Small business focus: Jet Capital adds new financing programs

Now there's three times as much to like about Jet Capital.

The company that specializes in helping small and mid-size businesses with finances has added two more programs.

"This is our way of showing folks we're flexible and willing to work with them," said Ken Wardle, Jet Capital CEO. "It opens up the market for our sweet spot."

The new programs are a Boost Merchant Cash Advance and a Pre-Fund Merchant Cash Advance. They complement the Core Merchant Cash Advance the company has been providing since opening almost a year ago.

Jet Capital, based in North Richland Hills, is an online financial services provider led by several startup veterans and entrepreneurs who have extensive experience in financial services, subprime lending, risk management, data science and information technology. Prior to Jet Capital, Wardle co-founded and served as executive vice president, portfolio management at Exeter Finance Corp, a $3 billion company specializing in subprime auto financing. While at Exeter, he helped raise more than $300 million of committed capital across two rounds of financing. Earlier in his career, he held leadership positions at AmeriCredit Corp., now GM Financial, and Drive Financial LP, now Santander Consumer USA, in risk management and analytics.

Wardle said spending two decades in subprime auto finance taught him patience, but also an appreciation of the need to move the process faster.

"We certainly felt the pain of how long it took for us to get money," he said.

Wardle also noted that small businesses generate 49 percent of the U.S. payroll and 46 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.

"The livelihood of the small-business proprietor is a driving force of the U.S. economy," Wardle said. "Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for non-banking solutions."

These new offerings are part of the company’s plan to meet those needs.

The Boost advance was developed for newer businesses that many banks and competitors have ignored. If a business is at least three months old and has a gross monthly income of at least $5,000, it could qualify for and receive same-day funding up to $5,000 from Jet.

"A lot of clients new in the business lifecycle just need a little more capital to move in the right direction," Wardle said.

The Pre-Fund advance offers well-qualified businesses up to 20 percent of their approved cash advance, up to a maximum of $10,000, also as soon as the day they apply. The balance of the advance can be available as soon as the following business day. To qualify, a business must be at least two years old, have a minimum of $10,000 in monthly gross income, and meet certain other qualifications.

"This one's a little more involved. Our sweet spot was companies nine to 18 months in business," Wardle said. "We recognized there's enough data on those businesses that we could do a quick underwriting."

Then, once the rest of the documents are in order, the cash advance is completed. For example, under the Pre-Fund program, a business that is approved for $25,000 can get $5,000 right away based solely on its application. Then, upon final approval, the rest could come the next business day.

"We're bringing an easier, frictionless process," said Randy Hernandez, Jet's vice-president of marketing. "Literally, you can submit your application and we'll get back to you in a matter of minutes."

With a cash advance, Jet buys a portion of the business' future revenues at a discount to provide business owners access to the working capital they need to grow. The Core Merchant Cash Advance, which is what the company has been doing since its inception, is available up to $100,000 for businesses that have been operating for at least nine months and have a gross monthly income of at least $10,000.

Wardle said Jet serves smaller, newer businesses simply needing help from someone other than a big bank or lending institution. Also, very often such businesses don't have time to wait.

"In a small business, often the same person is the chief sales officer, the CEO, cook, janitor and even more," Wardle said. "You don't have the luxury of a finance director in a back office.

"For example, what if you own a small pizza shop and the oven goes down? Having cash quickly and being able to rely on it is critical to long-term success."

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