StreetShares: Small Business Loans Explained

In an increasingly crowded market of small business lenders, it's important to know which of the newbies have something to offer. One of the lenders that have been making serious waves in the world of business in recent years is StreetShares, which was originally founded in 2013 to provide small business loans to veterans.

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    Fortunately, you don't need to be a veteran these days to access StreetShare's technology-driven lending platform, with the company giving out millions of dollars in loans to small businesses from almost every industry imaginable. If you're looking for the best place to get a loan to help your business thrive, StreetShares might just be the right option for you. Read this full StreetShares review to find out everything you need to know about the rapidly growing loan platform.

    What are StreetShares Loans?

    Before diving into this StreetShares investing review, it's worth noting that StreetShares is better described as a funding community rather than a standard loan provider. While they do provide loans of up to $250,000, much of their work involves connecting entrepreneurs with investors in the hopes of facilitating investment based on 'common bonds'. This ethos dates back to their history as a loan service aimed at providing funding specifically for veteran entrepreneurs, often via investors who themselves are veterans.

    While you no longer need to be a veteran to acquire small business funding via StreetShares, their work in empowering veterans continues to this day. Their StreetShares foundation is a powerful and sizeable non-profit arm of the company, that encourages America's hundreds of thousands of war veterans to go into business, often providing free business grants to help them do so. StreetShares has made serious waves since it began dispensing loans to all types of business owners back in 2015, winning the Global Harvard Business School New Venture Competition that year, as well as the coveted Professional Services Innovator of the Year Award in 2017. What this should tell prospective borrowers is that StreetShares is a reputable, competent, and trustworthy avenue through which to explore funding options for your business.

    How Does StreetShares Work?

    StreetShares loans work in numerous ways. They primarily focus on three different types of financial products for borrowers: term loans, lines of credit, and contract financing. Their products are available to all small business owners and can be applied for and accessed entirely online via their website. Their standard term loans offer a single lump sum of funding, usually repayable via weekly installments or direct debit. Their 'Patriot Express' lines of credit financing allow you to withdraw funds from a pot as needed, which is helpful for businesses that may experience short-term cash flow problems or face unexpected costs such as maintenance and inventory. Lastly, they offer an invoice factoring service, whereby StreetShares buys your invoices and then receives payment as those invoices are paid off, rather than under the more traditional model of regular loan payments.

    On the other side is the Street Shares Foundation, which provides peer-to-peer lending, business support, and grants to veterans. The Foundation is run by veterans themselves, meaning that StreetShares will be able to answer any questions you might have about Veteran business support. One product offered via the foundation is veteran bonds. As any StreetShares bonds review will tell you, these are very stable bonds that typically offer healthy annual returns of about 5%, but may offer more in the long-run. Their bond scheme has won praise due to the low barriers to entry for veterans, with only $25 being needed as the minimum investment. They are an ideal way for investors and entrepreneurs to avoid market volatility while enjoying modest returns that can be used for personal or business expenses if needed

    How Do I Qualify for StreetShares Loans?

    If you're a business owner looking for small business startup loans, there are a few basic criteria you will need to be sure you can tick off before you consider applying. The first of these concerns your revenues. StreetShares will only lend to active businesses with healthy cash flow. Your business will need to be at least one year old and generate annual revenue of at least $25,000 to qualify for their smallest loan packages. If you're running an exceptional business that has already generated more than $100,000, then the minimum age of the business may be reduced to six months.

    In addition, the loan applicant will need to be in possession of a business bank account, unless you operate as a sole proprietorship. For StreetShares term loans, you will also need a personal or business credit score of at least 620, which is relatively high by most industry standards. Furthermore, the loan applicant must own at least 25% of their business in order to be eligible. However, this number rises to 51% if the applicant wants to borrow a sum greater than $50,000. You do not need to be a veteran to qualify and there are virtually no limits on the type of industry your business is involved in.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of StreetShares Business Loans

    There are numerous advantages and disadvantages of seeking funding from StreetShare, all of which will depend on what the needs of your business are and what you are actually looking for from a borrower. Some of these advantages may not be of the greatest use to your specific business, whilst some of the disadvantages may not concern your business plans at all.

    Advantages

    • Straightforward and reasonable access to capital for new businesses. Their low revenue threshold for eligibility means that businesses that are just getting off the ground and need a boost are able to access the capital they need with just $25,000 a year in revenue and a lifespan of one year.
    • Very competitive terms and fees, which can be among the lowest in the business. StreetShare offers the best price guarantee to all of its borrowers, meaning that the rates you will get will likely be unmatched elsewhere. In addition, APR can be as low as 8% for small loans.
    • There are no prepayment penalties and StreetShare's ethos means that it tends to operate in a less punitive way than some larger lenders.
    • A fantastic resource for veterans who are looking for support and 'affinity-based' lending from their peers who understand them and can provide exactly the kind of advice they need.
    • They reward customer loyalty and strive to keep lenders post-payment. This is why they offer $250,000 loans to return customers with reduced barriers to access, whilst offering up to $100,000 for first-time customers.
    • An easy-to-use digital platform that clearly lays out all of the terms and conditions before you apply.

    Disadvantages

    • Companies that have low revenues are very unlikely to receive funding, whilst that maximum loan limit of 20% of annual income up to $250,000 may not be enough for some businesses.
    • While their APR rates start low, they can go up to as high as 39.9% for certain plans and products, which is definitely on the higher side of the industry spectrum.
    • Some business owners may find their credit requirements for term loans to be too stringent, given that they go above and beyond what many other lenders require.

    How Do I Apply?

    Applying for your StreetShares loan or financing is a straightforward process that can be done entirely online. To get started, all you need to do is:

    • Go to the StreetShare website and click on the 'Invest' tab
    • Click 'Get Started Now'
    • Enter your full name, email address, and create your password. Click 'Continue'
    • Enter your investment amount. Click 'invest'
    • Connect your bank, fund your account and start investing

    Documents Needed to Apply

    In order to apply for small business loans from StreetShare, you will need a number of documents handy. These are:

    • Your prior three months of business bank statements
    • Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • Your tax return for the previous year

    StreetShare may ask for further documentation based on your strength as an applicant or the amount of financing you are applying for, but these are the only documents you will need to get started.

    StreetShares Loans for Bad Credit 

    If you are wondering how to get a business loan with bad credit, StreetShares still may have some financing options available to you. If you are interested in accessing StreetShare's Contract Financing, there are no personal credit requirements at all, and a personal guarantee is not required either. However, this option is only available if your business is a prime government subcontractor or a subcontractor to a company listed on the Fortune 500 index.

    Customer Support

    Customer support for StreetShare borrowers is an area that consistently receives strong reviews. Their customer support team has cultivated a reputation for being friendly, approachable, accessible, and patient. You can reach their customer support via their 24/7 online chat or via their dedicated phone line. You will likely not have to wait long to be put in touch with a real person.

    Conclusion

    To conclude this StreetShares review, this may be the best place to get a loan if you're a business owner that fits the requirements laid out above. Their mission to support and empower business owners and veterans rather than just boosting their own bottom line means that you can expect reasonable terms and a supportive relationship with the lender. In a world swimming with untrustworthy sharks, StreetShares is a welcome presence when it comes to finding small business loans that work.