The Pitch Deck Loan-Automation Firm LoanWell Used to Raise $ 3 Million

  • The fintech startup LoanWell uses automation to help small and medium-size businesses get financing.
  • The firm hopes to fill a gap in SMB lending by catering to loans under $ 100,000.
  • Its pitch deck persuaded Impact America Fund, SoftBank, and Collab Capital to invest $ 3 million.

Bernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses – and they’ve got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.

Worthy, the company CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $ 100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $ 3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank’s SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.

LoanWell automates the financing process – from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing – which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said.

SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. Before small businesses were rocked by the pandemic coronavirus in early 2020, the segment accounted for nearly half of US economic activity and employed one in two people working in the private sector.

But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government Paycheck Protection Program. Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $ 100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business

bank loan

was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued

Federal Reserve


“It comes down to cost,” Bernard told Insider, referring to the mismatch in loan amounts. If it costs the same resources to underwrite a business loan for $ 50,000, versus $ 500,000, “it’s just the economy of it” that skews lenders toward larger check amounts, he added.

But “if we can shrink the amount of time to originate, then the cost to do that less-than- $ 100,000 loan just goes down, and it gets better aligned with the unit economics of that particular deal,” Worthy said.

The fintech also provides lenders with algorithms that consider alternative data points to assess the riskiness of small-business borrowers. Credit scores, which are traditionally used in underwriting, are “lagging indicators,” Worthy said, and often do not show an accurate, full picture of the business.

Instead, LoanWell helps community-development financial institutions assess factors like payment history, the number of full-time employees, and debt-to-income ratios, to decide which businesses to finance.

Worthy and Straight founded the startup in 2017 and spent the next two years building the tech to officially launch in 2019. The latest injection of funds will be used to double the team size and launch self-service tools to scale operations and expand access to financing to more businesses, Straight said.

Last year, LoanWell facilitated about $ 140 million in small-business loans via 25 lender customers. More than 60% of those loans went to ethnic minorities, while 46% went to female business owners, according to Worthy.

“It’s not just that it’s $ 100,000 or less – it’s who’s actually getting access to that,” he added.

Here’s the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise a $ 3 million seed round.

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