SmartBiz Loans Review
This review of SmartBiz should help you gain a better understanding of their services, credibility, company history as well as the customer experiences.
SmartBiz Review in Numbers: 2022 Updated
💰 Loan Amount
|$30,000 to $5,000,000|
💸 Loan Term
|10 to 25 years|
⭐ Client Reviews
🌝 Easy to Apply:
💳 Minimal Interest Rates
|4.85% to 7.00%|
💌 Online Feedback:
|4.8 / 5 Trust Score on TrustPilot|
🏆 Awards and Recognition:
|Named best place to work in Financial Technology 2018|
SmartBiz Review Summary
Credibility - 100%
Client Reviews - 96%
Website - 100%
Compatibility - 85%
Overall, SmartBiz is a proven, credible company with a relatively competitive loan service. The interest rates are low, and customer reviews are excellent (and there’s a lot of them). This is more than you need to trust SmartBiz — but are they right for you? Perhaps not, because they have a long list of eligibility criteria that’s strict.
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Credibility & Company Story
How SmartBiz Started
SmartBiz was founded in 2009 by Ryan Gilbert and Sean O’Malley. The idea behind this company was born during the 2008 financial crisis that had a significant impact on economies all around the world and led to banks unable to provide low-cost funding to small businesses. The SmartBiz co-founders recognized the significance of small businesses to the whole U.S. economy and came up with a way to help them. They have built an online platform business that will provide quick, easy, and secure low-cost funds from banks to small businesses.
Before partnering up to create SmartBiz, both of the founders were working in the finance sector, and therefore with that knowledge could quickly build a financial solutions company of their own. Ryan Gilbert has graduated in Business Communication studies from University of the Witwatersrand. Before co-founding SmartBiz, he worked as an advisor at Square, a board member at River City Bank, and a board member at bKash Ltd. Alongside the position of Executive Chairman at SmartBiz, Ryan is also a general partner at Propel Venture Partners. The other founder, Sean O’Malley, has finished quantitative economics studies at Stanford University and Business masters at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He has experience as a director of product management & strategy at Yahoo! and as a vice president at Venrock. Alongside his duties as a board member at SmartBiz, he is also a CEO and co-founder of BlueX.
At the moment, SmartBiz is recognized as the #1 online marketplace for SBA loan originations, providing fast, low-cost loans to small businesses across America. The company now employs over 115 people and has its headquarters in San Francisco, California. The company expanded through various funding rounds, as shown below.
Leading Private Investors in SmartBiz
SmartBiz Loans have undergone 4 funding rounds: 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Overall, they accumulate to a total funding of $37 million. Lead investors include Investor Growth Capital Limited and First Round Capital.
The final funding round in 2013, Series C, raised the most ($21m). There a total of 9 investors in SmartBiz, which are the following:
- Bronze Investments
- SV Angel
- First Round Capital
- Uncork Capital
- Baseline Venture
- Growth Capital Limited
- Mark Goines
In Detail: What SmartBiz Does
The small business loans are split into two: Working capital/debt refinancing, which is between $30,000 and $350,000, and secondly, Commercial Real Estate loans, which is $500,000 to $5,000,000. For both, you must have been in business for 2 or more years, but the remaining requirements differ between the two.
Working Capital or Debt Refinance loan
For this loan, you must have a personal credit score of over 650, which is higher than many of its competitors. You must be a US-based business, a US citizen or lawfully be a permanent resident. You must have no outstanding tax liens, no bankruptcies/foreclosures in the previous 3 years, no recent charge-offs or settlements, and you must be current on government loans.
Commercial Real Estate loan
As the business owner, you must have a personal credit score of over 675, and the real estate itself be owner-occupied (over 51% of the square footage must be used by your business). You must have sufficient cash flow both as a business and personally. You must show 3 years of tax returns and some interim financial data. Finally, you must have no defaults on government loans and no delinquencies.
Around 90% of applications are accepted at SmartBiz, which we can be pretty certain about being higher than bank loans.
Takes a bit longer to process the funding compared to other small business loans — it’s at least 7 days but is often more. This is understandable, being a more long-term loan more generally, instead of an instant, short-term cash injection.
Excluded businesses regarding approval include industries such as gambling, life insurance, oil wildcatting, wining, real estate development, mortgage servicing, bail bond, religious teaching, political, pawn, or private clubs.
When you can’t qualify for those, or you want an alternative regardless, there are other options within SmartBiz. The company essentially has 3 alternatives: Business line of credit, invoice financing, and business credit cards. There’s extremely little attention or information paid to these by SmartBiz, as they encourage phoning them when interested in these. Why? Perhaps because this is the alternative to the alternative, where you’re in very specific situations or perhaps you don’t even know what you want yet. Either way, it’s good that there are some receivables related financing options as well as a credit line option.
SmartBiz Business Loans Client Reviews
TrustPilot: 1,029 reviews, 90% ‘Excellent’, 5% ‘Great’ and only 2% ‘Bad’ — 4.8 / 5.
Most of the SmartBiz reviews on Trustpilot are positive, although there are a couple of exceptions. Here are some of the client comments:
“Working with SmartBiz Loans was very easy and seamless. Our representative was extremely helpful and very informative when questions arose. Their service was very efficient and professional. ”
“The team we dealt with was professional, always answered all of our questions and responded immediately to emails and phone calls.”
“In my opinion I would not use them unless there were no other options.
They do not answer the phones nor do they respond to emails in a timely manner.”
Analysis of Client Reviews:
It seems like while some clients experienced communication issues with the SmartBiz employees, the majority were actually thrilled with their customer support. With an incredible 95% of all reviews being positive, it is safe to say that SmartBiz can provide funds in a reliable and efficient manner.
SmartBiz Website Review
The Smart Biz website is a joy to navigate and makes it extremely easy for the user to understand the business, its products, its reputation, and the industry as a whole. There are plenty of resources, such as a blog, learning center and business success stories. There’s also a separate page for partners and advisor services.
The home page sums up the website well — it has the repayment terms, loan amounts, and interest rates right there at the top. This is really important for users who just want that crucial information straight away.
SmartBiz Loan Compatibility
StartUp: Not suitable, as the business is required to have traded for at least 2 years
Bad Credit: The requirement is above 650 which is relatively high
Sole Trader: Accepted
Established Business: The loans of up to $5,000,000 are available, which makes it very suitable.
SmartBiz Short Review
SmartBiz has a bunch of positive reviews, and they’ve certainly built up a credible reputation. The loan itself is great too, with up to a whopping $5m available. This is more than most competitors, as is the loan term of 25 years. However, this great product comes at an exclusivity: you have to have a very clean and proven track record, which may rule out startups and those with difficult financial pasts.
Submit an Expedited Application to SmartBiz the link below.