Posted: February 08, 2013
Tech startup: P2Binvestor Inc.By Eric Peterson
INITIAL LIGHT BULB After a career in high-tech manufacturing in Boulder, Bruce Morgan started talking to Mike Stanki about starting a receivables finance company to buy the receivables of midsized companies that are starved for capital. The low-risk model gives growing companies quick access to capital upon invoicing.
"I started to realize it was a match made in heaven to bring the power of crowdfunding to receivables financing," says Morgan, now P2Bi’s CEO.
Currently, P2Bi is working with accredited investors with whom the principals had preexisting business relationships. Once Title 2 of the 2012 Jobs Act is enacted, P2Bi will be able to advertise deals to all accredited investors. If and when Title 3 is enacted, the market will grow to include unaccredited investors.
After the company’s launch, Morgan’s daughter Krista returned to Colorado from London to co-found the company and act as CMO. P2Bi is now six employees strong.
IN A NUTSHELL Once the aforementioned legislation kicks into effect, "We’re going to be soliciting clients through digital and social media," Morgan says. "We’re going to do the underwriting and fund them ourselves. Then we’re going to put the deals up on the website and let the crowd participate."
While Morgan can’t disclose the names of clients, one is a carpet manufacturer that developed an innovative manufacturing method. "They didn’t have an operating history, they couldn’t get bank financing, and they needed to buy inventory," Morgan says. "They went from catalog sales (with a major retailer) to be accepted as an in-store product. The business ramped up substantially." One hitch: "Banks won’t touch it."
This is where P2Bi enters the picture. "It’s got all of the elements you’re looking for," Morgan says. "It’s a company with a solid product and a demonstrated market.
"Right now there’s no way for an investor to find a deal like this," he adds. "This is really designed to deal with the information asymmetry that exists."
P2Bi is not a bank. "We’re not offering a chance to buy equity," Morgan says. "We’re offering access to a stream of payments that are backed by products. It’s not a loan, but as this type of lending takes off, it’s going to make a dent in the banking system."
Nancy Steele of Financial Forte in Erie has worked as a consultant for P2Bi. "They’ve done everything right, which is extremely unusual," Steele says. She says the model has very low risk and projects annual returns of 6 to 7 percent.
"It helps people raise money to grow when they need it," Steele adds. "It’s expensive money, but it’s available money."
THE MARKET Huge. Asset-backed lending totals about $136 billion in the U.S., according to receivables-financing clearinghouse Factors Chain International. "The estimate is there’s somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 companies in the space," Morgan says.
FINANCING After a self-funded launch and a seed round in August 2012, Morgan says the company is looking to raise $2 million in equity and $2.5 million in debt financing to buy invoices.
where Louisville | FOUNDED 2012 | web www.p2bi.com
"There’s a huge appetite for returns. They’re just not available through a bank. So you’re seeing all these alternative, Internet-based solutions."
– P2Binvestor founder and CEO Bruce Morgan
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com