Amidst a slackening in investor interest in alternative online loans, Austin-based Able Lending announces Tuesday that it has received $100 million to fund its online small business loans from Community Investment Management, the first impact investment firm focused on marketplace lending.
“We’re very excited that within this difficult market, Able is bucking the trend,” says chief executive officer Will Davis. “We were able to do that because of the strength of our model, the strength of our portfolio, and the strength of the backer concept. Securing $100 million at this point, at this stage of the company but also given where the market is right now, is a huge story in and of itself.”
The two-year-old company uses a singular loan structure in a competitive space that has seen the growth of early leaders like OnDeck, CAN Capital and Kabbage plus a proliferation of startups over the last few years. Able has borrowers get “backers” or other friends, family or customers to fund part of the loan. The company says that, in addition to offering longer repayment periods, this enables it to charge lower APRs than its competitors because Able has found that having someone the borrower knows contribute to the loan increases their willingness to repay.