By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
“I intend to revolutionize how business lending is done,” Jonathan Patrick says.
The Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer at the UT Federal Credit Union (UTFCU) is well-known in the area for his passion for small businesses, most recently helping spearhead UTFCU’s “Line 12 Micro Fund.”
Patrick is also an entrepreneur. One of his start-ups is GoGrabLunch.com, a tool to facilitate one-on-one networking lunches between business professionals who have never met.
Today, he is combining his knowledge of commercial lending and his entrepreneurial passion into a new venture named FeasibleFunding.com. Patrick is undertaking the effort with the full support of Debbie Jones, Chief Executive Officer of UTFCU.
“The process is broken,” Patrick says of the current loan application process. “There are multiple meetings, conversations, and phone calls. Why does it start with going into a branch office?”
If Patrick has his way, the process will be much more automated while also opening more traditional financing options for entrepreneurs.
The idea for FeasibleFunding.com originated from his work developing the “Line 12 Micro Fund.” Patrick says he realized the loan application process that was being followed could be significantly simplified through the use of software.
“What if I knew everything about your business before the first meeting and also had deep understanding of you and your company’s financial picture,” Patrick asked himself. “How much more efficiently and effectively could business loans be made?”
Patrick worked with Eric Dobson of The Angel Capital Group to mirror its “Venture 360” evaluation tool, with some adjustments for the business lending world, into the “Line 12 Micro Fund” application and review process. That effort resulted in Patrick and the UTFCU team earning a “Rock Star” designation from the National Credit Union.
The recognition also created considerable interest among other credit unions wanting to do something similar, and Patrick was off to the races with his newest entrepreneurial endeavor.
With his brother as a partner, Patrick is developing a web-based version of the software that looks at both qualitative and quantitative factors and incorporates algorithms to do the analysis.
“One factor that differentiates our tool is the fact that we are also looking at the chance of success for the business,” Patrick says. That was a major theme of the “Line 12 Micro Fund” concept, and it is incorporated in FeasibleFunding.com.
The effort has been self-funded thus far with Jonathan and Lee Patrick focused on developing their minimally viable product. They have worked with about 10 credit unions to validate the basic premise.
Like most entrepreneurs, the effort is not just about starting a company. It’s about the idea and the market need that is being addressed.
“I want to help people get capital,” Patrick says. “I can teach lenders how to be more efficient and do deals with start-ups.”
FeasibleFunding.com clearly builds on Patrick’s knowledge of the lending process and his commitment to helping start-ups secure much-needed investment capital.