Small Business Credit: Exemplars of Innovation, Part II

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29 September 2017

Key research questions

  • What’s the state of supply and demand in small business credit?
  • Who are exemplars along the value chain?
  • What are the lessons learned for banks?


In the crowded landscape of small business credit providers, 14 stand out as best practice either in specific parts of the value chain or a market segment.

Celent reviewed over 50 providers. We screened along a variety of dimensions: level of differentiation and innovation, loan origination volume and growth, customer feedback, level and source of venture capital funding, and interviews with investor and funding stakeholders.

The exemplars include incumbents (Wells Fargo) and bank partners (Numerated and Smartbiz), digital giants (Amazon, PayPal, Square), and fintech lenders (Fundbox, Kabbage, OnDeck; Novicap, and Taulia), and fintech marketplaces (Fundera, Lendio, and Nav).

The exemplars bring important lessons learned regarding eight success factors: multifunctional teams, regulatory compliance and play books, differentiated product (complementary or better product), internal protocol alignment, education and training, credible project champion, effective incentives, and controlled but steady rollout.

In a companion report, Small Business Credit Cycle: From Spring to Winter (September 2017), Celent examines the spring and summer season and discusses how stakeholders can prepare for fall and eventual winter.