Never buy another device. Never own a computer again. While sounding like a Luddite’s mantra, these statements are the basis for LiftForward’s new platform.
LiftForward launched in 2013 as a marketplace loan platform where investors lend small businesses up to $1 million. This lending platform is the basis for the company’s TaaSLift, a technology-as-a-service platform that enables LiftForward clients to finance product purchases for their end customers.
Using this model, businesses pay a flat monthly fee and avoid tying up capital and dealing with asset depreciation schedules.
- 10 employees
- Founded 2013
- Headquartered in New York City, New York
- $2.3 million Series A, Aug 2014
- $2 million debt financing, Aug 2014
- $7M million debt financing, Mar 2015
- $250 million debt financing, July 2015
Microsoft case study
LiftForward’s recent partnership with Microsoft illustrates how business clients use TaaSLift to offer financing. While Microsoft has long offered subscription versions of Office software, the company was eager to set up a similar model with its hardware, specifically the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.
The screenshot below shows how users select their device type, subscription term, and quantity.
At the end of the term, customers return the device, exchange it for a new one, and begin a fresh term. The key benefit to Microsoft is that the technology-as-a-service, by making upgrades much easier, increases the lifetime value of the client.
LiftForward handles all financial aspects. Customers enter their information and financials on a co-branded platform. Once the information is collected, the underwriting process begins.
LiftForward not only underwrites the loans using its proprietary LiftSCORE, but also funds the loan and bears the risk. The screenshot below shows a high-risk application in the underwriting platform.
After LiftForward approves the request, the customer e-signs online documents, and Microsoft ships the devices together with a membership card, software, warranty, and accessories.
The TaaS platform flexibly scales quantity. It can service a small company in need of two computers or a school that requires two million.
While LiftForward’s current product targets businesses, a direct-to-consumer offering is in development.
LiftForward’s CEO Jeffrey Rogers and CTO Michael Grassotti showed TaaSLift at FinovateFall 2015: