We were hearing similar complaints on both coasts. After graduating from USC, Brian and I started our finance careers in LA and NYC, respectively. While we were walking the corporate tightrope, classmates of ours took the leap and started their own companies within digital advertising. The space was hot and we had graduated from an entertainment and marketing-focused university. We admired their resolve as they faced the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. However, three thousand miles apart, we heard the same stories again and again. Their small companies being taken to town by their large business customers, stretching them to the limit on payment terms. We knew that cash flow gaps are an issue for every growing business, but within digital media and advertising it sounded like a plague.
Your Harper founders in a past life.
We began doing research and speaking to everyone we knew – quickly realizing that there existed a need that was being poorly met. For digital media and advertising startups, the current funding options are a) limited, b) expensive, c) complex, or d) all of the above. The lenders that do serve the space typically provide capital to larger, established businesses. Those willing to serve the SMB cohort are overpriced and, because of the lack of other options, can dictate harsh terms. Raising equity is even more expensive for a fast growing startup and dilutes founders’ ownership and control (ask us to show you the math, we’re still finance nerds at heart!). We thought there had to be a better way for our friends to get the money they needed to grow their business. They were talented founders, did great work, and cared deeply about what they were building. For them, finding the right financing wasn’t just about the money, it was a path to achieving their vision while remaining the captain of their ship.
Banks drastically cut back on small business lending. Source: Wall Street Journal.
As sons of small business owners we developed a tremendous respect for entrepreneurs from an early age. The hard work, sacrifice, and risk tolerance needed to start your own business is not for the faint of heart. Finding the right financing was an issue for our families’ businesses starting out and twenty years later the problem still exists. We felt so strongly about this that we decided to do something about it – leaving the corporate world behind to build a better cash flow solution.
We started Harper to help entrepreneurs accelerate revenue, bridge cash flow gaps, and most importantly, maintain control of their business. We’ve put together several financing solutions that provide fast funding to digital-focused SMBs, agencies, startups and publishers based on the strength of their receivables and contracts. Our rates are priced to beat what’s currently offered in the market and, trust us, we move fast. As an added service, we leverage our extensive finance backgrounds to provide business and cash flow advisory to all our clients. For startups, understandably, the last department built out is usually the finance department and that’s precisely where our expertise can help.
We’re entrepreneurs, raised by entrepreneurs, with the mission to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Reach out to us and learn how Harper can be a partner in your company’s growth.