The Chicago, IL-based Bolstr– the marketplace lending platform for emerging consumer, retail, and manufacturing businesses – has raised $1.65 million in seed funding. This amount was upsized from the originally anticipated $1.5 million target. Those that contributed to the this round include Montage Ventures, Kapor Capital, DRW Trading Group, Merrick Ventures, and Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati.
“Marketplace lending is a $1 trillion market (LendingClub, OnDeck Capital etc.), and specifically, the landscape for small business funding is quickly shifting away from traditional banks and more so to platforms like Bolstr,” said Bolstr cofounder Charlie Tribbett in a statement.
Tribbett and his cofounder Larry Baker are both former investment backers. The two founded Bolstr to help small, nascent businesses gain access to capital from a pool of accredited investors. On Bolstr, business owners can quickly raise the capital they need to grow their companies (between $25,000 and $500,000) while retaining 100 percent ownership (no equity required whatsoever). Monthly payments back to investors are sized by a set percentage of gross sales, giving investors liquidity early on and often. And because of this, businesses are also provided with some flexibility in repayment, as each payment is proportional to their gross sales volume; these payments are made until investors make a set return back on their investments.
According to the company, every business that has raised money on Bolstr has reached its target within five days. There have been zero defaults and 64 percent of the investors within any given deal on the platform have been new investors.