Thanks, Able.

Stu Smith
Stu Smith
Jan 27, 2017 · 3 min read

In 2014, I was the most stressed I had ever been running my business. I was in the middle of a ton of transition, but the single thing keeping me up at night was my crippling fear of missing payroll because I didn’t have enough cash in the bank. I went to my bank to apply for a line of credit and they sent me an enormous, multi-page PDF with what felt like a million fields per page. It really felt at that point that getting a second job would be easier than dealing with that pile of paperwork. The last thing stress wants is paperwork to fill out.

In the midst of dealing with my bank, Able launched their first ever call for businesses to apply. As I recall, I got the Able email at around 11:00am and then had a face to face meeting with the Able team at about 1:00pm. This was already heading in a much better direction than my bank conversations.

Within a few more days, I was approved for a $30,000 loan to give me a buffer in my cash reserves. After that, I quickly recruited a few friends to fund 25% of my loan which was shockingly easy considering Able’s Backer model was only weeks old at this point. With the exception of my own delays, the whole process was done within a couple of weeks. Once that money hit our business account, I immediately began sleeping better. Able helped me eliminate my number one stressor at that point in my business.

As a designer, I was intrigued by the complete left turn Able had taken to solve this huge issue for my business. My bank would have never conceived of this alternative approach that felt completely fresh and modern. I was immediately a fan and was stoked to join amazing early adopters like Raven+Lily, Chi’lantro and Kammok in leveraging this new funding model.

Fast-forward to the Spring of 2015 and I reached a place where I was ready to transition out of my role as a business owner in favor of joining a larger team, working towards a single goal. Serendipitously, I saw Able’s co-founder, Evan tweet that Able’s team was growing and they needed a Creative Director. I emailed immediately and then got an epic, journey-altering response:

“Stu: I’d move mountains to talk with you, brother! I was going to ping you to ask for some referral ideas but a WAY MORE FUN conversation would be about how we could work together!”

Within just a few weeks, I was on the team at Able as their first ever Creative Director. My charge in this new role was to help Able develop its brand and voice while finding new ways to explain this alternative model.

Over the last 18 months at Able, I have had a blast exploring truly uncharted territory in finance with the amazing team here. We’ve built and rebuilt the customer-facing Borrower and Backer tools, making them more useful with each iteration. Our Dynamic Proposal allows business owners to get the most out of our model (and even got featured in Forbes). We’ve evolved the visual brand to stand apart from any of our competitors by a mile. We’ve worked hard to tell the stories of our Borrowers through video and case studies.

In all, I can say that on my last day at Able, I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together. I leave as a fan of Able and thankful that I was able to be part of this great company’s story.

Special thanks to Will and Evan for trusting me with this role. You guys were my first ever bosses. And a massive thanks to my team (Stephen, Sam and Sam) for always helping me look like I know what I’m doing.

So what’s next?

After a couple of weeks of playing with my daughters, I’m tackling my next challenge at where I will serve as Creative Director. In this new role, I’ll oversee design and experience efforts across the platform while developing a world class team to tackle the work.

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