Lendio co-founders Brock Blake and Trent Miskin. Blake and Miskin founded Lendio in 2011, and in 2019 the company’s headquarters moved to Lehi.
Lehi’s new location in Lendio, where the company moved from southern Jordan in 2019.
Courtesy of Lendio
Starting a business can be exciting, but difficult – one of the biggest setbacks entrepreneurs face is financing. If an entrepreneur doesn’t qualify for a loan or doesn’t have something to offer as collateral at a bank, it may seem like the end.
This is where the alternative loan company Lendio comes in. Alternative loans, which essentially involve getting loans away from a bank, are on the rise. Forbes reported last yearr that “loans were among the first segments of finance to be disrupted by the technological revolution”.
Co-founders Brock Blake and Trent Miskin founded the company in 2011 after co-founding another company, “Funding Universe”. The idea behind Funding Universe is similar to what Lendio does now – connecting entrepreneurs to investors, angel investors, and venture capitalists. But Blake and Miskin realized that the number of small businesses that actually raised money through an angel investor or venture capitalist was remarkably low.
“It’s usually the high growth tech companies or something like that,” Blake said. “Most traditional businesses, restaurateurs, landscapers and retail stores need a loan. So we pivoted in 2011 to Lendio where we were like, OK, let’s help these small business owners get access to it, connect them with lenders and banks across the country, and help them get a loan.
And that’s what they’ve been doing ever since, pairing small business owners with businesses willing to invest in their product or business. Most matches are made online or over the phone, Blake said, at no cost to business owners who want to “shop around.” Next, business owners are put in touch with finance managers, who continue to guide them through the process of applying for a loan and choosing the best lender.
“A lot of times you can go online and shop around, but often business owners, when it’s really time to process the loan… usually you kind of want to talk to someone,” Blake said. . “We’re proud of this, we call it the ‘high-tech, high-touch experience’. “
As part of the creation of the high-touch experience just a few years ago, Lendio decided to add another unique aspect to its business: franchising.
When Blake and Miskin started Funding Universe, Blake explained, they networked a lot with different chambers of commerce, attending events, meeting bankers and insurance agents, etc.
“A lot of business owners enjoy doing business in their community. They want to talk to someone, they want to sit face to face, they want to get a recommendation from their bank or their accountant, ”Blake said. “So we decided to marry these two worlds and offer franchisees the ability to take advantage of our entire system… and start a business in your community. “
Jason Kirkham owns the Lendio franchise for the Utah market. “My job is to be the face of the business here in the community, meeting business owners in person and giving them the personal touch they want,” he said.
Trust is a big part of the “face” of business and relationship building. Kirkham and the other Lendio employees are committed to finding the best option for business owners.
“I even tell people, come see me first, I’ll give you honest advice and even tell you if you’re eligible to go to your bank,” Kirkham said. “My clients, thanks to this trust factor, know that I am not going to harm their business. I want them to get a loan now, but also in six months… to help them continue to grow and succeed in their business.
Lenders have found that Lendio generally has higher rates on loans, and the loans tend to be shorter term because they carry a higher risk. Business owners don’t have to pay for help comparing offers; instead, lenders pay Lendio the fees and interest they charge business owners.
Kirkham is one of 75 franchises in the country, although that number continues to grow, according to Blake. The company’s head office recently moved to Lehi. In total, Blake estimates they have over 300 employees, including 220 in Utah. As of this summer, Lendio has funded around $ 1.5 billion in loans, which Blake says has created an impact of nearly $ 5 billion and created tens of thousands of jobs.
“At the end of the day, that’s what excites us in the morning when we come to work, it’s the individual stories of those business owners that we help,” said Blake. “The impact this has on their ability to hire employees, pay for their children’s college education and open a second location, all of those things that they hope and dream to accomplish, we love to be a part of that story. . “
Business owners interested in checking out lenders and loan options through Lendio can start by visiting the company’s website, http://lendio.comr.