Levi King offers a unique perspective into small business lending in this TLFT interview.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as Nav.
Levi King: We started the business about six years ago. My business partner is an attorney. We offer free credit and financial education to small businesses in the US. Eventually, we’ll move to other parts of the globe. Small business owners can sign up and see their personal credit, business credit, and their checking data through an educational lens that helps them understand how third parties make risk-based decisions on their business.
We help them understand that data and improve it over time so it’s not a one-time view. We stay connected to these datasets. We refresh the data daily. We help them understand it, improve it, monitor it, and ultimately, leverage that data so that they can get into better financing and make better financial decisions over time.
Sramana Mitra: Is it a content business primarily?
Levi King: No. It all starts with data, but content is a very important piece. What’s different between us and other content providers is, we actually sit on all the data. We can make the content hyper-relevant. For example, if I’m a landscaper from the northeast, I can try to find content on how credit applies to a landscaper applies to a landscaper in the northeast, but it’s not going to be dynamic. It’s just going to be generic content that applies broadly whereas we start with the data layer and bringing all those data.
We have a dynamic software that wraps around that data that’s populated with dynamic content. The software layer is dynamic. There are lots of tools where they can improve their data. Also all the content and the product is dynamic. Content is a very important piece of our product but it’s very different. It’s hyper-dynamic based on the exact scenario the small business owner finds himself in.
Sramana Mitra: Now let’s walk through what kind of datasets you are bringing in to your product.
Levi King: We have native integrations with two consumer credit bureaus. We bring in those datasets. We have native integrations with FICO for their FICO Business Scores, which is called FBSF. Then we bring in the business checking account data. Those are all the datasets we have today. We’re adding merchant processing data shortly. We bring all those in together to give you a very robust view of how all that data is viewed by a financial institution.
Sramana Mitra: You don’t do Intuit integration.
Levi King: We don’t have a Quickbooks integration today because the Quickbooks data is very unreliable. A lot of times it lacks data integrity because the small business owner isn’t really staying on top of it until they’ve got to prepare for taxes. We focus on datasets where there is high data integrity.
Eventually, we’ll probably bring in Quickbooks, but it’s a smaller subset of all 30 million small businesses that use Quickbooks. Of that subset, a lot of the people putting in the information aren’t even the small business owners themselves. We just haven’t prioritized that dataset yet.
Sramana Mitra: How many small businesses are using your platform?
Levi King: Our business is split into two distribution strategies. The first is, we acquire small businesses directly through a variety of means. We have almost 400,000 direct customers. Then we also have an enterprise model where we distribute our product through third-party platforms. Through those channels, we have hundreds of thousands of more customers.