New York Startup Bond Street is Reimagining Small Business Loans to Build Lasting Relationships with Founders
Ten years ago David Haber convinced his high school to let him cater tacos for Friday night football games. He also sold lighters and gel candles to Walgreens and worked as a Target cashier for gas money.
The common thread through each of David’s entrepreneurial endeavors was the belief that you could have an impact on the world around you — that even at a young age you could create something from nothing.
A decade later, David is the Co-founder and CEO of Bond Street: A fast-growing online lending solution for small business.
Based in New York, Bond Street’s highest goal is to be a financial advocate for small businesses. To do so, they enable SMBs to apply and get approved for $50,000 — $500,000 loans online.
The process is seamless. Founders provide all of their information in three to five minutes and Bond Street typically makes a decision within 48 hours. No printing, searching for financial records or physical trips to the bank required.
The team started lending in June 2014 and has since provided dozens of loans for SMBs, including Gin Lane who we recently featured on 33founders. Many companies have returned for second and third loans, despite being well fit for bank financing.
“That’s everything,” David commented on the returning founders.
“Our aspiration is to build the best customer experience we possibly can. At the end of the day, we’re in the business of selling money, and our dollars are just as green as any other lender.
For me, it’s about creating a customer experience that provides so much more value, even beyond the economics of the transaction. The lens by which we view the company is that we really want to be their financial advocate more than just their lender.”
Bond Street’s future is specifically focused on that goal. In addition to funding more loans, the team’s actively building tech solutions that will enable founders to scale their businesses.
At the startup’s helm, David truly exudes the Bond Street mission. Whether he’s discussing helping Gin Lane move into their new office or reminiscing on being the first customer at Joe Coffee, he lights up each time he talks about the impact of a Bond Street loan.
If it isn’t already clear, the team’s mission is heavily grounded in the human touch.
With that in mind, David’s adamant that the Bond Street experience is equally meaningful for customers who don’t get approved for loans, as it is for those who do. His intuition proved wise when founders the team wasn’t able to support still referred people to Bond Street.
“If that’s happening, then we’re doing something right,” he said.
The simplest path to maximizing human communication is scaling the underlying technology.
Being able to make a smart decision fast frees us up to make human connections that are really important.
“We need to continue to invest in technology and build efficiency so we can afford the human touch. We’ve already taken the process from 4 to 8 weeks, to many cases 48 hours. How do we get that to 4 to 8 seconds?”
In addition to speeding up the process, the team aims to empower small businesses by providing insights on how their margins compare to their peers. They also hope to provide actionable steps to improve the company’s credit.
Bond Street is equally committed to the third phase; Running your business after the loan.
“I don’t want the relationship to stop after we’ve made the loan. It should be about helping you continue to grow the business,” David shared.
As Bond Street gears up to celebrate it’s second birthday this October you may be shocked to learn that the team is still only nine people.
“We did a lot with very little. We built an amazing product. We delighted our customers and raised over $111.5 million in equity and debt capital,” David shared on the team’s evolution.
“It’s not to beat our own chest. Last year’s biggest problem was not having enough lending capital. This is a resource to help thousands of more companies succeed,” he continued.
Bond Street raised a $110 million Series A, bringing their total funding to $111.5 million, with the simple and powerful mission that they are “changing the relationship [with lenders] for small businesses who are thinking of raising capital.”
When it comes to the fast-paced journey, it’s no surprise that the 27-year old CEO is most proud of the team and the relationships they’ve built with founders and investors.
Whether it was bringing on Jerry Weiss, a former Senior Vice President at Citi Bank, or building a scrappy team that finds creative solutions, David’s greatest achievement is the team of nine that made the last two years possible.
Moving forward, Bond Street plans to use the $10 million of their Series A that was raised from institutional investors — Spark Capital and Jeffries Group led the round — to grow the team to 40 or 50 individuals in the next two years.
Airbnb Co-Founder Nathan Blecharczyk, who David sat next to while interning his sophomore year, and David Chang, chef and owner of Momofuku participated in the round among others.
As a founder, David’s deeply invested in the team’s growth and the evolution of their culture.
Despite startups struggling with early hires, David and his co-founder Peyton Sherwood, chose to bring on a senior executive with over 30 years of experience as their first team member.
When it came to hiring Jerry, David explained: “It was a really funny conversation. We were asking the Head of Risk at a massive bank to join a two person company when we’re working out of our apartments. It’s one of the best decisions we’ve made.”
Being audacious and following their guts, despite being such young founders, is the guiding force behind Bond Street’s success.
Be bold. Take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail. We’re not here to build and create an incremental improvement to what exists. We’re here to radically change what the lending experience should feel like and to change the conversation around what a loan is.
The future is certainly bright for Bond Street, and I’m confident that David’s the right CEO to lead the team.
When it comes to current, or future success, he relies on insight from his mentor Rory Riggs to maintain balance: “Success doesn’t dictate working hard or being humble…We are only going to be successful if we help other people be successful.”
Here’s a glimpse of what we discuss:
- How to get a SMB loan with Bond Street
- Scaling technology to maximize human interaction
- Inside Bond Street’s Series A, including the difference between venture capital and debt
- How to scale your personal life alongside your professional one
Originally published at www.33voices.com.