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Fintech Talk: Lendified Execs Respond to BNN’s Bruce Croxon

Lendified’s name recently popped up on BNN’s primetime digital innovation program, The Disruptors.

Last season, Lendified Founder and CEO Troy Wright appeared on The Disruptors pitching our online lending service for Canadian small businesses to hosts Bruce Croxon (digital tech pioneer and former “dragon” on Dragon’s Den) and BNN anchor Amber Kanwar. Canada’s growing financial technology (“fintech”) space is one that investors like Bruce Croxon have kept a close eye on - and with good reason. Lendified recently made headlines when it secured $24 million dollars in new financing.

On last Thursday’s episode of The Disruptors, Bruce Croxon singled out Lendified, one of Canada’s premiere online lenders, raising questions about the industry as a whole, pointing to customer acquisition costs and competition from traditional banks (see the full video clip below.)

Bruce asks some very valid questions here and we sat down with Lendified co-founders Troy Wright and Kevin Clark to get a response - here’s what they had to say:

“While we can’t divulge specific competitive details around our CPA, we can happily share that our lifetime customer value is over four times our customer acquisition cost – and that margin is quickly widening in our favour.

We’re very happy with our customer acquisition costs, and so are the new investors who have recently backed our company. Furthermore, we have a higher lifetime value than what we’re seeing across the industry because our proprietary credit engine is helping us generate a really strong loan book.  All customers are not created equal in terms of credit risk, and we believe that our customer acquisition cost reflects the very high quality of the underlying customer base.

Of course, we’re continuing to work on lowering our customer acquisition costs, capitalizing on a number of exciting trends and opportunities. As our business continues to mature, our cost of capital is going down which also increases the lifetime value of our customer. We’re continuing to optimize our credit decision engine, which is improving our net interest margin. And, we’re finding that our customer retention rate is very high – a testament to the quality of our customer and of our service – and an indicator that actual lifetime value of the customer will continue to increase. The partnership strategies that we have undertaken will continue to drive down our costs, for instance through third-party referrals. Finally, Lendified is also ramping up its marketing efforts particularly in the area of analytics – leveraging data insights we have gained thus far to further optimize our digital marketing spend.”

But a lot has happened at Lendified since we first appeared on The Disruptors, and earlier this year, we did what many great start-ups do: We pivoted

“Earlier this year we pivoted with the launch of Lendified Platform, allocating resources towards a software as a service (SAAS) delivery model – we are selling Lendified Platform our system to banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other financial institutions and seeing significant traction on that side of the business. We also made an acquisition in March of this year with Mentio Technologies, which helped to consolidate our position and capabilities.

To some extent we’ve been able to use Lendified as a testing engine – we are in a sense our first customers, lending directly to Canadian small businesses. In doing so we recognized very early on that the credit decision engine we built is a best-in-class, industry leading financial technology platform that other financial institutions would be very interested in – something that would be difficult for large banks for instance to build and replicate in house.

And finally, Troy and Kevin had this to say on the matter of our recent financing:

First and foremost, we’re proud of the fact that we needed an additional $20 Million dollars to meet the incredibly strong demand for our small business product – our customers love the rates, the speed, and the service we have provided, and whether through marketing efforts or partnerships and referrals, that demand has continued to grow.

Of the $24 Million in total financing we received, 16% of that is quasi equity, and the company shareholders themselves have put significant equity into the business since our inception. They wanted a stake in the company because they believe in what we’re doing, they share in our belief that fintech in Canada is the future, and they understand the ingenuity and power of our credit engine – they want to be true partners in our continued success.

Lendified hopes to get the opportunity to sit down with Bruce and Amber on BNN soon to continue this important dialogue as the fintech evolution <blog post re: globe article, “evolution on revolution”> continues in Canada. See our initial pitch on the program below:

About the Author: Michelle Pinchev