As they build out their team, the company is seeking regulatory approval in additional states, and is adding customers to a wait list in the meantime.
When it comes to competitors, Huang said they’re unique in Washington, and that there are installment loan products elsewhere, but with difficult terms. In some cases, people can repay a $400 over 12 months, but it will end up repaying $800 in total.
“Tyler, Prasad and I co-founded Possible Finance to provide middle-class Americans with the financial tools needed to manage their day-to-day lives and protect themselves during an emergency,” said Huang.
We caught up with Huang payday loans in Adamsville TN for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: A friendlier alternative to payday loans that’s less expensive, easier to repay, and repairs credit.
Inspiration hit us when: As a part of our research, we wanted to talk to as many payday loan users as possible. Through that, we lined up dozens of customer phone calls. Those calls made it very clear to us that we can create an experience far better than the status quo today. A month later, we incorporated Possible Finance.
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: If you have a clear vision, having the right VC partner allows you to move so much faster. If it wasn’t for Unlock Venture Partners (shout out to Andy Liu!) taking an early bet on us, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: We have a new approach to assessing credit risk that is very different from what traditional payday lenders are doing today. We leverage data sources such as a customer’s existing checking account history to determine whether or not a customer can afford a loan. By doing so, we allow our customers to repay us in smaller increments over their next four paychecks rather than repaying everything at once on their next paycheck. We do all of this without charging a single dollar more than what payday lenders charge, so it’s a no-brainer decision to go with Possible.
The smartest move we’ve made so far: There are a million state and federal regulations around consumer lending. Many startups don’t take government regulations seriously enough, but we care deeply about doing things by the book. We asked around for the most experienced lawyers in our space and found the best law firm in the business. That has allowed us to grow with confidence.
To hack the process, we got on Yelp and sent direct messages to thousands of customers who’d already left reviews for existing payday loan businesses all over the country
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: Not hiring a customer success associate sooner. We just hired one. It will be her full-time job to review applications and answer customer support emails and calls. Previously, I and other team members were handling this on top of everything else. It gave us good insight into customers’ needs, but we weren’t able to respond to their concerns as quickly and were taken away from working on big picture, strategic initiatives.
As it turns out, payday lenders don’t like it when you hang out around their stores talking to all their customers
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: We look for people who are hungry and take every shot or opportunity that’s in front of them. In our opinion, that “hustle” mentality is what makes something out of nothing and successful companies out of ideas on a napkin. This is why I instantly took a liking to Eric Bahn at Hustle Fund, one of our investors based in San Francisco.