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Business loan innovator Lendio nabs $55 million in fresh funding

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Becca Grider and Tatiana Petty ship orders of hair bows for Little Poppy Co. in Draper on Monday, May 22, 2017. With help from Lendio, Grider was able to expand her business to keep pace with growing customer interest.

Kristin Murphy

LEHI — Utah business loan innovator Lendio announced a fresh $55 million Series E funding round Thursday led by local venture investment firm Mercato Partners.

Lendio co-founder and CEO Brock Blake said the new capital infusion, which includes both equity investment and debt facility, will help fuel plans for market expansion and continued product development.

“This $55 million round is a significant milestone in Lendio’s mission to fuel the American dream as a financial matchmaker that brings high-tech, high-touch capital to the small-business economy,” Blake said in a statement. “With these funds, we are strongly positioned to grow our existing platform as a trusted loan facilitator that supports both lenders and borrowers, while building out a range of new integrated lending services that get the right loans into the right hands at the right time.”

Lendio, which launched in 2011, has built a machine-learning enabled platform that matches the needs of small-business loan applicants to lenders that are best suited to clients’ circumstances. The company said it has seen a 75% year-over-year growth rate the past two years and has expanded into the largest small-business financing marketplace in the country, facilitating more than 100,000 loans totaling $2 billion.

In a 2017 Deseret News profile on the company, Utah business owners Becca Grider and Lindie Royall described how Lendio played a critical role in navigating some early financial challenges for their growing startup.

When the fast success of their Draper-based Little Poppy Co., an online business that offers a subscription service for monthly delivery of children’s hair bows, threatened to overwhelm them, Grider and Royall turned to Lendio for help.

”We were growing really, really fast and having a hard time keeping up with production,” Grider said. “We started working with a company to helps us set up manufacturing overseas but needed capital to make the changeover.”

And, Grider said, that’s when Lendio’s expertise helped get Little Poppy to the next level.

Grider and Royall needed money to cover their first big order from a contracted manufacturer but found that many lenders were going to require a large upfront interest payment, even though Little Poppy had great cash flow and the co-founders only needed a short-term lending solution.

”The loan product we got was perfect because it specifically took care of our needs,” Grider said. “This product was designed to cover a purchase order, which is what we were after. And the upfront interest was much, much lower.”

Mercato senior investor Ryan Sanders said Lendio has achieved the perfect balance of innovative technology combined with personal service.

“Lendio’s ability to combine innovative technology and data analytics with the human touch required to quickly and precisely connect small businesses with well-matched lending partners has made all the difference in its success,” Sanders said in a statement. “Lendio uniquely solves the problem of inefficient capital for small businesses by bridging lenders and borrowers. They are able to connect both sides and facilitate loans faster and more effectively between small business owners and lending institutions. Lendio’s impressive growth is a result of its technology-backed personalized service which has created a loyal and growing following in the industry.”

Other participants in Lendio’s equity round include existing investors Napier Park Financial Partners, Comcast Ventures, Blumberg Capital, Stereo Capital and Runa Capital.