Small businesses play a strong role in driving the U.S. economy as they make up 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms and accounted for 63 percent of net new private sector jobs. While vital to the economy, small businesses often face the challenge of arduous and time-consuming processes when trying to raise the capital that they need to grow their businesses. Moreover, most of their needs are currently unaddressed or underserved by traditional banks and financial institutions. The smaller the size of your business, the more challenging the problem becomes. The Federal Reserve’s 2015 Small Business Credit Survey reported that 63% of businesses with annual revenue of less than $100,000 and 55 percent of businesses with annual revenue between $100,000 and $1 million faced financing shortfall with regard to their loan application outcomes.
In 2013, Mark L. Rockefeller and Mickey Konson got together to develop a new solution to fill this funding gap. The founding team had one vision: to breathe new life into the American Dream. Thus, StreetShares was born.
StreetShares is an online marketplace lending platform that brings together business owners in search of funding and investors looking for both financial and social returns. In the end, business owners get the best deal possible, and investors earn a solid return while supporting American small business – everybody wins. StreetShares provides loans with 3-month to 3-year repayment terms, with amounts ranging from $2,000-$100,000. To qualify for a loan, the applicant must be in business for over a year or has produced over $100,000 in revenue within the past twelve months.
How it works
Focus on veteran-owned small businesses
In 2012, almost one-tenth of U.S. business owners were veterans. Led and managed by veterans, Mark and Mickey and many of StreetShares’ team members have served in the military, StreetShares got the spirit of camaraderie running through their veins. For the StreetShares team, the mission is clear: to help fund as many veteran-owned small businesses as possible. The focus on this particular affinity group has also encouraged veteran investors to fund veteran business loan requests. In addition to funding, StreetShares also provides useful business information and tips on their website and social media channels
The StreetShares team
On the third episode of VentureKast, Accion Venture Lab’s podcast series, host Vikas Raj sat down with Mark in Reston, VA, to give our listeners’ an inside peek on StreetShares. The episode covers Mark’s story of leaving a Wall Street law firm to build StreetShares, how he and his co-founders built the company and hired an all-star team in DC, and Mark’s take on the future relationship between fintech startups and traditional banks. Tune in!