NEW YORK (
, the growing Main Street business lender that has deployed more than $250 million in funding to small businesses in just a few years, has secured nearly $100 million in new debt commitments, including funding from
The new capital will give On Deck increased lending capacity against "surging demand" from small businesses for capital, it says.
The company has secured an $80 million credit facility jointly led by Goldman and Fortress Credit, a subsidiary of
Fortress Investment Group
, as well as a $17 million in venture debt loans from SF Capital and Lighthouse Capital Partners. The company didn't disclose terms of the debt financing.
One of the major issues throughout the recession and today is the difficulty encountered by small businesses in accessing capital. Not only are banks being extremely cautious when approving a loan, but the process is a lengthy and time-consuming transaction. The big Wall Street banks, in particular, have faced criticism for not supporting "the engine of the U.S. economy" -- small business owners. Goldman went as far as to launch its
10,000 Small Businesses
program in 2009, a $500 million initiative including small business-geared funding for local colleges and for broader community development.
On Deck, launched in 2007, seeks to remove barriers small businesses run into when seeking bank loans.
The lender promotes its quicker, more streamlined approach for business loans and emphasizes financial health in deciding whether the business is creditworthy. It takes into account business credit data, cash flow, payments to vendors and suppliers, public record information such as liens and bankruptcies and other variables, but not a personal credit check against the owner.
"The announcement reflects the accelerating growth we've had at On Deck," CEO Noah Breslow said in an interview. "This facility that we set up with Goldman Sachs gives us the runway we need to continue to scale the business up. It's validation of the platform we built, the credit model we have and the traction we've achieved in the market."
What's ironic about the platform is that in order to provide funding to these small businesses, On Deck borrows from banks, other financial institutions and investors.
"Banks would never be lending to the businesses that we're providing capital to," Breslow said in a
. "We're not a bank. We don't have piles of cash. Banks have the tools to dole out capital ... we borrow in bulk, but we have the ability to dole out smaller chunks" of capital.
The company has seen a 50% surge in loan demand in just the last four months, it says. On Deck has deployed more than $100 million in loans in the last 10 months.
On the equity side, On Deck's investors include some reputable venture capital firms: SAP Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, First Round Capital, Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures and Village Ventures, are among investors. To date the company has secured $43 million in equity funding, Breslow says.
Breslow added that while no other large publicly-traded companies have invested in the firm at this time, this is Fortress' second time around at providing capital to On Deck with a facility that is twice as large this time.
"It reflects the scale we've had," he says. Alternative solutions are "moving more mainstream."
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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