Meet & Greet: Jared Hecht, Co-Founder and CEO of Fundera, a Funding Marketplace for SMBs

Firmology’s Meet & Greet series takes an inside look at the technology and resources available to small business owners and entrepreneurs, straight from the founders who built them.

Jared HechtName: Jared Hecht
Title: Co-Founder and CEO
Company Name: Fundera
Company One Liner: Fundera is an online marketplace that connects small business owners to their best funding option.
Location: New York, NY
Contact Me: @jaredhecht, jared@fundera.com

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background:

Currently, I’m the CEO and co-founder of Fundera. I got my start in tech here in New York while working for Tumblr, where I focused on international expansion and strategic partnerships. After Tumblr, I went on to start a group messaging service called GroupMe.

In August 2011, Skype acquired GroupMe and then, two months later, Skype was acquired by Microsoft. I eventually left GroupMe to start Fundera last year. I’m currently also an investor and advisor to several startups including Transferwise, Codecademy, and Splice.

What does your company do and what problem(s) does it solve for businesses?

Fundera gets small business owners the capital they need to operate and grow their business. We do this in the most transparent and cost-efficient way by working with hand selected lenders and allowing businesses to complete the entire application process completely on our site.

Other sites sell your information or kick you out to other sites to finish the application once they have preliminary information, which can be confusing and time consuming. There’s a big problem these days with businesses finding good funding options and we are solving that for them.Fundera logo

How did you come up with the idea for your company?

My cousin owns a very successful chain of sushi restaurants in Ohio called Fusian and asked me for a loan so he could open up another location and retain his equity in the company. I thought it was odd he’d ask me for a loan and told him to go to a bank. He then explained to me how hard it was to get a bank loan these days and that he had been turned down despite his business being successful.

I truly believe small businesses are key to the health of our economy and wanted to find a solution to this problem plaguing their potential to grow. After sitting on the sidelines for a couple of years and getting to know the industry, I decided to start Fundera last fall. We launched the company in February of this year.

What makes your company different from your competitors?

Borrowers can come to our site and complete the entire process from A to Z without ever having to leave. We’ve built APIs to make the application process seamless no matter what lender the borrower chooses. We also have a customer success team available every step of the way to help borrowers find answers to questions they may have.

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What are the most important considerations businesses should have when choosing technology to help them power their business?

Technology should be an important part of any business in some respect. It’s allowed many industries to become much more efficient and be able to scale. I think it’s important to do your research and find out what solutions really make sense for your business. Don’t implement the latest fad just because it’s getting buzz if it doesn’t really add value to your bottom line.

What other companies or entrepreneurs within the technology space do you admire and think businesses should know about?

I love what the Flatiron Health team is doing – they are using technology and data to try to cure cancer. That’s about as great of a mission as you can possible have.

Anything else Firmology readers and business owners should know? News? Upcoming features? Special deals?

If you’re a small business owner, Fundera is continuously investing in high-quality content to educate entrepreneurs on lending literacy and provide guidance on ways to improve business practices. It’s all free and available on the Fundera Ledger.

Firmology Readers: Let’s hear your thoughts!

1) Have a question or comment about Fundera? Drop Jared a note in the comments below.

2) Who would you like to see on Firmology’s Meet & Greet series? Are there other questions we should be asking? Are any of the questions above unclear or could be asked in a better way? Let us know in the comments below or email us at contact@firmology.com

 If you’re the founder of a tech company focused on helping businesses and would like to be featured on Firmology’s Meet & Greet series, email us at contact@firmology.com.

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About The Author

Jared is the CEO of Fundera, an online marketplace that matches small business owners to the best possible lender. Prior to Fundera, Jared co-founded GroupMe, a group messaging service that in August 2011 was acquired by Skype, which was subsequently acquired by Microsoft in October 2011. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Columbia University Entrepreneurship Organization and is an investor and advisor to startups such as Codecademy, SmartThings and TransferWise.