SellersFunding acquires AmzLenders in a bid to reach more Amazon sellers

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SellersFunding, a New York City-based SME lender, has acquired AmzLenders to broaden its reach among e-commerce sellers.

Terms of the deal, which closed on Wednesday, were not disclosed, but SellersFunding CEO Ricardo Pero told Bank Innovation that the objective is to reach a wider group of clients. With AmzLenders, a two-year-old company focused on Amazon sellers, SellersFunding will add 20% more customers to its platform. AmzLenders, based in Jersey City, N.J., was founded by Amazon seller Steve Creasy, who will act as a consultant to SellersFunding over the transition period.

“If you are a well-established bank, there’s no need to spend a lot on driving traffic but, when you’re an online lender, there’s no branch across the street where you can talk to a real person,” Pero said, noting that the acquisition gives SellersFunding a window into a growing client base among Amazon merchants.

AmzLenders offers loans of $1,000 to more than $50,000, while SellersFunding loans typically range from $10,000 to $500,000. Prior to the acquisition, SellersFunding supported an estimated $1 billion in sales globally, according to the company. It operates in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

To evaluate borrowers, SellersFunding integrates with e-commerce platforms, pulling in data that’s cross-checked with banking and credit information. In turn, the company uses machine learning models to support the underwriting process, which typically takes 24 hours. It has integrations with Amazon, Shopify, Walmart, Chewy, Walmart.com, eBay and Jet.

See also: Why SellersFunding sees an opportunity with Amazon, eBay merchants

Since e-commerce merchants can be “too small for a bank” and often don’t have sufficient business history or predictable transaction flows, banks have challenges extending credit to small-scale sellers. As a result, online lenders have rushed to fill the gap.

“Non-bank lenders are lining up to serve the sellers that are fueling [Amazon’s] marketplace,” wrote Kiri Masters, CEO of Bobsled Marketing and an Amazon seller, in a recent report. “These lenders are not looking at these credit facilities the way traditional banks are. Providing a credit facility was approved [by the bank], it would take several more weeks to fund the loan, even longer if the facility required a guarantee from the U.S. Small Business Administration.” By contrast, online lenders like SellersFunding are able to make funds available 24 hours after the underwriting decision is made.

Despite the opportunity among e-commerce sellers, however, the field of companies competing for market share is becoming increasingly crowded, with such players as Square, PayPal, Amazon Lending, Kabbage and various credit cards offering small-scale loans for online merchants.