A fintech startup spun out of another startup in Wilmington, North Carolina has landed its own $3 million in venture capital funding.
APPROVE, an internal lending network for the equipment rentals, launched when KWIPPED founder Robert Preville and his team started looking for solutions for lending options for customers already on their B2B marketplace platform.
The team realized that while financing is common in the space – around 63% of all commercial and industrial equipment are rented through some sort of financing method – there was a big gap in how those financing options actually worked.
“Through our own survey of a wide variety of equipment supply companies, we discovered that only 9% of suppliers actively promote financing options as part of their sales process,” he said. “When more than half of a B2B market prefers financing and less than 10% of suppliers proactively offer it… that’s a gap…and an opportunity!”
It comes down to the fact that the equipment rental process is cumbersome, difficult to access, expensive for customers, and doesn’t provide the necessary visibility for customers.
“Once customers begin the financing process, the suppliers often never hear from them again, as if the customers and sales opportunities simply disappear,” Preville explained.
APPROVE officially got off the ground as its own platform in Q1 of 2022. Now in Q3 2023, the startup is taking on $3 million in venture capital funding to help expand.
The startup looked close to home for its investment, with North Carolina-based Cofounders Capital, Live Oak Ventures, and VentureSouth joining the round.
APPROVE works with equipment-heavy rental verticals (think the medical field, restaurants, and construction), to ensure they can provide a streamlined lending experience.
“APPROVE is not a lender – it’s a custom-branded, technology-enabled, financing platform connected to a network of lenders. APPROVE customers, which are equipment manufacturers and distributors, each receive a free account that includes an application dashboard. Users can open their dashboard to view the status and progress of every finance application in real time, including approvals and lender offers. Users can also sort, organize and analyze a wide variety of data including: sales conversion data, approval rates, funding rates and much more,” Preville told Hypepotamus. “APPROVE does have an operations team that manages every application from start to finish. But with total visibility into application status, APPROVE users can be as involved in the sales process as they choose to be and insert their influence at key touch points.”
Its embedded financing options “not only makes the buyer aware of the estimated monthly payment amount available, it enables them to apply in about 60 seconds without leaving the sales channel,” he added.
APPROVE’s team is currently made up of 22 full-time employees, and Preville said there are plans to hire upwards of 50 new employees over the next 12 to 18 months.
On top of increasing its staff by 3x, APPROVE is focused on scaling its model, Preville also teased that there are some announcements coming down the pipeline that will make APPROVE a startup to watch in the coming months.