Beyond their economic impact, small businesses help unite our communities.
As much as SMBs create jobs, they also help shape our values, and ultimately our local culture.
It takes bold individuals to take the risk of starting a business, but an SMB won’t find success unless it has support, especially with respect to financial backing.
Pursuit, a community-focused lender, advocates for and works with SMBs, providing affordable loans and resources to help businesses do more, be more, and serve more. While we are proud of all of our work here at CSTMR, our partnership with Pursuit stands out.
In this month’s issue of fintech companies to watch, we’re going to take a look at how Pursuit is helping business owners in CT, NY, NJ, and PA follow their dreams.
Pursuit’s Mission: Fair and Affordable SMB Funding
Pursuit is much more than a lender. Pursuit is a community partner.
Shareholder value and return on investment is on their mind, sure, but it’s their relentless advocacy for SMBs that makes them unique.
The SMB funding gap is a real thing.
For example, studies show that female-owned and black-owned SMBs are less likely to secure funding. Pursuit aims to make SMB lending a reality for everyone, through fair and affordable loans that meet the needs of all business owners.
One client put their experience with Pursuit this way:
“This loan is helping me achieve my goals while helping people in need, which is everything I envisioned coming to fruition.”
Pursuit is 100% invested in the success of its clients, no matter what industry or stage of business they’re in. Because Pursuit’s leaders know that when local businesses thrive, good jobs follow, and the money is recycled into the community to foster growth.
At the end of the day, each loan Pursuit facilitates is a unique opportunity to help a local community.
Meet Pursuit’s President and CEO: Chris Levy
A dynamic, future-focused business like Pursuit requires an equally dynamic, futuristic leader.
Chris Levy is precisely the right fit. Although he was recently appointed President and CEO in 2022, Chris is no newcomer to the organization. He joined the team in 2012 as an underwriter following an internship with the company.
He previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Pursuit, where he has gained deep knowledge of SBA underwriting, credit, policy management, and team management.
Perhaps his most notable accomplishment was his oversight of Pursuit’s administration of the Paycheck Protection Program, which resulted in over 11,000 loan approvals totaling $780 million.
See Chris’ bio to learn more about his accomplishments.
How Pursuit Is Helping Small Business Thrive
Often, business owners have innovative ideas and specific goals, but they need someone who believes in them and is willing to provide resources.
In their own words: “We don’t just make loans. We make loans possible.”
The impact their lending footprint has had is staggering. Pursuit has provided over $3.7 billion in loans since their inception, with 35% of their funding going to minority and women business owners (historically underserved within the lending industry). They’ve helped to create over 65,000 jobs.
Small businesses became especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic: one Goldman Sachs survey showed that 71% of interviewed SMBs were negatively affected.
Relief funds and access to public grants became a lifeline for SMBs. From the first day the Paycheck Protection Program launched in 2020, Pursuit has been there to support small businesses as it partnered with them to improve their financial condition.
Even without the difficulties of a pandemic, historically one in four SMBs struggles to access funding.
Because standard funding is offered based on credit, many new SMBs, who obviously lack a history, can’t meet the criteria for approval. If they’re lucky to find a lender, then they may be subject to higher interest rates.
Pursuit aims to close the gap for all SMBs.
SMBs Need Funding Options: Pursuit Has Them
With more than 15 different loan programs, Pursuit has an option that suits every stage of a small business: from start-up to growth to expansion.
For an SMB owner focused on starting or scaling a business, the implications of the different kinds of funding can be complex to grasp.
Pursuit closes this gap by first understanding what each business needs funding for. Their dedicated team then diligently works to match each SMB with the right kind of loan that will meet their needs.
For example, a business that needs to buy a building or a large piece of equipment (a fixed asset), might be well matched for Pursuit’s SBA 504 program, with a low fixed interest rate loan with a term of up to 25 years.
For an established business that needs a $10,000 to $100,000 loan quickly, they might be a good fit for the SmartLoan program, which features no prepayment penalty and a term length of up to six years.
Whether you opened up shop last month or you’ve been in business for more than a decade, if you need fast cash for inventory or you’re about to make an investment in your business’ future, Pursuit has a funding option for you.
CSTMR Helped Three Brands Come Together for One Mission
The Pursuit you see today was once three distinct and separate public-facing brands, with sixty years of lending history.
They originally came to CSTMR to define and develop one cohesive brand into which all three companies could merge. They needed expert guidance to expand their reach without losing sight of the singular mission: fair and affordable funding for SMBs.
Combining the powerful messaging and history of three distinct companies was a monumental task that created some exceptional results, thanks to CSTMR’s strategic oversight.
In the months following the rebranding launch, organic search traffic jumped 30%. Their average email open rates shattered industry averages, and they gained over 1,200 newsletter subscriptions (starting from ZERO) in a little over a year.
Pursuit’s new brand and website launched with much success in 2020. Since then, our team has continued to serve as a fintech marketing partner as we provide monthly strategic support, including strategic recommendations and ongoing analysis of their marketing strategies across all channels.
Put Your Brand Power to Work
Just as Pursuit sees the potential in the small businesses they fund, CSTMR saw the incredible brand potential behind the three organizations that came to us wanting to become one.
What’s your mission?
We’re here to work with brands who are as obsessed as we are with fintech. Nothing gets us more excited than playing a part in making a difference—we did it with Pursuit, and we can do it for you.
Schedule a call with the CSTMR team today, and let us be your fintech marketing agency.