Mail Digitization Startup Outbox Relaunches As Able, A Collaborative Small Business Loan Provider | Techcrunch

These companies generate billions in revenues and employ 49% of our workforce, yet the majority of them cannot find reliable and affordable sources of credit, it continues. Able will help to provide credit to smaller entrepreneurs using a method to price risk through what theyre calling collaborative underwriting. Though the name sounds like it might be leveraging the so-called wisdom of the crowds for something like peer-to-peer lending, thats not quite the case. Instead, the post says, theyre innovating on the information layer, not simply the capital layer. In other words, theyre using the crowds wisdom to price the loans, not entirely fund them. The process will involve analyzing a businesss data through things like Yelp reviews, check-ins, and connections across social media. Able will then ask borrowers to gather three to five backers (family, friends, customers) to fund the first 25% of the loan, before Able funds the rest. Afterwards, Able collects regular payments from the borrower then distributes proceeds to the backers. Though differentiated by its methods, Able will compete in a broader market with a number of other lending-focused startups, peer-to-peer and otherwise, including Google-backed Lending Club , CAN Capital , OnDeck , Zidisha , Prosper , SoFi , and others. Before its public launch, Able has already loaned 40 growing businesses$5,000 to $150,000.
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