(This week’s SmallBiz Talk is a celebration of Bluevine 5th anniversary. Check out our special anniversary page.)
We began this journey in 2013 when our founder Eyal Lifshitz left a career in venture capital to launch his own startup.
Eyal envisioned a company that would offer small business owners fast and convenient access to working capital, enabling them to address their everyday funding needs.
His vision was inspired partly by memories of his father. The owner of a small physical therapy clinic in New York, Ohad Lifshitz used to wrestle with a common problem: waiting weeks, even months to get paid for his services.
Growth and blossom
Eyal named the startup Bluevine, after “a vine with opposite, heart-shaped leaves and a blue-purple like flower.” As Eyal explains in one of the first articles in the Bluevine Business Blog: “We liked the association with growth and blossom.”
That’s what the Bluevine story has been about: the growth and blossoming of small businesses, with Bluevine as a trusted ally.
It wasn’t exactly a smooth launch five years ago.
“In March 2014, we funded our first customer: $5,000,” Eyal recalls in Why I Started Bluevine. “It was an exciting day for our team — although it still wasn’t entirely clear that the business and our technology would work. There was even some doubt after we disbursed the funds to that customer. “Well, we’re never gonna get that money back,” I thought to myself. In fact, that first customer paid us back. But … almost every other customer in the first month defaulted.”
We’ve come a long way.
This month, Bluevine marked its 5th year as a leading provider of flexible and quick financing that has helped thousands of small businesses quickly access funds for covering payroll, procuring supplies, fixing equipment and even for pursuing unexpected business opportunities.
$1 Billion in Working Capital Financing
We have now provided more than $1 billion in working capital financing to more than 10,000 small and medium sized businesses since we unveiled our financing platform in 2014.
This year, Bluevine was named Best B2B Factoring Service by Business News Daily and Best Overall Business Line Credit by FitSmall Business. Bluevine was also named Best Business Finance Provider in North America at the 2017 Trade Finance Global Awards.
Tyler Sosin, a partner at Menlo Ventures, a major Bluevine investor said this in a recent press announcement: “The company has demonstrated dramatic, sustainable growth and has proven that there is enduring value in developing a comprehensive offering of credit products that small and medium sized businesses can use throughout their lifetimes”
Helping Small Businesses Succeed and Grow
Many Bluevine customers say Bluevine financing played a critical role in the success and growth of their business.
It helped HandledNow, an Indiana-based staffing agency, expand more rapidly thanks to Bluevine financing, said founder Aaron Robertson.
“We tripled our headcount in less than two years,” Robertson said. “We certainly would not have been able to do that without Bluevine.”
Bluevine invoice factoring helped Maine-based SaviLinx, which offers business processing and technology support services to big companies and government agencies, achieve faster growth.
Inc. Magazine ranked SaviLinx the 28th fastest growing private company in the U.S. in 2017.
“We were just over $2 million a year in revenue when we started with Bluevine in 2015. A year later, we were at $11 million,” CEO Heather Blease said. “Bluevine was a very important part of our growth. If we didn’t have Bluevine, we would have had to sell more equity in our company to have the cash we needed to grow.”
A business line of credit from Bluevine enabled entrepreneur Jesse Urrutia, owner of MarketMe Video Production in San Carlos, California, to take on bigger clients.
“In the past, I was forced to turn down projects and even new customers because I simply didn’t have the cash to pay for a production,” Urrutia said. “It was just frustrating having to turn business down because you don’t have the money. Bluevine fixed that for us.”
SmallBiz Talk is a weekly summary of small business news and insights.