There is a common belief in today’s business community that banks aren’t lending money. But Jeremy Hill, CEO of the newly launched, Bellevue-based Captivion, is banking on the contrary. The platform matches small- and medium-sized businesses that seek commercial or real estate loans with verified lenders.
“We’ve created the simplest way for small businesses to connect directly with banks that have an appetite to loan money. Captivion collects information about the business, who you are, how long you’ve been in business and what you’re looking for, and our software makes intelligent recommendations based on the most appropriate lender for you considering your situation,” Hill said. Captivion takes several criteria into account when matching a business to a lender – location, industry, type of loan (commercial or real estate), and loan amount.
Hill is a serial entrepreneur and Managing Director of JB Capital, a privately held investment banking and corporate finance advisory firm based in Bellevue he founded in 2007. His years of experience consulting and advising local small businesses helped guide Hill to Captivion’s creation.
According to Hill, there are currently 546,000 small businesses (meaning 500 employees or less) registered in the state of Washington. In 2013, those businesses originated 82,000 new small business loans for approximately $4.5 billion. He added that on the other side of the coin, there are 150 FDIC insured banks that operate in Washington, 110 different credit unions and about 20 private families that provide business or real estate loans.
Despite Washington currently having more than 250 lenders available, Hill said Captivion plans to only partner with about a dozen or so different local lenders. He said that decision was two-fold – businesses utilizing the service would become overwhelmed if they were to receive more than a hundred notices at a time for lending partnerships; and lenders would be unwilling to compete with so many other banks.
“There is an impression of a banking hangover from 2008 and 2009. But the reality is that banks want to lend money. Without doing so, they are out of business. But the banking business is getting harder and harder each and every day … banks are regulated today almost to a point of paralysis, so we aim to create programs that simplify the banking business by making their ability to connect to new prospective customers easier,” he said.
The platform is currently available in Washington state, but Hill plans to see Captivion on the national stage at some point in the near future.
What do you think about platforms like Captivion? Would you use it to find a lender? Sound off in the comments below.