At a recent venture funding event put on by Funding Post, I had the pleasure of meeting a truly innovative entrepreneur with a desire to help thousands and hopefully millions of small business owners receive funding. The gentleman was Michael Mildenberger, co-founder of Funding Wonder, a new social lending concept.
Funding Wonder co-founder, Michael Mildenberger
Michael discussed with me his dissatisfaction with the staggering number of entrepreneurs that fail in their business, not because they don’t have a great idea but simply because they run out of cash. He and his co-founders, Sebastian Storfner and Alan McGlade are determined to reverse this trend with Funding Wonder. Funding Wonder is a novel way for founders to receive capital to grow their business. It eliminates the worry of mounds of paperwork as well as unrealistic guidelines that prevent so many talented and enthusiastic entrepreneurs from getting the funding they truly deserve.
Funding Wonder’s co-founders, Giovanni Soleti and Alan McGlade
Michael took a few moments to shed light on how he and his co-founders will help fuel a new generation of entrepreneurs!
Nova Lorraine: What are the benefits of choosing Funding Wonder over a traditional bank?
Funding Wonder: First of all, since the financial crisis of 2008 many community and regional banks disappeared and larger banks hardly issue loans smaller than $200,000. Therefore, access to capital from traditional banks dried up. As a result small and medium businesses (SMBs) have to go thru a lengthy process full of paperwork and often still do not get their loan approved. For example 80% of the small businesses in Florida could not get financing in the last 6 months. With Funding Wonder, SMBs can get a loan faster, easier and with a higher probability than with traditional banks.
Nova Lorraine: How do you differ from other competitors in the crowd financing space?
Funding Wonder: Our focus is different. Most other crowd-funding companies target crowd based equity investments in start-up companies or have donation based models like Kickstarter. Our focus is bringing investors together who want to lend money to existing small businesses with a good financial track record who are looking for a loan of $20k-$150k. In addition our goal is to be more than just a financial site but to build a lending community. We believe that major factor of our success will be the stickiness of our site. In other words, it is important to provide small businesses with more than just money, but with tools, which help them to manage their business in a more efficient way.
Nova Lorraine: Who is Funding Wonder’s target demographic and market size?
Funding Wonder: Our target is the $600 billion SMB Loan Market & non-accredited investors.
Nova Lorraine: What has the response been like from the small business community?
Funding Wonder: Extremely good. Most of the small businesses have had an extremely hard time receiving financing and not because they are bad businesses but because traditional sources do not want to lend them the amounts they are asking for.
Nova Lorraine: What challenges have you had to overcome concerning your non-traditional means of investing and borrowing?
Funding Wonder: The biggest challenge is to overcome regulatory hurdles. Based on the JOBS ACT the US government agency SEC is going thru the process of implementing a regulatory framework, which will make it a lot easier for crowd-funding companies like us to operate.
Nova Lorraine: Do you see crowd financing as the future of small business loans?
Funding Wonder: Yes. We believe that crowd financing will become the preferred model for small businesses to obtain loans in the future. Crowd Financing will become the way people invest in the growth of the community they live in. It will not be dictated anymore by the banks, which business in your neighborhood will be financed and which one not, but by the people who know and interact with these businesses on a regular basis.
source: Funding Wonder
Picture source: Funding Wonder