As student loan debts mount and the economy continues to struggle, the roster of startup alternative finance companies keeps growing.
Pave, a New York-based startup, is the latest to launch. It announced a pilot of its crowdsourcing platform targeting young adults Wednesday.
Pave is meant to "empower young people to follow their passions," said Sal Lahoud, co-founder and CEO, during a media junket in Manhattan Wednesday. It helps students and young professionals fund their dream careers and receive mentorships from backers through its crowdsourcing platform.
The Pave service works like this: Those seeking capital, such as an aspiring journalist or technologist, establish a profile on Pave, including details like what matters to them. Prospects, the term Pave uses to identify its borrowers, ask for the amount they seek. Then, when a backer wants to fund a prospect, the two parties connect to arrange the terms of the funding agreement, with help from Pave. The startup offers backers data points, such as a prospect's projected future income.
The platform is meant for prospects to tell their stories and backers to determine their value. "We don't define success," said Lahoud.
At launch, Pave had eight prospects and more than 20 backers.
The Pave platform is meant to fund people, rather than specific projects. Backers will receive a percentage of the future earned income of the borrower, rather than a set interest rate. The financial agreement, which is negotiated between the borrower and each of his backers, runs for 10 years.
The average payback range from the first class of prospects is 3% to 5% of their earnings.
Pave collects a 3% fee when prospects receive their initial funding. It also collects a 1.5% servicing fee on future payments to backers.
Revenue-based financing, meanwhile, has been used for certain industries, like film production or oil and gas sectors, but is a newer funding option for early-stage small businesses. Lighter Capital, one of BTN's top 10 tech companies to watch, offers such loans to software startup firms and other early-stage companies.