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: 320,000/mo  |  Employees: 619  |  Article citations: 91  |  Linkedin follwers: 39,000 |  Twitter followers: 9,000  |  Trustpilot score: 4.3

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 17 June 2022)

Rank Was** Company FAB  Score* Founded HQ Funding ($M) Visits
(Apr 22)
1 1 Kabbage (AmEx) 428 2008 Atlanta 2500 380,000
2 2 Clearco 358 2015 Toronto 682 320,000
3 7 Pipe 306 2019 Miami 566 125,000
4 3 Capchase 284 2020 NYC 550 31,000
5 4 BlueVine 224 2013 SF 768 580,000
6 6 Nav 196 2012 Utah 92 930,000
7 5 OnDeck 193 2007 NYC 1200 150,000
8 15 Camino Financial 151 2014 LA 170 370,000
9 8 FundBox 149 2013 SF 554 180,000
10 9 CAN Capital 127 1998 Atlanta 1002 6,700
11 10 Fundera (NerdWallet) 109 2013 NYC 19 540,000
12 11 Lendio 94 2011 Utah 109 410,000
13 12 Biz2Credit 79 2007 NYC 387 160,000
14 13 Nuula 71 2021 Toronto 120 25,000
15 14 Lighter Capital 64 2010 Seattle 116 83,000
16 16 Fund that Flip 47 2014 NYC 33 180,000
17 19 SMBX 22 2016 SF 15 72,000
18 23 Credibly 19 2010 Detroit 77 64,000
19 21 IOU Financial 17 2011 Atlanta 132 9,400
20 17 SmartBiz Loans 15 2009 SF 37 78,000
21 18 BizFI 13 2005 NYC 160 1,900
22 21 Lendistry 13 2015 Brea, CA 1.5 64,000
23 25 Patch Lending 8 2013 LA 55 9,300
24 25 Forward Line 6 2003 SF 120 5,400
25 23 HoneyComb Credit 5 2017 Pittsburgh 3.2 8,900
26 27 Salaryo 5 2017 NYC 12 5,700
27 20 SnapCap (LendingTree) 4 2012 Charleston, SC 0 36,000
28 28 Rapid Finance 2 2005 Wash DC 0 60,000
29 28 P2Binvestor 2 2012 Denver 33 0
30 30 Channel Partners 1 2009 Minneapolis 50 1,400
31 30 Lendvo 0 2015 Wash DC 1.3 460
32 32 Lendinero 0 2014 Miami 0.03 0
33 32 Lendr 0 2011 Chicago 25 0

Source: Compiled by FintechLabs, 17 June 2022, from Crunchbase, SimilarWeb, SEMRush data

*(As nerds do) We have developed a proprietary score measuring the 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 2 Feb 2022


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. Kabbage (acquired by American Express)
FAB Score = 428
– HQ: Atlanta
– Founded: 2008
– Raised: $2.5B (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 380,000 (SimilarWeb, Apr 2022)
– Employees: 188 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 614 (Crunchbase)
– Linkedin: 39,000 followers (237 employees)
– Twitter:  26,500 followers
– Trustpilot: 3.4 (6,750 reviews)

2. Clearco (formerly Clearbanc; updated 16 June 2022)

FAB Score = 358
– HQ: Toronto
– Founded: 2015
– Raised: $682M (including $550M in 2021) (Crunchbase)
Valuation: $2.0 billion (based on April 2021 round)
– Website visits: 320,000 (SimilarWeb, Apr 2022)
– Employees: 619 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 91 (Crunchbase)
– Linkedin: 39,000 followers (627 employees)
– Twitter:  9,000 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.3 (286 reviews)

3. Pipe

FAB Score = 306
– HQ: Miami
– Founded: 2019
– Raised: $566M (including $550M in 2021) (Crunchbase)
Valuation: $2B (based on March 2022 round)
– Website visits: 125,000 (SimilarWeb, Apr 2022)
– Employees: 180 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 65 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 13,400 followers (181 employees)
– Twitter:  31,900 followers
– Trustpilot:  NA

4. Capchase

FAB Score = 284
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2020
– Raised: $550M (including $545M in 2021 & 2022) (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 31,000 (SimilarWeb, Oct 2021)
– Employees: 115 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 29 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 7,600 followers (138 employees)
Twitter:  2,200 followers
– Trustpilot: NA

5. Bluevine
FAB Score = 224
– HQ: San Francisco
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $768M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
Valuation: $1B+ (estimate)
– Website visits: 580,000 (SimilarWeb, Apr 2022)
– Employees: 500 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 107 (Crunchbase)
– Linkedin: 47,000 followers (560 employees)
– Twitter:  4,500 followers
– Trustpilot:  4.4 (7,000 reviews)


6. Nav
FAB Score = 196
– HQ: Utah
– Founded: 2012
– Raised: $92M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 930,000 (Apr 2022, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 150 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 176 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 3,500 followers
Trustpilot: 4.6 (176 reviews)

7. OnDeck (acquired by Enova Oct 2020)
FAB Score = 193
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2007
– Raised: $1.2B prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
Acquired by Enova in Oct 2020 for $120M
– Website visits: 150,000 (Apr 2022, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 50 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 590 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  12,200 followers
Linkedin: 25,200 followers (308 employees)
Trustpilot: 4.7 (3,400 reviews)


8. Camino Financial
FAB Score = 151
– HQ: LA
– Founded: 2014
– Raised: $170M including $150M in 2022 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 370,000 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 144 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 22 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 10,300 followers (159 employees)
Twitter: 1,530 followers
Trustpilot: 4.1 (75 reviews)


9. Fundbox 
FAB Score = 149
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $554M including $100M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 180,000 (Apr 2022, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 333 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 108 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 16,400 followers (333 employees)
Twitter:  8,000 followers
– Trustpilot: 4.8 (3,460 reviews)


10. CAN Capital
FAB Score = 127
– HQ: Atlanta
– Founded: 1998
– Raised: $1.0B prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 6,700 (May 2022, SEMRush)
– Employees: 395 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 92 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 12,600 followers (244 employees)
Twitter:  2,030 followers
Trustpilot: 4.9 (835 reviews)


11. Fundera (acquired by NerdWallet in Nov 2020)) 
FAB Score = 109
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $18.9M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 540,000 (Apr 2022, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 200 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 66 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 6,700 followers (45 employees)
Twitter:  26,600 followers
Trustpilot:  4.8 (841 reviews)

12. Lendio
FAB Score = 94
– HQ: Salt Lake City, Utah
– Founded: 2011 (though it was originally founded in 2006 as FundingUtah).
– Raised: $109M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 410,000 (Apr 2022, SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 593 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 125 (Crunchbase)
– Twitter:  13,900 followers
– Linkedin: 16,300 followers (590 employees)
– Trustpilot:  4.8 (19,100 reviews)


13. Biz2Credit 
FAB Score = 79
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2007
– Raised: $387M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 160,000 (April 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 376 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 151 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  14,500 followers
Linkedin: 28,600 followers (446 employees)
Trustpilot:  4.6 (14,300 reviews)


14. Nuula
FAB Score = 71
– HQ: Toronto
– Founded: 2020
– Raised: $120M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 25,000 (April 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 61 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 14 (Crunchbase)
Twitter:  53 followers
Linkedin: 4,300 followers (61 employees)
– Trustpilot:  NA

15. Lighter Capital
FAB Score = 64
– HQ: Seattle
– Founded: 2010
– Raised: $116M including $100M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 83,000 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 42 (Pitchbook)
– Citations:  115 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 15,300 followers (42 empolyees)
Twitter: 13,200 followers
– Trustpilot:  NA


16. Fund that Flip
FAB Score = 47
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2014
– Raised: $33.2M including $20M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 180,000 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 182 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 14 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 3,900 followers (224 employees)
Twitter:  2,200 followers
Trustpilot: NA (1 review)


17. SMBX
FAB Score = 22
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2016
– Raised: $15.2M including $11.5M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 72,000 (May 2022; SEMRush)
– Employees: 30 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 12 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,900 followers (45 employees)
Twitter: 425 followers
– Trustpilot: NA


18. Credibly
FAB Score = 19
– HQ: Detroit
– Founded: 2010
– Raised: $77M prior to 2020 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 64,000 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 146 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 4 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 6,200 followers (158 employees)
Twitter:  5,500 followers
Trustpilot: 4.8 (985 reviews)


19. IOU Financial
FAB Score = 17
– HQ: Atlanta
– Founded: 2011
– Raised: $132.3M (incuding $200k in 2021) (Crunchbase)
– Public: TSXV:IOU
– Website visits: 9,400 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 45 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 12 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,900 followers (82 employees)
Twitter: 1,330 followers
Trustpilot: 4.7 (627 reviews)


20. SmartBiz Loans (formerly BillFloat)
FAB Score = 15
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2009 (originally as BillFloat)
– Raised: $37M prior to 2014 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 78,000 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 153 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 15 (Crunchbase)
– Linkedin: 6,000 followers (170 employees)
– Twitter:  2,600 followers
– Trustpilot:  4.6 (16,400 reviews)


21 (tie). Lendistry
FAB Score = 13
– HQ: Brea, CA
– Founded: 2015
– Raised: $1.5M prior to 2020 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 64,000 (April 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 253 (Linkedin)
– Articles: 23 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 10,900 followers (253 employees)
Twitter:  1,920 followers
BBB: 4.7 (1,291 reviews)

21 (tie). BizFI (acquired by World Business Lenders 2017)
FAB Score = 13
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2005
– Raised: $160M prior to 2017 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 1,900 (May 2022; SEMRush)
– Employees: 29 (Linkedin)
– Citations:  207 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,140 followers (29 employees)
Twitter: 5,500 followers
Trustpilot: 4.6 (440 reviews)

23. Patch Lending (formerly Patch of Land; acquired by Cloverhill July 2021)
FAB Score = 8
– HQ: LA
– Founded: 2013
– Raised: $54.9M prior to 2018 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 9,300 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 46 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 36 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 4,100 followers (54 employees)
Twitter:  47,000 followers
Trustpilot: 3.8 (13 reviews)


24. ForwardLine
FAB Score = 6
– HQ: LA
– Founded: 2003
– Raised: $120M prior to 2020 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 5,400 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 62 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 2 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,400 followers (62 employees)
Twitter: 647 followers
Trustpilot: 4.6 (224 reviews)


25 (tie) Honeycomb Credit
FAB Score = 5
– HQ: Pittsburgh
– Founded: 2017
– Raised: $3.2M including $1.9M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 8,900 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 27 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 24 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,000 followers (28 employees)
Twitter: 674 followers
Trustpilot: 4.8 (46 reviews)


25 (tie) Salaryo
FAB Score = 5
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2017
– Raised: $12.1M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 5,700 (May 2022; SEMRush)
– Employees: 9 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 20 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 906 followers (10 employees)
Twitter:  232 followers
– Trustpilot: NA


27. SnapCap (division of LendingTree)
FAB Score = 4
– HQ: Charleston, SC
– Founded: 2012
– Raised: INA (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 36,000 (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 21 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 2 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,900 followers (26 employees)
Twitter:  719 followers
Trustpilot: 4.9 (577 reviews)

29. P2Binvestor
FAB Score = 2
– HQ: Denver
– Founded: 2012
– Raised: $33.3M prior to 2019 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: Unknown (Apr 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 11 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 25 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 906 followers (2 employees)
Twitter: 2,510 followers (last tweet April 2020)
– Trustpilot: NA


31. Lendvo
FAB Score = 0
– HQ: Washington DC
– Founded: 2015
– Raised: $1.3M prior to 2016 (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors: 460 (May 2022; SEMRush)
– Employees: 2 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 0 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 52 followers
– Twitter:  NA
– Trustpilot: NA