August 20, 2010

FundingUniverse ranks #34 on the Inc. 500

We’re proud to be ranked #34 on the Inc. 500 list for 2010 with over a 6,000% growth rate!

We are:

  • #34 overall (Yes, that includes the entire US and all categories)
  • #3 in the ‘Financial Services’ category
  • #1 in Utah overall

2010′s Inc. 500 list is available here

Our CEO, Brock Blake, had a few words to say, “FundingUniverse is thrilled to be included on such a prestigious list of companies! It’s a great tribute to our employees and all the work that they do to help business owners gain access to capital.”

With signs and balloons up everywhere it’s like Christmas morning at FundingUniverse headquarters, complete with an office grinch. One of our engineers grumbled, “All these balloons are distracting…” which sounded like an endorsement to me!

June 14, 2010

No Victims Allowed

leviWhether you’re an aspiring or practicing entrepreneur, if you want to acquire funding for your business, then drop the victim attitude. It’s interesting to see people come in the front door (okay, our website is the “front door”) of our business with their risk profile in disarray, yet never accept accountability for their own predicament.

If your personal credit is unsightly, if your business credit is non-existent, if you’ve never considered whether your expansion plans can be profitable, if you’re still making excuses for not having a website a decade after it became commonplace for business owners, then how is that FundingUniverse’s fault? Why should we fix all your problems and not be compensated?

It’s interesting that people don’t want to pay to fix their own problems (created by their own actions). I can’t imagine going into a personal trainer pathetically fat and wheezing just from walking from my car to the gym entrance, telling him/her that I want to train for a marathon, but that I’m not going to pay up for anything until I win the marathon. What did the personal trainer have to do with my Big Mac, Twinkie, and Hershey’s problem? What about me would give the trainer confidence that I would actually stick with the work of getting my flabby body into rock hard shape? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Can you imagine a college student demanding that tuition payment shouldn’t be made until the degree is issued? Is it the college’s problem that the student is uneducated? What if the student sleeps through class, doesn’t take tests, or doesn’t study. Should the student get a refund of their tuition? Please. This is getting painful to even read as I type it.

Take ownership of your situation. If I want to hear whining and complaining I can go out into the consumer economy. Presumptively – in part anyway – people who start businesses do so because they are ready to take ownership of their own financial and emotional well being. So in the B2B economy I shouldn’t hear nearly as much bawling or see as much finger pointing as in the consumer economy.

After reviewing thousands and thousands of credit reports and other risk indicators attached to our customers over the years, I can tell you with conviction that the businesses on the most solid ground also take ownership of their personal and business credit, their financial and corporate hygiene, and their business image. If you want to be one of those successful businesses, the best place to start is by owning up to your marginal credit profile or bad financial habits, and work your tail off to fix them.

Of course you need to do it on your own time and your own dime, but we’d love to help.

Levi King

June 1, 2010

On Failure

I’ve failed as the President of FundingUniverse (herein acronymized as “FUN” – yes, I know I just made up a verb from a noun). It’s happened a couple of times before, but now it’s happened again. As FUN grows, measured in units of production, customers, revenues, and employees, it continually forces management to experience personal growth. It can sure be uncomfortable.

As President of FUN I am responsible for all the day-to-day functions – sales, lead generation, product fulfillment, customer service, and coaching. We have 25 or so full time sales reps on staff here in our office. Considering our sales reps are attached to a large percentage of our revenues, we closely watch their activity and production on a real time basis.

We’ve chosen to operate in a crazy space. Yes; absolutely crazy. Business owners are, almost without exception, at least a little crazy. I’m a business owner and I have a little crazy in me. You have to have at least a little crazy in you to start a business. Then, to complicate matters, business owners need money for their businesses to start them, fix them, or make them grow. Then funding sources need to calculate the risk of giving a partially crazy person money. Add emotion, ego, and irrational behavior to the mix (all respectable elements of a good entrepreneur) just for good measure.

We chose to operate in this crazy funding space because we don’t think it needs to be so crazy and emotional. The funding process represents a vivid hell to most business owners. At FUN we’re inventing. Our business model is unique and intelligent. Do all of our prospects and customers agree? Nope, but that’s okay because most of them do.

So what drives us? I can’t over emphasize how much passion we have for entrepreneurship. We love everything about it, even the painful stuff. Who can’t get excited about job creation, improving the quality of life for customers, disruptive competitiveness, and building something special and unique (a legacy)?

I’ll take the pain; I’ll take the failure. I love FundingUniverse and I love the space we operate in – pain and all. How did I fail as President of FundingUniverse? I built a sales model that is just too damn difficult to scale. Not just difficult to scale in sales, but in customer service. Enough customers have asked for us to revise our internal operations so that they don’t have to work with so many different people internally . Be patient and I promise we’ll deliver.

Failure is an event not a destination. Next stop: Sustainability.