How they describe themselves: StreetShares is an affinity based, social lender that connects small business owners with retail and institutional investors by shared affinities. StreetShares blends peer-to-peer lending with traditional banking. Business owners personally pitch their loan requests and StreetShares investor members compete to fund their loans. It’s like “Shark Tank meets eBay.” As their first affinity, StreetShares provides funding to military Veteran business owners, which account for 1 in 9 small businesses in the United States. StreetShares underwrites, originates, and services term, unsecured loans up to $50,000.
How they describe their product/innovation: The StreetShares marketplace uses social affinities and online auction technology to provide small business borrowers with loans at lower rates, and provide investors with higher returns. StreetShares blends the social loyalty and trust of affinity groups with traditional bank underwriting. It provides small business owners with the opportunity to pitch their loan requests to retail and institutional investors at no cost or obligation. StreetShares investors then compete to fund the loans through a StreetShares auction, where the lowest rates charged to borrowers win. Through a StreetShares auction borrowers get funded at competitive rates and investors get returns they’re looking for. Everyone wins.
Product distribution strategy: Direct to Consumer (B2C), Direct to Business (B2B)