Alternative lending startup Behalf just received more fuel to help power small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The New York-based company received $150 million in debt financing and an undisclosed amount of equity funding this week.
The debt round was led by a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management, with previous investor Viola Credit also participating. Both investors also contributed to Behalf’s equity round; the company’s equity funds now total more than $156 million.
Benjy Feinberg, founder and CEO of Behalf said that the funding is a significant step forward that will allow Behalf to “expand our fast-growing e-commerce B2B financing platform and enhance our ability to provide the best business terms to customers, in a fraction of the time of a traditional business lender.”
Behalf extends short-term purchase financing to underserved SMBs by using technology and big data to assess the creditworthiness of the business and its owner. Unlike other alternative SMB lenders such as Kabbage or OnDeck, Behalf does not issue funds directly to the SMB. Instead, the startup pays the small business’ vendors on the SMB’s behalf (hence the name Behalf). Having flexibility in repaying their suppliers helps merchants increase their production and ultimately grow their business.
Uri Galai, partner at Viola Credit said Behalf’s technology “will change the landscape of business lending.” He added, “Behalf understands that the buyer-seller relationship has changed, and is providing an unparalleled solution to the increased demands from vendors and their customers seeking financing.”
Feinberg showcased Behalf’s vendor payment platform at FinovateFall 2014. Since it was founded in 2012, the company tripled its revenue and now counts Lenovo, Best Buy and PCM in its network of accepting partners. Last year, the company partnered with Utah-based FinWise Bank to offer SMBs a broader range of financing solutions.