Nexi, a lending platform for SMBs, believes in “the unique brilliance of small businesses.”
It’s more than just a statement, it’s reflected in the company’s actions: since 2010 they have provided over $400 million for more than 10,000 businesses in the United States, many of which were overlooked and underbanked at the time of funding.
While Nexi’s values and mission have always been the same, their brand has evolved.
Taking stock of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, Nexi recognized a noticeable shift in their customers’ needs and financial concerns, and acknowledged the necessity for change. It was the perfect moment for a brand revamp—cleaner, sleeker, and bolder. A brand that echoes their values and mirrors the transformative impact they bring to the lives of innumerable small business owners.
It was our pleasure at CSTMR to be a part of this brand revamp, and today we are going to take a deep look at Nexi—formerly Fundamental Capital—to share our work together and highlight what it means to build a brand worthy of such a bold mission.
Nexi’s Mission: Accessible Financing for SMBs
Between 2019 and 2021, SMB loan approval rates fell from 51% to 31%. Unfortunately this downward trend continues, and a great percentage of small businesses are coming up empty-handed in the search for capital.
Traditional lenders tend to focus exclusively on credit history to make a lending decision—criteria that SMBs often don’t meet, as they are relatively new businesses or don’t have extensive financial records.
Even when a loan is actually approved, many funding opportunities come with strings attached (e.g., high interest rates, fees, collateral requirements, predatory practices, etc.) and little to no support.
As ill-treated as they are, SMBs continue to be the backbone of the U.S. economy, making up 44% of economic activity in the country.
Nexi recognizes and intimately understands the true value of small businesses. That’s why they take a different approach to SMB funding, that of a partner invested in the long-term growth of their clients. They build meaningful relationships, strive to understand their clients’ ever-changing needs, and prioritize a “win-win” approach to funding.
In other words, Nexi is all but average—they offer transparent, sustainable, and responsible alternative funding options for SMBs.
The best part? They do it fast: most SMBs get the cash they need within 24 hours of their application.
Meet Nexi’s Founder and CEO: Lawrence Pross
Lawrence Pross is a champion of small businesses.
As the founder and CEO of Nexi, he shows his passion and excitement for the entrepreneurs he serves. He operates with one goal in mind: he doesn’t want to see any business shut its doors because of a lack of capital.
He started Nexi, called Fundamental Capital back then, in 2010, which has since been recognized as a leader in the SMB funding industry. Nexi has amassed a network of over 2000 small business financing brokers and brokerage offices, providing the company with a steady stream of SMBs in need.
In addition to his role at Nexi, Pross is also co-founder of Epiphanly Capital Management LP. Epiphanly acts as a fund for Nexi’s funding engagements (a major advantage for both SMBs and Nexi), and Pross is responsible for the fund’s overall vision, strategy, and operations, including the credit decision-making process.
CSTMR Insights: How Nexi Was Born
Your brand strategy is what defines how customers view you. It influences the decision-making process of customers, ultimately determining whether they choose to engage with your business or not.
Your brand is the story you tell, and telling it is all about perception. What do you want your customers to think about your product or service? How do we get them there?
A brand is your promise of “we’ve got this,” as David Moore, CSTMR’s Creative Director, always points out. This narrative is much too important to be left up to the customers to decide.
And in financial services especially, where gaining customer trust is of utmost importance, you need your fintech branding to be spot on.
How do you even begin to develop a memorable, credible brand?
It starts with the WHY.
Nexi’s previous brand, Fundamental Capital, didn’t adequately communicate the passion the company has for helping small businesses succeed (i.e., the “WHY”). In turn, the Fundamental Capital messaging and website design did not resonate with their target market.
Every run of the mill SMB funding platform tends to focus on some variation of the same value prop: fast and affordable funding.
Fundamental Capital was no different.
And yet, what truly separated Fundamental Capital from their industry peers was not their financial products (although yes, they are faster and cheaper), it was their community. It was their diversity. It was their profound desire to help SMBs achieve sustainable growth.
CSTMR set out to develop a clear and compelling messaging strategy to communicate/highlight exactly this.
When CSTMR began working with Nexi (again, then Fundamental Capital), we spent as much time as possible with senior leaders to understand what makes them tick before putting any creative ideas on paper. We became students of their brand, diving deep through multiple workshops with questions like:
- What is the company’s mission?
- Why does this business exist?
- What do you value?
- What do you want your audience to experience when they interact with you?
- Which is the core message you want to convey?
Armed with answers, we explored personality and style, visualizing Nexi’s brand as a person with a unique tone of voice and set of character traits.
These details guided our creative team as we developed messaging to ensure the effective communication of the brand’s “we’ve got this” promise, as well as built fonts, styles, colors, and icons to cultivate a visual identity aligned with the company’s values.
The result? Nexi.
In the image above, we see a brand that is warmer, more approachable, and zeros in on what matters most to SMBs:
The desire to succeed.
With a focus on diversity and a conversational tone of voice that communicates Nexi’s commitment to responsible funding, we successfully developed a softer approach to SMB financing—one that helps Nexi build meaningful and long lasting bonds with their audience, collaborators, and stakeholders.
What Story Are You Telling?
Branding matters in every industry, but even more so in fintech, where services are more complex and user education is essential.
People/businesses need to understand your brand, and they need to trust it. After all, their money and financial future may be at stake.
Your brand is your real value—it’s what people are buying. Nexi understood this, and it’s important that you do too.
How do your potential customers view your brand? Is your brand’s narrative the one you want to communicate? Is it time for a brand refresh?
If you’re unsure of how your brand is performing, CSTMR can help. As a marketing agency focused exclusively on fintech and financial services, we recently developed a scorecard tool to help fintechs and financial services organizations evaluate their brands.
We call it the Financial Brand Scorecard.
Your personalized brand report will provide you with actionable insights (focused on strategy, growth, and brand differentiators) and should help you quickly improve your organization’s identity/messaging.
Want help interpreting your results? Interested in learning more about our experience as an agency? Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’re ready to help you tell a compelling story.