Canadian startup CommunityLend, originally designed as a crowdsourced platform for securing loans, this week announced an additional $3 million in funding raised. The company has since pivoted away from its original community-sourced financing model, and towards a more traditional financing business that provides businesses with a way to offer customers on-demand financing, much like larger retailers like Best Buy and Apple can provide.
CommunityLend’s new plug-and-play financing service is branded FinanceIt, and the company is using its new round of funding to help it cope with the rapid growth of that business. Community Lend CEO Michael Garrity told BetaKit in an interview that the company has doubled its staff in the past year, and expects that pace of growth to continue. That extra hiring has been in part to manage big increases on the sales side.
“We are taking in over 100 new merchant applications a month and seeing over $17 million in loan requests per month right now and the pace is quickening,” Garrity offered by way of explanation. “We needed the financing to fund our growth.”
Back when we last checked in on CommunityLend’s progress with FinanceIt, the company was tracking over $70,000,000 in loan applications, and Garrity notes that business has picked up since.
“We have over 1,100 merchants enrolled on our platform today and in May we averaged over $600,000 in loan requests a day from that community,” he said. “We are now consistently seeing loan request days exceeding $1,000,000. We have a great inflow of merchant activity in our vehicle and home improvement verticals and are very focused now on making an impact into retail sales and medical/dental financing.”
The company’s new focus may be less based on community involvement than its previous model, but it’s still doing a great job of democratizing the availability of affordable consumer financing. In fact, Garrity has a much grander vision for the business in the long term. “We ultimately see ourselves as a better and less expensive replacement for credit card transactions for all big ticket merchant sales,” he told us.
The next step for FinanceIt is to take its show on the road; Garrity said that CommunityLend will be taking part in 48hrs in the Valley, organized by Canadian entrepreneurial organization the C100, happening later this month. The primary reason for the trip from CommunityLend’s perspective? “Test[ing] the waters on possible U.S. partnerships,” says Garrity.