October 27, 2015
The LTP team had a pleasure to interview an official sponsor and exhibitor at Money20/20, Quote 2 Fund, on SMB funding, latest trends in the industry and challenges related to funding small businesses. Communication Officer Hezekiah Herrera and founder of Quote 2 Fund Jules Dalsey were answering our questions and provided valuable insights about business funding. Here is a transcript of the interview with Hezekiah and Jules:
LTP: For those of our readers who might not be familiar with Quote 2 Fund, please tell us the story behind Quote 2 Fund and the solutions you offer.
Hezekiah Herrera: Quote 2 Fund is an online platform and aggregator for small-business financing. Offering virtually every business financing product on the market, from SBA loans to alternative financing programs, Quote 2 Fund empowers small businesses with more options to choose from. Quote 2 Fund was founded by Jules Dalsey, son of the late Adrian Dalsey (Co-founder of DHL).
LTP: What is your competitive advantage in the market? What value are you providing to users and partners? Can you give us some examples of the biggest lending partners Quote 2 Fund has?
Jules Dalsey: We are all about helping people do small business financing the way it has done in almost every other industry. We asked ourselves: if you compare prices for flights or insurance, why not small-business financing? Quote 2 Fund enables business owners to access realistic financing quotes and options via Quolify, a proprietary instant comparison, pre-approval/instant approval app.
When speaking to small business owners across the country, we find that many of them are being misdirected or squeezed into a financing product that doesn’t make sense. But, unlike others, we offer every type of financing product out there—from SBA loans to alternative financing programs. Our goal is to empower small businesses with more options to choose from—at better speed and customer service.
LTP: What are the major challenges related to the business funding? How does Quote 2 Fund address them?
JD: The average small-business owner spends almost 25 hours filling out paperwork and approaching multiple banks and lenders. The sad truth is that roughly 72% of them are denied. So, what is your next move? A few things typically happen: you try your luck at another bank and maybe they'll overlook the things the other didn't or you start a tireless Internet search. You click on the links and banner ads, hoping that it will lead you to the right product, but instead, you find yourself stuck in something never intended for your purpose.
Quolify, our instant quote app, gives those who are unsure and/or feel they are unqualified, a place to determine what their options are without having to hop from bank to bank (or website to website). From a lender's perspective, Quote 2 Fund's Quolify app and platform help reduce the time and costs typically associated with reviewing applications submitted by those who do not have a true need for financing.
The great thing about Quote 2 Fund is that we're lender-agnostic. In other words, our loyalty is undivided; our customers come first. And because we offer virtually every type of financing product out there, they're being presented with more options. But above all, we provide transparency on the true cost of borrowing for both the borrower and the lender. Creating a culture of transparency in an industry known for fine print and hidden fees is no easy undertaking, but that’s exactly what we are doing.
LTP: How would you describe the current situation in the business funding space? What are the industry trends and the latest innovations in this field? What is the future of business funding?
HH: We're still seeing that most entrepreneurs are still unable to obtain financing from their bank. As a result, in the last few years, there has been a surge in online, alternative financing products that cater to the subprime business financing market.
Naturally, this has contributed to a large number of loan brokers eager to capitalize on the opportunity. Unfortunately, in addition to the high-interest rates carried by such alternative loans, some are engaging in predatory practices—many times offering products that the small business borrower is unable to repay. That is an on-going problem for both traditional and alternative lenders. The good thing is that there has been some level of self-regulation in this highly unregulated sector. OnDeck, for example, is an alternative lender that is doing a great job in identifying these individuals.
Clearly, a platform such as Quote2 Fund is necessary to educate and help get borrowers on the same page as lenders. It is the most mutually beneficial and cost-effective way for all parties involved.
It is in everyone’s interest to go beyond level-setting borrowers to helping them understand the importance of credit. It is what makes the difference in attaining favorable rates, terms and approvals in general. For this reason, we have collaborated with Nav (formerly Creditera) to help borrowers manage their credit and access the financing they need to grow their businesses. Most, importantly, this approach is necessary to avoid another financial crisis.
LTP: What are some milestones you have for Quote 2 Fund? What are your next steps?
JD: We are currently focused on lowering search costs for borrowers and lenders.
LTP: Tell us more about your participation at the Money 20/20 conference. What is it that Quote 2 Fund wants to let attendees know?
JD: Money20/20 is the largest global event focused on payments and financial services innovation for connected commerce. Money20/20 would be the only suitable stage to announce the official launch of Quote 2 Fund. Today’s consumers expect more integrated, personalized services, options and experiences—on demand. Our objective is to identify new partners and forge mutually beneficial relationships to meet those expectations. Quote 2 Fund is an official sponsor and exhibitor of Money20/20.