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ownership, like they would with a VC. RevenueLoan will take just a 1 percent “equity kicker” in warrants, Sack says. On the other hand, entrepreneurs will have to pay back their investors right away out of their hard-earned revenues. But everyone seems to agree that if a company’s projected growth is a good fit, the structure makes sense—and that this should lead to a wider range of companies getting the money they need to expand.
“It makes a huge difference when you align the incentives between the investor and entrepreneur,” Sack says. “As I’ve been talking to more entrepreneurs, I’m super stoked by the prospects…It’s a really innovative product to help finance early-stage technology companies. It will move to fill in the gap that the banks have left, and focus on a segment of the market that VCs just don’t do.”
Asked about the long-term prospects of RevenueLoan, Sack says, “I have a strong belief that revenue-based finance will be a major source of capital for a huge underserved market…Today there’s less than $100 million in revenue-based finance focused on technology, but I predict it will be a multibillion-dollar market in a few years.”
If that turns out to be true, it is also a huge opportunity for the Seattle innovation community to stake its claim to a new investment sector, and take the lead over places like Silicon Valley and Boston, which have much larger traditional VC establishments. Sack, for his part, doesn’t think the revenue-based model will take off in the Valley because the traditional flow of venture capital is too strong. As for Boston, who knows? The birthplace of revenue-based capital applied to tech startups just might have some surprises up its sleeve.
For now, my money is on the Northwest. After all, as disruption theory tells us, the innovations that turn out to be truly disruptive almost always come from the edges of the industry, and the smaller players. RevenueLoan, coming from Seattle—and inspired by Boston and Portland—could fit the bill.
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