Lending & Credit | Vancouver, BC | Founded: 2010 | Employees: 46 | www.merchantadvance.com
Last updated November 26, 2018 | To download a PDF version, click here.
Merchant Advance Capital is a financial services company with offices in Vancouver and Toronto focused on providing fast, easy, unsecured financing for SMEs in Canada. The company offers a variety of merchant cash advance programs, lines of credit, and equipment leases to aid small businesses who otherwise would struggle to get loans from traditional lenders like banks. Merchant Advance Capital uses proprietary technology to assess client creditworthiness and has established a partnership program to build its client base.
David Gens: Founder, President, and CEO (Sep 2010-Present); Cofounder & Chairman, Venbridge (2017-Present); President & CEO, Gens Capital Ltd (2010-Present); Board Member, Progressa (2013-Present). Previous: Partner, GBA Equity Partners Inc. (2012-2014); Analyst, CAI Capital Management Co. (2009-2010). Education: BComm, Finance (2009) University of British Columbia.
Alex Chisholm: VP Marketing & Operations (2013-Present); VP Investments, Gens Capital Ltd (2014-Present). Previous: Account Coordinator, Mediatonic PR (2012). Education: B.A. Philosphy (2011) Dalhousie University.
Dominik St-Denis: Head of Underwriting (2012-Present). Education: BComm, Finance, Ryerson University. *Key contributor to Merchant Advance Capital’s proprietary underwriting system.
At the age of 22, having spent his early career in capital management, David Gens was exposed to unsecured, cash-flow based lending to SMEs in the US and decided to try the idea in Vancouver. Along with his father, Radik, David built the initial platform from the ground up and secured clients several months into operation. The first loan was written in March 2010, and additional staff was hired 2 years after inception. Since then the company has partnered with Alpine Credits (2016) and data-aggregator Flinks (2017) to grow its client base and increase tech capabilities. The business continues to seek partners to meet this end and also launched Venbridge in late 2017; offering venture debt to SMEs.
Merchant Advance Capital is set up as a Limited Partnership, where investors pool their money in to a single fund passively managed by the company. The fund covers operating expenses and funds the loans. The company was initially funded by friends and family. Over time, the business was able to secure investors and venture capital funding. The most recent funding round in March 2018 resulted in a $30 million debt facility from Comvest Credit Partners. Since inception, Merchant Advance Capital has raised $200 million.
Key Corporate Developments
Press Releases: https://www.merchantadvance.com/news-and-press
March 15, 2018: $30 Million Debt Facility from Comvest
August 25, 2017: Partnership with Flinks for Faster Loan Approval
October 21, 2016: Expansion into Equipment Leasing Business
July 12 2016: Launch of ‘Good Cents Loans’ for Sustainable Businesses
Merchant Capital Advisors have funded over $160 million in loans since inception. Its client focus is on small retail business over a wide range of industries that have been around for more than 6 months, are Canadian based, and record at least $5000 in monthly sales. The company’s strategic objective is to provide flexible, transparent financing solutions to its clients through a variety of products. A key strength is the quick approval process with loan approval ranging from less than 24 hours up to 5 days.
- Merchant Cash Advances: Core business offering fast, unsecured loans to businesses to be paid back via a direct payment of daily sales or credit/debit receipts until the loan is repaid. Use of future cash flows for funding is convenient for clients. Fees range from 20-40% of lent amount, and holdback rates are 2-10% of daily sales. Offered in Flex (no maturity) or Fixed (fixed payments, maturity) options. Average loans $5000-500000
- Lines of Credit: Funding option that includes interest and fees, with no maturity and flexible repayment option. Average loan amounts $5000-50000.
- Equipment Leasing: Financing for equipment leases with a fixed maturity and payment plan including fees and interest. Buyback and early cash-out options available. Average amounts $5000-500000.
Merchant Advance Capital uses proprietary technology and data models through its online platform to process applications and assess clients’ credit.
The business operates through its website and handles all distribution and logistics electronically. The business has partnered with payments and credit card companies like Moneris to ensure daily payments are received directly and automatically to create a frictionless experience for its clients.
The core marketing efforts are through word of mouth and Merchant Advance Capital’s Partnership Program. This program uses profit-sharing and incentives to drive referrals, obtain broker services, grow clients. Affiliate partners are used for web-based advertising through banners and online tools.
Merchant Advance Capital was a first-mover in alternative lending in Canada. While it has a unique business model it competes with many other fintechs to lend money to SMEs. Its biggest competitors include:
- CAN Capital – (NY, USA) Offers working capital solutions through small business term loans and merchant advances.
- OnDeck – (NY, USA) Provides secured financing for SMEs through term loans and LOCs in USA and Canada. Uses its own business evaluation technology for credit decisions.
Corporate Profile Created By: Mustafa Mohammad, Ivey HBA