Helping Business Owners Find Loans: The Startup Story Of Lendio

We recently hosted a conversation between Brock Blake, Founder & CEO of Lendio, and Marilyn Gorman, Lean Startup Co. Faculty Lead, focused on the decision to pivot one successful company into another that served a completely different niche of the market while embracing the importance of accountability.

In Brock and Marilyn’s conversation, they discuss:
– How Brock got started in the world of entrepreneurship and decided which problem to focus on.
– How a pivot from his first idea eventually led to Lendio.
– The “be the CEO of your job” mentality and how this builds accountability for Lendio employees.

And much, much more…

Brock Blake stumbled into the world of entrepreneurship when he was still attending college at BYU. He was studying finance and won an entrepreneurship competition that awarded him $50,000 to start a business. The only problem was that he didn’t exactly know what he wanted to do, much less how to go about launching into the business world.

Instead of diving in headfirst into the first idea or opportunity that presented itself, Brock decided to learn about the business of going into business. If he was going to be successful, he knew he needed to know how to be an entrepreneur. So he did his own market research and spoke to business owners in different areas of the market to know what it was like. In doing that research, he recognized a common thread between all the businesses: they needed capital. “I realized…that this was a big market, a big opportunity and a big pain that I thought we could solve.”

Empowered with the idea of helping businesses get on their feet, Brock launched his first business, Funding Utah (which would evolve to be Funding Universe) — which helped connect entrepreneurs to venture capitalists and angel investors. But the reality is that only one or two percent of entrepreneurs have the type of company that can or will raise money through investors. Most businesses are main street businesses, like restaurants, retail shops, landscapers or construction companies that need small business loans. “It’s not great to have a business where [you’re turning away] 98% of your customers because they’re not going to raise money,” Brock says.

So instead of staying focused on a small equity-seeking segment of the market, they decided to pivot and focus on the larger, loan-seeking 98%. And thus, Lendio — a company focused on helping small business owners get access to capital — was born.

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