Eyal Lifshitz of BlueVine

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Eyal Lifshitz (founder and CEO) of BlueVine, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of BlueVine – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

The decision to focus on small businesses was largely personal. Beyond seeing a promising market opportunity, the pain point I decided to have BlueVine focus on was one tied to my family’s experiences (my father owned a physical therapy clinic with six employees on the Upper East Side of New York, and my grandfather operated a small lighting store in Israel): accessing everyday funding to address short-term needs. Over the past six years, BlueVine has provided more than $3 billion in fast funding to small businesses and served more than 250,000 customers. Historically, banks have under-invested in small businesses and as a result, they have been left with products and services that don’t meet their needs. We understand how small businesses operate and the challenges they face in managing their finances and cash flow better than anyone. We provide solutions that address virtually any small business’s banking and financing needs, including cash, credit, and money management – proving an end to end banking solution. Our ultimate vision, however, is to provide small business owners with a seamless banking experience, integrated with deposits and cash management financing & credit, a suite of payment solutions, as well as external software integrations.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

In the beginning, everything is new. It’s just like learning how to walk. I’d be lying if I said me and my initial team of seven didn’t stumble – having come from a safe career in venture capital, consulting, and engineering, I was learning on the job. As a new founder, I was doing everything from configuring our Salesforce, to taking out the trash, negotiating our lease agreement, and figuring out how to grow the company. My takeaway from these early-day hurdles for other aspiring entrepreneurs is to realize that you will stumble and make mistakes along the way. I was lucky enough to have had a great network of entrepreneurs, mentors, and to be able to turn to my previous venture capital firm for questions and advice. I recommend other founders lean into the resources and knowledge of their networks as well.

What does the future hold for BlueVine?

We’re focused on the issues impacting the smallest of businesses, especially bringing products and services that would help bring peace of mind to the 30 million small business owners currently underserved in the US. We recently rolled out BlueVine Business Banking, and during the pandemic, focused heavily on processing SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. During the first round of PPP, we applied our technology, engineering expertise, relentless execution, and unmatched customer support to providing more than 155,000 small business owners with $4.5+ billion in PPP loans and saving 470,000+ jobs. As we continue to build our suite of offerings for the small businesses who need it most, we’re focused on more integrated financing products, sophisticated cash management features and payments, and deep integrations to small business software like accounting and expense management.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Redwood City?

Redwood City is home to a lot of great startups and for good reason. Given its proximity between the South Bay and San Francisco, it attracts top talent from across all the Bay Area. The city’s downtown area and convenient public transportation make it an attractive location for many startups and employees of all types.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

My advice to entrepreneurs (in the tech industry, small business owners, and beyond) all comes back to agility, flexibility, and nimbleness. Thinking about your business, your model, your current cash reserves, and where you can adapt (especially during tumultuous times like the one we’re going through) is critical for success in any industry, big or small. Another piece of advice I have is for aspiring entrepreneurs to always be “aware” – not just understanding what is happening around you, your company, and your place in the market, but also being attuned to the needs of your employees, investors, and partners.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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