Waco nonprofit helps businesses with crowdlending

Start-up Waco has partnered with microfinance firm Kiva to help local businesses in McLennan County get loans through crowdlending

WACO, Texas – Startup Waco is an organization that functions as a resource for Waco businesses. It serves as a common workspace, an event host, and now helps with getting a small business loan.

However, the loan with which Startup Waco helps is not a normal loan. It is a program with no fees, no interest rates and to which the community contributes in part. This is called crowdlending.

Kiva microfinance supports Startup Waco in this process. The principle is that companies lend to other companies.

“We had one company that successfully raised $ 15,000 and another that raised $ 6,500,” said Waco start-up CEO Jon Passavant. “You don’t give to the business, you lend to the business, and the businesses are borrowing. It’s crowdlending, that’s how it’s sourced so that people in the community can contribute to businesses in their community.

Crowdlending is very similar to crowdfunding or crowdsourcing, like the popular Kickstarter website. But in this process, a lender can choose a borrower in their own community, lend as little as $ 25, and then get paid back later.

Kiva’s website reports that there is a 96 percent refund history with the site. Startup Waco has worked with many McLennan County businesses since opening in 2019. Last year, and using the power of tools like Zoom, they’ve interacted with over 800 businesses.

Waco Cha is co-owned by Devin Li. He was part of the pilot program for this new initiative and raised $ 15,000 in the first two and a half days. The money will be used to open a new location in Temple.

“It’s a loan, so it’s now just free money that we keep and we’re supposed to pay it back, especially any donors who will get their money back,” Li said. “It’s a rather process. cool and a pretty cool idea. “

The full schedule will roll out next week, and startup Waco has announced it will host a Zoom call on February 17 for anyone with questions.

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