If there’s a one-word reason for why my blog’s been quiet recently, it’s “volume.” Deal volume, that is.
As a guy who’s in the business of tracking deal activity, I want to be where the volume is. You got deals? Then I say turn it up, man!
When I was blogging at the end of 2016, I was writing a lot about the research I was doing in the alternative lending space. Specifically, both “non-bank” and traditional lending to small companies, where there’s almost $1 trillion per year in outstanding credit. Now that’s deal volume. (Especially when you consider the customary definition of a small company loan is one where the debt is below $1 million.)
Around the same time, I was writing about how I was funding this research. In a post called “Dogfooding” I explained the methodology I was using to pitch my seed financing to investors. Basically, I was eating my own dogfood and using the email marketing techniques I wrote about.
Well, those marketing emails worked out pretty darn well. Every investor in our company’s round (except for my cousin Danny) came through those efforts. I didn’t call a single VC yet we still got our deal funded with institutional investors.
I think we had good success – and an oversubscribed round, to boot – because many of the people who received our pitch emails knew us already. They were either clients of our prior company, or they were reading emails like this one. (I suspect that companies who’ve been successful raising capital online also have an engaged client base.)
Yes, I spent quite a bit of time doing research, but don’t confuse my temporary radio silence with indifference. I’m still reading every startup email that crosses my inbox, I’m still reading about the latest Reg A deals, and I’m still reading Crowdfund Insider every week.
I haven’t lost interest (or confidence) in following the trends in online capital formation – to the contrary. When I opened this past Sunday’s New York Times and found an advertisement for the Knightscope Reg A deal on page 10, I got excited. From my booth at the Merrick Diner I sent text messages to a handful of people and wondered what that ad cost, who paid for it, and what the call-in statistics and conversion rates looked like.
I’m sticking with this space, and continuing to stay engaged in areas like crowdfunding and marketing private placements under Rule 506(c).
OK, now back to “volume.”
I suppose like everyone else, I’m waiting for crowdfunding volume to increase. At our Crowdfunding Conference in November, I compared Reg CF activity year-to-date with daily deal activity in areas like private equity and venture capital. These weren’t aggregate dollar comparisons, they were aggregate deal volume comparisons – i.e. how many crowdfunding deals were closing vs. other types of deals. I probably don’t have to tell you, but specifically in the crowdfunding space, we’re yet to see mainstream adoption.
So, while I keep the iron in the CF-fire, I’m spending most of my time building products for professionals in the small business lending segment. In stark contrast to the many startups pitching equity investments based on speculative technology, if you’re a small company with virtually any assets or revenue, there’s an investor willing to loan you money. Hence, huge transaction volume.
If you’re interested in online lending or alternative investments, you can download a copy of our first premium newsletter, The Alternative Lending Report – it’ll take you about 30 seconds to see why I’m excited about this area.
Moving forward, you can expect me to get back to blogging – albeit on a less frequent basis. I will keep my original promise though: To entertain and inform with cutting-edge commentary on the emerging area of online capital formation and deal sourcing.