Wash DC 1.3 4,200
30 30 Channel Partners 1 2009 Minneapolis 50 1,400
32 30 Lendr 0 2011 Chicago 25 1,200
32 30 Lendinero 0 2014 Miami 0.03 500

Source: Compiled by FintechLabs, 3 Feb 2022, from Crunchbase, SimilarWeb, SEMRush data

*(As nerds do) We have developed 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.
** Rank on 15 Nov 2021


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


Top 30 Alt-Lenders (Digital) Lending to Small-to-Medium Businesses (SMB) in the United States (as of Nov 2021)

Rank (by FAB score)

1. Clearco (formerly Clearbanc; updated 4 Feb 2022)

FAB Score = 368
– HQ: Toronto
– Founded: 2015
– Raised: $682M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 260,000 (SimilarWeb, Nov 2021)
– Employees: 600 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 78 (Crunchbase)
– Linkedin: 35,000 followers (590 employees)
– Twitter:  8,800 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.5 (261 reviews)

2. Kabbage (acquired by American Express)
FAB Score = 324
– HQ: Atlanta
– Founded: 2008
– Raised: $2.5B (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 420,000 (SimilarWeb, Oct 2021)
– Employees: 188 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 604 (Crunchbase)
– Linkedin: 37,000 followers
– Twitter:  26,700 followers
– Trustpilot: 3.7 (6,700 reviews)

3. Capchase

FAB Score = 245
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2020
– Raised: $470M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 56,000 (SimilarWeb, Oct 2021)
– Employees: 67 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 13 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 4,400 followers
Twitter:  1,260 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

4. Pipe

FAB Score = 138
– HQ: Miami
– Founded: 2019
– Raised: $316M (Crunchbase)
– Valuation: $1B+ (estimate)
– Website visits: 110,000 (SimilarWeb, Oct 2021)
– Employees: 119 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 49 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 9,100 followers
– Twitter:  29,700 followers
– Trustpilot:  NA

 

5 (tie). Bluevine
FAB Score = 138
– HQ: San Francisco
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $768M (Crunchbase)
– Valuation: $1B+ (estimate)
– Website visits: 440,000 (SimilarWeb, Oct 2021)
– Employees: 460 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 102 (Crunchbase)
– Linkedin: 34,000 followers
– Twitter:  4,400 followers
– Trustpilot:  4.4 (6,700 reviews)

 

5 (tie). OnDeck (NYSE:ONDK)
FAB Score = 138
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2007
– Raised: $1.2B (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 100,000 (Oct 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 746 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 589 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  12,300 followers
Linkedin: 23,700 followers
Trustpilot: 4.8 (3,020 reviews)

7. Nav
FAB Score = 125
– HQ: Utah
– Founded: 2012
– Raised: $92M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 940,000 (Oct 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 119 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 176 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 3,440 followers
Trustpilot: 4.6 (156 reviews)

 

8. CAN Capital
FAB Score = 97
– HQ: Atlanta
– Founded: 1998
– Raised: $1.0B (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 19,000 (Oct 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 395 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 92 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 12,400 followers
Twitter:  2,050 followers
Trustpilot: 4.6 (718 reviews)

9. Fundbox 
FAB Score = 77
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $454M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 230,000 (Oct 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 300 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 98 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 14,600 followers
Twitter:  7,920 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.7 (2,740 reviews)

10. Fundera (acquired by NerdWallet) 
FAB Score = 76
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $18.9M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 610,000 (Oct 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 200 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 66 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 6,450 followers
Twitter:  27,200 followers
Trustpilot:  4.8 (821 reviews)

11. Nuula
FAB Score = 63
– HQ: Toronto
– Founded: 2021
– Raised: $120M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 220,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 100 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 9 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  34 followers
Linkedin: 2,800 followers
– Trustpilot:  NA

12. Biz2Credit 
FAB Score = 63
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2007
– Raised: $387M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 220,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 376 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 149 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  14,300 followers
Linkedin: 25,500 followers
Trustpilot:  4.5 (13,900 reviews)

 

13. Lighter Capital
FAB Score = 59
– HQ: Seattle
– Founded: 2010
– Raised: $116M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 100,000 (Oct 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 40 (Pitchbook)
– Citations:  114 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 14,400 followers
Twitter: 13,200 followers
– Trustpilot:  NA

 

14. Lendio
FAB Score = 54
– HQ: Salt Lake City, Utah
– Founded: 2011 (though it was originally founded in 2006 as FundingUtah).
– Raised: $109M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 380,000 (Sep 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 559 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 121 (Crunchbase)
– Twitter:  14,000 followers
– Linkedin: 15,500 followers
– Trustpilot:  4.7 (17,300 reviews)

15. Camino Financial
FAB Score = 44
– HQ: LA
– Founded: 2014
– Raised: $20.4M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 340,000 (Oct 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 81 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 14 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 7,950 followers
Twitter: 1,260 followers
Trustpilot: 4.7 (71 reviews)

16. SmartBiz Loans (formerly BillFloat)
FAB Score = 17
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2009 (originally as BillFloat)
– Raised: $37M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 150,000 (Oct 2021, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 144 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 13 (Crunchbase)
– Linkedin: 5,600 followers
– Twitter:  2,600 followers
– Trustpilot:  4.6 (16,300 reviews)

17. SnapCap (division of LendingTree)
FAB Score = 13
– HQ: Charleston, SC
– Founded: 2012
– Raised: INA (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 130,000 (Oct 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 21 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 2 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,900 followers
Twitter:  730 followers
Trustpilot: 4.7 (475 reviews)

18. Fund that Flip
FAB Score = 12
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2014
– Raised: $13.2M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 95,000 (Oct 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 103 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 13 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,800 followers
Twitter:  3,670 followers
– Trustpilot: NA (1 review)

19 (tie). SMBX
FAB Score = 9
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2016
– Raised: $15.2M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 14,000 (Oct 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 15 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 11 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,040 followers
Twitter: 370 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

19 (tie). Lendistry
FAB Score = 9
– HQ: Brea, CA
– Founded: 2015
– Raised: $1.5M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 70,000 (April 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 216 (Linkedin)
– Articles: 19 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 5,020 followers
Twitter:  1,500 followers
BBB: 4.6 (838 reviews)

 

21. BizFI (acquired by World Business Lenders 2017)
FAB Score = 8
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2005
– Raised: $160M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 1,200 (Oct 2021, SEMrush)
– Employees: 29 (Linkedin)
– Citations:  207 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,100 followers
Twitter: 5,540 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.6 (440 reviews)

 

22 (tie). Patch of Land
FAB Score = 6
– HQ: LA
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $54.9M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 12,000 (Oct 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 35 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 35 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 3,470 followers
Twitter:  47,500 followers
Trustpilot: 2.7 (29 reviews)

22 (tie). Credibly
FAB Score = 6
– HQ: Detroit
– Founded: 2010
– Raised: $77M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 23,000 (Oct 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 110 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 4 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 4,730 followers
Twitter:  5,570 followers
Trustpilot: 4.8 (889 reviews)

24. Honeycomb Credit
FAB Score = 5
– HQ: Pittsburgh
– Founded: 2017
– Raised: $3.1M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 15,000 (Oct 2021; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 26 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 20 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,610 followers
Twitter: 640 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.8 (38 reviews)

25. Salaryo
FAB Score = 3
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2017
– Raised: $12.1M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: Unknown
– Employees: 10 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 20 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 360 followers
Twitter:  240 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

26. ForwardLine
FAB Score = 2
– HQ: LA
– Founded: 2003
– Raised: $120M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 5,100 (Oct 2021; SEMrush)
– Employees: 50 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 2 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,060 followers
Twitter: 650 followers
Trustpilot: 4.8 (213 reviews)

27 (tie). P2Binvestor
FAB Score = 1
– HQ: Denver
– Founded: 2012
– Raised: $33.3M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 1,200 (Oct 2021; SEMrush)
– Employees: 11 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 25 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 900 followers
Twitter: 2,540 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

27 (tie). IOU Financial
FAB Score = 1
– HQ: Atlanta
– Founded: 2011
– Raised: $32.1M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 3,800 (Oct 2021; SEMrush)
– Employees: 45 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 10 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,460 followers
Twitter: 1,320 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.9 (565 reviews)

27 (tie). Lendvo
FAB Score = 1
– HQ: Washington DC
– Founded: 2015
– Raised: $1.3M (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 2,900 (Oct 2021; SEMrush)
– Employees: 2 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 0 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 52 followers
– Twitter:  NA
– Trustpilot: NA