Lighter Capital offers an alternative to traditional business loans that is specifically designed to benefit tech companies. It was founded in 2010 in Seattle by entrepreneurs who wanted to find an effective way to helping businesses in the technology industry to grow and thrive. Since then, they have provided funds for 80 different companies and become one of the leading providers of revenue-based financing in the country. Consumers who choose Lighter Capital should remember that they must have a credit score of 550 or higher.
Lighter Capital calls its loan service RevenueLoans. The unique aspect of these loans is that they are repaid as a percentage of a company's top-line revenue. This alternative approach to business loans is intended to tie the loan repayment to the business's success, so payments rise and fall with the health of the company. This also gives Lighter Capital incentive to help its customers' businesses grow. And to that end, the company does provide financial advice and business strategy expertise from its own team of investors and experts.
Lighter Capital loans have a wide range, from $50,000 to an impressive $1 million, up to a third of a business's annual revenue. Companies may make multiple loans. Loan repayment is a fixed percentage of monthly revenue, which means it is tied directly to that business's financial performance. This can be helpful when revenue is down because it also lowers the loan payment, which can prevent situations where a struggling company is stuck with loan payments it can't afford.
Because it is to Lighter Capital's benefit for its customers to thrive financially, the company provides a range of services to help businesses grow. This includes business strategy meetings from the team of expert investors. RevenueLoans do not require any personal guarantees or collateral, as the loan is secured against the business's assets. Standard loans from Lighter Capital are structured with a five-year repayment plan. However, the loan can be repaid faster without any prepayment penalties.
Payments are tied to a fixed percentage of revenue, so the time to pay off the loan can be as long as it needs to. Though the percentage that is taken out of revenue to repay the loan is somewhat flexible, Lighter Capital says it always keeps it below 10 percent in order to ensure that the loan repayment does not negatively impact a business's financial health.
The loan application process is a fairly simple three step process that looks like this:
It takes around one week total to receive funds, which is faster than many traditional bank business loans. All a business needs to qualify is revenue of $15,000 a month and gross margins of 50 percent. Lighter Capital funds are available in all fifty states, and the company has plans to expand internationally.
Lighter Capital's RevenueLoans are designed exclusively for businesses in the tech industry, specifically those involved in software, digital media, online businesses, and tech services. Without a doubt, this will be the biggest drawback as most industries simply cannot access or benefit from the company's loan services. Lighter Capital readily admits that non-tech businesses will find more suitable sources of financial help elsewhere.
The website also readily admits that the interest rates for the company's loans are often higher than what a bank will offer, though it claims that this is offset by the fact that it can loan more money for early stage growth than most banks. Though there are no prepayment penalties, Lighter Capital discourages early repayment on its website. There does not appear to be any real incentive for paying the loan off early.
RevenueLoans are specifically aimed at helping early-stage growth companies. Consequently, Lighter Capital offers more money to those kinds of businesses.
Lighter Capital's financing model works best for companies that generate over $180,000 in revenue each year. In fact, the company requires at least $15,000 in the last three months before the loan application can even begin. Clearly, this rules out many smaller companies. Startup businesses that have not yet generated revenue are not eligible. Startups are encouraged to get on the mailing list and wait until later.