Funding businesses through social and local communities
Today’s featured Cincinnati-based startup is helping entrepreneurs connect with local lenders to strengthen their communities.
SoMoLend supports small businesses and startups by making it easy for entrepreneurs to secure financing so their companies can succeed. Through their crowdfunding platform, borrowers can connect with local investors to secure loans at rates that are lower than average creating peer to peer lending.
SoMoLend’s foundation is based off of people helping each other and investing in them. It allows lenders to support and invest in companies that they believe in and helps create jobs.
Learn more about how SoMoLend could potentially help your business from Founder & CEO, Candace Klein.
What inspired you to start your company?
In 2010, I began a micro-lending program matched with a women’s only, training-based program for participants to earn funding for their start-up companies. There were start-ups that were not able to attain funding through this specific program, and it became apparent that small businesses everywhere needed an advocate. The idea for SoMoLend came from this realization and the desire to assist start-ups that were not able to gain funding through the program.
SoMoLend was founded in 2011 to serve small businesses that are not being served by traditional funding. SoMoLend was created on the principal of communities and people helping each other out: people investing in people. We strive as a company to assist local businesses, help entrepreneurs to grow, and allow lenders to invest in the companies and ideas they believe in most. Small businesses create jobs and support local communities, but are struggling to get the support they need; this is where SoMoLend steps in!
Tell us about your product or service
SoMoLend connects business borrowers seeking loans with investors looking to make a return on investment, doing well by doing good.
SoMoLend is the first of its kind in many ways as a fully transparent portal that allows investors to look into the eyes of business borrowers in their own neighborhood before making any lending decisions. With SoMoLend, individuals, banks, local governments, business associations, chambers of commerce and municipalities can invest in small businesses by use of a safe, secure, easy-to-use platform. SoMoLend is designed with the capability of allowing and promoting peer-to-peer lending, by which business borrowers can get loans from friends and family, customers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections. SoMoLend will launch peer-to-peer lending nationwide in 2013.
Our user-friendly technology can be accessed by 1) business borrowers who need funding for their small business or startup and 2) investors seeking higher than public market rates of return. Investors lend money directly to borrowers through SoMoLend, which packages the loans and sell them as notes, bypassing the need for banks and credit-card issuers. It’s social, mobile, local lending!
Tell us something unique about.
I have launched two successful startup companies: Bad Girl Ventures and SoMoLend. I absolutely plan to start more companies and actually have a little book that currently has 27 ideas for new businesses!
What problem does your product or service solve?
Banks are not lending to start-ups and small businesses. Approximately 17-18 million businesses in the US are not able to secure bank loans on any given day. At the same time, investors are no longer happy with stock market returns. These two problems create the perfect storm, and this is where SoMoLend steps in! Borrowers have more access to capital through one easy loan application that puts them in front of a large array of lenders. All loan offers, acceptances, and repayments occur directly through the SoMoLend platform. This allows both the borrower and lender to participate in a much more efficient loan process through the use of a safe, secure, easy-to-use platform.
What are your startup's three biggest challenges to growth?
The three biggest challenges to growth would be remaining up-to-date on all of the new regulatory changes for the crowdfunding industry, learning how to effectively present financials, and spreading the word about SoMoLend.
How has the Startup America Partnership helped you overcome these challenges to growth?
Startup America has definitely helped with networking and getting advice on all aspects of starting a business. Having access to experts in different areas including financials and marketing has been so valuable. Through networking, I have also had the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people throughout the crowdfunding industry as well as other industries. I believe that every stranger is a potential new friend, and have definitely been able to realize this through Startup America.
What Startup America Member Benefits have you used?
SoMoLend has entered several Startup America contests as well as presented as a speaker at multiple Startup Weekends.
Why should startups join Startup America?
Startup America provides so many fantastic opportunities for startups! I have greatly benefitted from my Startup America membership!
What is the startup culture like in your City/State?
Cincinnati is a great location for startups! There are several incubator programs in town, and this is a big reason why Cincinnati is the headquarters of SoMoLend! SoMoLend seeks to help small businesses and Cincinnati is a wonderful place for these types of businesses, including startups.
What else should we highlight about your startup?
SoMoLaunch Business Competition - SoMoLend is SoMoLaunching your dream with a $5,000 cash prize!
SoMoLend is hosting its first SoMoLaunch Business competition from August 15-September 30, 2012.
Do you have a great idea for a business? Do you currently own a small business and need funding to take it to the next level? If so, we want to award you $5,000 to help your worthy venture succeed. Don’t hesitate, the time to act is now and the money is at the table!
Small business owners and entrepreneurs - we understand that times are tough and we know the importance of funding to launch and sustain your operations. That’s why we’ve decided to award a $5,000 cash prize to a small business or startup company!
This is SoMoLend’s first competition and it will be open to applicants nationwide.
Registration for the SoMoLaunch Business Competition will kick-off August 15th and will close Septemer 30.
If you or someone you know would like to sign up and would like to learn more, let us know we will send you more information. You can reach us on the SoMoLend Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more and connect with SoMoLend here
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