StreetShares is an American small business funding community connecting investors with small business owners looking for funding. Since its launch in 2013, StreetShares has won several awards, including the “Best Investment Award” in the 2015 global Harvard Business School New Venture Competition, and has established itself as a popular platform for the funding of small businesses, having facilitated loans of over $100 millions to small businesses all over the United States. The company was originally founded by veterans for veterans, but you don’t need to be a veteran to use the company’s services. StreetShares uses an “affinity-based lending”, matching their clients with investors who share similar visions and characteristics. The idea behind this is that a common bond between borrower and investor, like for instance between a veteran small business owner and a veteran investor, will make the business relationship more personal and thereby lower the risks involved.
StreetShares offers three types of financial services: term loans, lines of credit, and contract financing.
StreetShares offers small business loans of 3-36 month terms up to $250,000. Note, however, that you can only borrow up to 20% of your annual revenue. If, for example, your annual revenue is $200,000, the maximum loan amount you will be able to borrow is $40,000. This amount may not be sufficient for your needs and you may have to look for a bigger loan with a different small business loan provider.
StreetShares’ line of credit offerings range from $5,000 – $250,000 with 3-36 month terms. Lines of credit offer more flexibility than term loans since they allow you to only draw the money that you need at the time you choose, up to the maximum amount. This means that you if you need less money than expected, you can choose to borrow less than the preset maximum amount, only paying interest on the amount you have actually drawn.
Another service offered by StreetShares is invoice (aka contract) financing. As a small business owner you can sell your invoices at a discount to an agency and get a cash advance to cover the expenses of work you yet have to perform, like payrolls and expensive equipment. Using this kind of service means you can deliver your work without needing to worry about when you will get paid by your client. StreetShares’ contract financing provides you with a cash advance of up to 90% that can be transferred to your business bank account within 1 business day. You can use this service alongside StreetShares’ other financial offerings like term loans and lines of credit.
StreetShares’ borrower qualifications are among the most relaxed you could find in the sector of small business funding, which is quite surprising considering the relatively low rates and fees. The eligibility requirements are the same for term loans and lines of credit: your small business must be at least one year old and generate an annual revenue of $25,000. Your personal credit score must be at least 620 which is fairly high in the industry. In the case of exceptionally successful businesses that have already generated more than $100,000, the required time in business can be lowered to just 6 months. StreetShares will usually also ask for a business guarantor with a reasonable credit.
Eligibility requirements for contract financing are even more relaxed. Time in business and annual revenue are irrelevant, you are only required to have a B2B or B2G business that invoices customers, as well as a minimum credit score of 540.
StreetShares’ term loans range from $2,000 – $250,000 with terms from 3-36 months. Let us mention again that the maximum amount you can borrow cannot exceed 20% of your yearly revenue. The fees you can expect when opting for a term loan with StreetShares are an origination fee of 3.95-4.95%, a non-sufficient funds fee of $10 (if relevant), a late payment fee of $10 (again, if relevant), and a closing cost. The closing cost will not be deducted from your draw amount but will be added to the principal amount and integrated into your repayment schedule. Alternatively, you can choose to pay the closing cost immediately. The origination fee is influenced by term length, risk, and loan amount.
When writing this review we were happy to see that StreetShares does not charge any prepayment penalty fees. This means that if you decide to pay off your term loan earlier than expected, you will be able to do so without having to pay for the whole duration of the term you initially signed up for.
StreetShares’ lines of credit range from $5,000 – $250,000, with terms from 3-36 months, and are also limited to 20% of your yearly revenue. No origination fee is charged for this financial product. The only fees that apply are a non-sufficient funds fee of $10, a late payment fee of $10, and a closing cost. As above, no prepayment penalties will be charged if you pay off your line of credit early.
StreetShares offers highly competitive terms and fees, with APRs for term loans and lines of credit ranging from 7% – 39.99%, significantly lower than the rates of many other comparable financial products offered by other loan providers who often offer APRs up to 100%.
We were positively surprised to find out that StreetShares advertises a Best Price Guarantee and promises to give you a $100 Amazon.com gift voucher if you find a cheaper term loan or line of credit with a different company.
Applying with StreetShares is a straightforward, three step process. You will first be asked to fill out a questionnaire asking you about the loan amount and the terms you are interested in. You will also be asked a number of questions about your business. This step is easy and only takes a couple of minutes. The second step will require you to provide more information and specific documents. In order to make this step as seamless as possible, make sure you have the following information prepared: Social Security Number, Employer Identification Number, and information on total outstanding business debts. You will also be asked to provide six months of business and personal bank statements and your most recent personal and business tax return. In some cases, StreetShares will ask you to also provide financial statements, such as P&L and balance sheets.
In the third step of the application process you will be able to review and confirm your application. When applying for a term loan or line of credit, StreetShares will give you the option to write a brief description of your business, why you are applying for a loan, and what you are planning to use it for. This short pitch is aimed at attracting investors, which is why it is worth to try and write something compelling, presenting a unique and interesting angle describing your small business. StreetShares hopes that this way you will attract an investor who actually cares about your specific business goals.
You can reach StreetShares’ customer support via phone, email and live chat or contact them on social media through Facebook and Twitter. The company’s sales reps are friendly and competent, and you can get a response immediately.
StreetShares’ website is appealing and easy to navigate. While it could be more detailed when it comes to specific costs, their extensive FAQ covers a wide range of questions that may arise. The website also features a blog that covers interesting topics around small businesses as well as a free ebook on how you can successfully grow your own small business.
Most comments on Trustpilot and other review sites are overwhelmingly positive. Many reviewers mention StreetShares’ competent and friendly customer support. The company’s satisfied clients often remark on the fact that StreetShares’ sales reps are not pushy and are open to talk without aggressively trying to sell their financial products.
There are also less positive reviews in which rejected customers complain that they were not granted any funding because of their eligibility. Eligibility issues, however, can be encountered anywhere and are not specifically tied to StreetShares.
StreetShares proudly presents itself as a fair and honest platform that matches investors with small business owners looking for affordable funding. Indeed, StreetShares seems transparent and there are no hidden terms and fees when you apply for one of the company’s financial products. When researching for this review, we were happy to find out that StreetShares does not engage in aggressive sales strategies, as is surprisingly common in this industry.
If you own a successful small business and are looking for affordable funding, StreetShares may be the perfect choice for you. The only apparent downside to getting a loan with StreetShares is the fact that the maximum amount you can borrow depends on your business performance and is limited to a relatively small amount of $250,000, which may not cover all of your financial needs.