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– Rates are based on overall health of business
– OnDeck Score algorithm considers more than 2,000 unique data points
– Products range from term loans of up to $250,000 to lines of credit of up to $50,000
– Builds business credit
– Loyalty rewards and discounts for repeat customers
– A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
– Online educational resources
– Personalized assistance
OnDeck Capital is a global online small business lending company headquartered in the United States. The company was founded in 2007 with the mission of providing business financing that is tailored for today’s small businesses, and expanded its services into Canada as well as Australia in 2015. While they are not yet available in the province of Quebec the company, OnDeck has recently entered into a combination agreement with Evolocity Financial Group who does serve Quebec. A French version of the OnDeck site is currently under construction.
OnDeck uses its proprietary software to offer fixed loans and lines of credit based on an analysis of the applicant’s business health and performance, rather than credit history alone. That analysis is fed through an algorithm to determine loan eligibility and rates, which is referred to as an “OnDeck Score.” The OnDeck Score, which is a proprietary tool, allows OnDeck to use numerous of different data points, including banking information, to make credit decisions.
Since its first loan OnDeck has received stellar reviews from third party rating providers, including an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureaus, a Net Promoter Score of 84 in Canada, and is rated 5-Stars “Excellent” 9.2 out of 10 times in customer reviews on TrustPilot. Today, it’s the world’s largest online lender to small businesses, with more than $10 billion loaned to over 80,000 customers in 700 different industries across Canada, the U.S. and Australia.
The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ONDK, and they’ve also partnered with big corporate players like JP Morgan Chase, PNC, and Intuit Quick Books. In March of 2016, as a result of the early success they had experienced in the Canadian market, OnDeck once again expanded their product line, offering small businesses up to $250,000 over a 24-month term, and small business Line of Credits and we can only expect there’s more to come.
In late 2018 OnDeck Canada announced an agreement to enter into a combination with Montreal-based online small business lender Evolocity Financial Group to offer an even wider range of innovative financing options to small businesses across Canada.
“The combination of OnDeck’s Canadian operations with Evolocity will create a leading online platform for small business financing throughout Canada and represents a significant investment in the Canadian market,” Noah Breslow, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OnDeck, said in a press release. “There is an enormous need among underserved Canadian small businesses to access capital quickly and easily online, supported by trusted and knowledgeable customer service experts. Working together with the outstanding Evolocity team, we will provide a broad range of financing options to further enhance the small business lending experience across Canada.”
Those interested in either short or long term fixed loans or lines of credit with OnDeck and begin the application process by either calling (888) 727-6183 or by applying online at this link.
Those who choose to sign up online are first asked how much they would like to borrow, and how soon they need the money, and are able to provide funding in as little as 24 hrs The first page of the application process also asks applicants to provide a brief description of what they need the loan for, as well as their personal information, including their name, email address and phone number.
The second page of the application asks for information specific to the business, including the business’s legal name, address, phone number, starting year, industry and legal entity type. The application also requests a HST/GST Business Tax ID Number, estimated gross annual revenue and average bank balance.
The “About You” section of the application is all about the individual business owner, and requests their address, phone number, date of birth and percentage of the business that they own. Users are also asked to provide their social insurance number, though it is not mandatory.
The final step in the application process asks to provide bank statements for the business’s previous three full months in operation, with three ways to submit them; by phone, or by email with a loan specialist (which is available Monday – Friday from 8am to 9pm).
While most business and personal lenders hone in on the prospective borrower’s credit score to determine approval and interest rates, OnDeck takes a different approach.
Ahluwalia explains that just getting started as a small business is enough of a challenge, but maintaining strong credit during those first months is too high of an expectation for the average start-up.
According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 84.3% of small and medium-sized start-ups rely on their own personal assets — such as savings, personal credit cards or re-mortgaging their home — to start their business. Any interruption in revenue can therefore be detrimental for businesses trying to manage cash flow on a daily basis.
Instead of taking on more personal debt to expand or grow their business, OnDeck provides an alternative way for small business owners with healthy businesses to receive financing, even if they don’t have the best business credit. The company takes the business credit score into consideration alongside 2,000 additional data points to offer a more accurate and efficient temperature check of the business. That includes bank statements, online reviews and other factors, both qualitative and quantitative.
Furthermore, since they report to the country’s credit rating bureaus, OnDeck can actually help small businesses rebuild their business credit score as they pay back their loans.
OnDeck stands out as one of Canada’s top small business lenders not only for being the biggest in the business, but also for having outstanding reputation. The company offers a range of products to suit a range of small business owners’ needs, and consults a wide range of factors when determining loan eligibility and terms, rather than just the borrowers’ business credit score.
The sign up process is quick and convenient, especially when compared to traditional lenders, and funds can be provided in days, sometimes less. The company comes with a range of accolades and positive reviews for those that want to see for themselves, but there’s really no denying they’re a market leader for a reason.
OnDeck even offers loyalty benefits to its repeat customers, such as discount fees on renewal loans and the ability to qualify for lower pricing with each subsequent business loan.
“We are 100% focused on small businesses so they can spend their time growing their business instead of looking for financing,” Ahluwalia told us. As simple as it sounds, that’s really at the crux of what the company is offering Canadian small business customers; convenient, quick, affordable financing.
OnDeck offers its customers two financing options: a term loan of up to $250,000 or a line of credit up to $50,000. Rates and terms are determined based on the company’s proprietary OnDeck Score, an algorithm-based aggregation system that assesses a business’s cash flow performance in real-time.
OnDeck’s term loans are available for terms ranging from 6 months to two years, with no original fees. Fixed term loans are separated into two categories; short-term loans, which range from six to 24 months.
Both products are ideal for quick access to working capital for short or long term goals, whether large, one-time investments in the business, like launching a new product, taking advantage of bulk pricing for inventory or opening up a new location.
All Canadian businesses, soon to also include Quebec, qualify for a fixed term loan so long as they have been in operation for at least one year, have gross annual revenues of more than $100,000 and are not operating within a “restricted industry” such as lotteries and casinos, drug dispensaries or adult entertainment.
Term loans are reimbursed using fixed weekly payments that are automatically deducted from the business’s bank account. Some may also qualify for interest reductions, based on their credit and an assessment of the business. Loan rates are similarly determined based on that assessment, along with personal and business credit profiles.
Those who are seeking more flexible working capital on an ongoing basis should consider OnDeck’s lines of credit, which are available for up to $50,000. Companies similarly need to be in business for at least one year with $100,000 or more in gross annual revenue in order to apply, and not operating in a restricted industry or within the province of Quebec.
Rates start at as low as 9.99% APR for line of credit products, and are determined based on an assessment of the business along with personal and business credit checks.
The line of credit is also paid back through fixed weekly payments that are automatically debited from the business bank account, so there’s no chance of missing a payment. Unlike the fixed term products there is a $20 monthly maintenance fee attached to the line of credit, though it’s waived for either the first 6 months or for those who draw $5,000 or more in the first five days of the account being open. There are also no fees for drawing money.
Despite the competition, however, OnDeck is one of the most established, trusted, and is a leading platform internationally.
“Competitors come and go. We are one of the largest online lender to small businesses internationally, because we listen to our customers and constantly innovate new lending solutions on their behalf,” OnDeck Canada’s Amar Ahluwalia, vice president of partnerships and capital markets, recently told us.
Perhaps it’s because they were founded in a larger, more established alternative lending market, or because they have established international success, accredited partnerships, and provide over a decade of expertise. One way or another OnDeck is able to offer a range of advantages over their Canadian competitors with a personal online element.
For one thing it’s the largest in its category worldwide, by far, and has the most accolades and approvals from major institutions and third party reviewers, not to mention a place on the New York Stock Exchange. While there are a lot of small business lenders in Canada, it’s hard to deny that OnDeck is one of the current leaders in this space.
Those who have visited the OnDeck website know that the company loves to show off its customer success stories, and for good reason. In fact, the bottom of their home page showcases a number of quotes and reviews from real Canadian customers, while their “business solutions” page shows a seemingly endless scroll of examples of the rates and terms provided to actual Canadian small businesses. This part of the website is especially useful to those wondering what sorts of products they qualify for, and can help them determine likely offers based on similar examples.
One of OnDeck’s more than 80,000 success stories is Ottawa’s Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse, which started out as a small restaurant serving two to three customers per day. Over time it has grown into a household name in the capital city, and now serves more than 200 customers every day. How did their business expand so significantly so quickly? OnDeck provided a loan to cover day-to-day expenses, such as payroll, taxes and supplier costs, so the restaurant could focus on what it does best: serving customers.
Grounded is a great Canadian example of how to best maximize lending to grow a business, according to OnDeck Canada’s vice president of partnerships and capital markets, Amar Ahluwalia.
“Having access to additional capital allows business owners to be ready to respond to new opportunities when they arise,” he explains. “And that’s where OnDeck can equip small business owners with the funds they need to succeed. We are 100% focused on small businesses so they can spend their time growing their business instead of looking for financing: hiring great people, upgrading equipment, expanding, improving cash flow; whatever their business needs, they can now get the funding they need to do it in as fast as 24 hours from OnDeck.”
One of the advantages of OnDeck’s services is the free small business financing information it provides Canadian customers. The website’s content and other resources are tailor-made for the Canadian small business owner, offering advice unique to the market, such as “How to Acquire a Business Loan in Ontario” and “Business Financing for Retail Stores in Canada.”
For even more personal advice and information, customers are able to access their online customer portal where they can make a payment, check their balance or find out when they’re eligible to renew their loan. Customers also have access to a Loan Specialist who is available by phone to answer any questions that remain.
“We are dedicated to meeting that need and are constantly providing education in the marketplace to increase awareness in new online funding options, as well as helping businesses understand the overall cost of a loan versus the opportunities it will afford,” Ahluwalia says.
With so many positive customer ratings and reviews, customer success stories, independent reviews and major backers it’s really hard to find any reason not to trust OnDeck. After all, the company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau; they’re listed on the New York Stock Exchange; they’ve got a Net Promoter Score of 84, a 5 star rating at Smarter Loans and a rating of 9.2 out of 10 times in customer reviews on TrustPilot. If that weren’t enough they’ve also partnered with big corporate players such as JPM Chase, PNC, and Intuit Quick Books.
Call us selfish, but we see their presence in Canada as serving an even higher purpose than it does in the other markets they service, which is why we’re so bullish on the lender’s potential here in Canada.
Every country likes to say it’s built on the backs of its small businesses, but nowhere is that more true than Canada. In fact, more than 98% of Canadian businesses have fewer than 100 employees, and more than half have fewer than 4. In total there are 1.1 million small businesses in Canada, who employ almost 70% of all private sector workers.
Our reliance on small businesses as a country and as an economy underscores the need for a company like OnDeck in Canada. Prior to their arrival in 2015 our small businesses had few options for securing financing, and those institutions that provided them had some pretty stringent requirements, slow processing times and—let’s be honest—less than stellar customer service reputations. In fact, more than half of the country’s small businesses have requested external financing, according to the Canadian government, yet less than half received the funding they needed, according to Statistics Canada.
OnDeck is changing the game for small businesses in this country, allowing them to hire additional staff, purchase inventory at bulk prices, launch marketing campaigns and expand their operations more easily, quickly and affordably than ever before. Not only is OnDeck an important part of the online lending ecosystem in Canada, but a strong contributor to the growth of a country that truly is built on the backs of its small businesses.
Jared is a regular contributor to top tier publications around the world, including Fortune Magazine, Fast Company, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, the Globe and Mail, and many more.