Careers at OnDeck
OnDeck’s mission is to power the growth of small business through lending technology and innovation.
As a junior at Dartmouth college, Mitch Jacobs founded a company that enabled students to pay for items at local stores with their IDs. Over the next decade, he became a serial entrepreneur in the arena of digital transactions. At a certain point he observed how difficult it was for small businesses to obtain loans. So in 2007 he launched OnDeck Capital, a non-bank loan provider for SMBs.
OnDeck’s key point of differentiation was that it did not rely solely on personal credit to determine loan eligibility. It utilized a proprietary technology that assessed thousands of data points from diverse sources to reach a decision on creditworthiness. If applicants were approved with a high OnDeck score, they could quickly receive either a short- or long-term loan or a line of credit.
Jacobs saw his service as a better alternative to existing options. The merchant cash advance industry often charged high interest rates for loans, while the Small Business Administration could take months to process applications. Banks’ decrease in lending during the financial crisis helped make the company popular. It was able to raise significant funding, and in 2014 it went public on the NYSE.
Benefits at OnDeck
Business model of OnDeck
OnDeck has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offering at small and medium businesses.
OnDeck offers six primary value propositions: accessibility, convenience, price, performance, risk reduction, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by providing an easier entry point and offering a wide range of options. It enables small and medium businesses to be considered for loans using many factors beyond just credit. This increases access for firms that might be turned down by banks or the Small Business Administration. It works with more than 700 different industries, making its service open to many types of customers. Lastly, it provides a wide variety of funding amounts, ranging from $5,000 to $500,000 for loans and from $6,000 to $100,000 for lines of credit.
The company offers convenience by making its service simple to use. Its application process is online, with no in-person meetings required. Consumers can apply on any day at any time, and the process only takes a few minutes. Parties that are approved can receive a loan in as little as 24 hours. Lastly, they make automated fixed payments so they do not have to worry about remembering to do so.
The company provides a price value proposition. Its loans are typically 50% less expensive than a merchant cash advance. Also, its financing options are affordable, with rates as low as 5.99% for loans up to $500,000 and as low as 13.99% for lines of credit up to $100,000. Lastly, it offers discounts on fees for renewal loans and the ability to qualify for lower prices for follow-up loans.
The company has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results. High-profile examples of positive outcomes for specific clients include the following:
- BuddyLove Clothing Label obtained financing from OnDeck, enabling it to open a showroom in Atlanta, launch two new lines, and increase inventory, resulting in 100% annual growth
- TransGuardian obtained financing from OnDeck, enabling it to hire a skilled salesperson and to get three years’ worth of programming done in one
- The Growling Rabbit obtained financing from OnDeck, resulting in an increase in staff of five and a boost in sales of 20% over the previous year
- Two Guys Autobody Supplies obtained financing from OnDeck, resulting in 59% growth in its business
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It has issued more than $5 billion in loans since its founding to more than 50,000 businesses in all 50 U.S. states. Its loan originations grew by 62% between 2014 and 2015 and at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 81% between 2012 and 2015. An independent study by economic consulting firm Analysis Group estimates that its lending has created an $11 billion impact on the economy and created 74,000 jobs across the U.S. It maintains a 76/100 Net Promoter Score (a measure of customer loyalty), much higher than the average for traditional banks, and in 2015, 57% of its loan originations were by repeat customers.
OnDeck’s main channel is its website, though it also receives customers through funding advisors and strategic partners such as banks, payment processors, and SMB-focused service providers.
The company promotes its offering through its social media pages, online marketing, direct mail, television and radio advertising, and participation in conferences.
OnDeck’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature.
Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website features a “Resources” section that includes an article library and answers to frequently asked questions.
That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
OnDeck’s business model entails maintaining a robust platform for its clients.
OnDeck’s maintains the following partnership programs:
Enterprise Platform – The company works with banks and large companies that promote and resell its services to their small business customers. Program benefits include the following:
- Co-branded direct mail and e-mail
- In-product digital marketing
- Access to OnDeck Partner Portal, an online referral and deal tracking tool
- Access to OnDeck Marketplace, a portfolio investment platform
- Partnership opportunities such as joint venture, syndication, and white label solutions
Specific partners include TSYS, BBVA Compass, and Cardconnect.
Referral Program – The company works with service providers/advisors such as accountants, independent sales organizations, and funding advisors that promote and resell its services to their small business customers. Program benefits include commissions and a dedicated account manager.
Affiliate Program – The company invites third parties to promote its services on their platforms (websites, mobile apps, etc.). Leads that result in new customers earn the parties a commission.
OnDeck’s main resource is its proprietary software platform, which has served over 50,000 businesses. It depends on its engineering employees to maintain and update the platform and its customer service staff to provide support. As a startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $520 million from 12 investors as of March 2014.
OnDeck has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation. Its biggest cost driver is cost of revenue, a variable expense that includes provision for loan losses, and funding costs. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing, administration, and technology/analytics, all fixed costs.
OnDeck has three revenue streams:
- Interest Income – Revenues generated from interest and origination fees earned on the term loans the company originates, and to a lesser extent, interest earned on lines of credit.
- Sales of Loans – Revenues generated from the sale of term loans to third-party institutional investors through OnDeck Marketplace.
- Other Revenues – Revenues generated from miscellaneous fees, including monthly fees charged to customers for lines of credit and marketing fees earned from issuing bank partners.
info: Noah Breslow earned a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA at Harvard Business School. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Product Officer, and SVP of Products and Technology at OnDeck.
info: James Hobson earned a B.A. in Economics at Hamilton College and an MBA at Harvard Business School. He previously served as Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Platform Solutions at OnDeck and as SVP, Technology Operations at Iqor.
info: Howard Katzenberg earned a B.S. in Business at Cornell University and an MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He previously held various financial and strategic roles at OnDeck and served as a consultant at Swift Financial Corporation.
info: Andrea Gellert earned an A.B. in History and Literature at Harvard College and an MBA at Northwestern University. She previously served as VP of Client Services and Operations at Group Commerce and as VP, Customer Experience and Retention, OPEN at Amex.
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