Outside the Box: Idea Financial’s Unusual Path to Alternative Finance

How many lawyers does it take to start up an alternative finance company? Two, according to Idea Financial’s Co-founders, Justin Leto and Larry Bassuk.

Idea, a Miami-based company which offers lines of credit to SMB owners, is the product of Leto and Bassuk’s partnership over the course of years, the latter told deBanked. “We took a leap of faith and left our practices and we began developing this business out of the conference room of our own firm.” But before that, the pair worked together as both lawyers and entrepreneurs.

Beginning in 2011, they met when Leto was already running his own practice and Bassuk was working as an associate for a different firm on the same floor. What started as a chance meeting developed into talks of what’s missing from their industry, which ultimately led to their early ventures together: their own legal firm, Leto | Bassuk, and Level Insurance.

While the former of these is no longer operating, due to their focus shifting to Idea, Level is still providing services to those looking for a niche form of insurance. Established in 2016, the company offers Litigation Cost Protection which covers those lawyers who work on contingency, this being the agreement of them being paid a percentage of the assets they recover for the client, thus earning nothing if the client loses.

Born from Leto and Bassuk’s own experiences as attorneys, Level Insurance provided that initial entrepreneurial step outside of a law firm. And while it afforded the comfort of overlapping with the legal industry, their decision to go into alternative finance brought with it a new marketplace as well as new challenges.

Although it was founded in March 2017, Idea Financial’s first year in business was largely spent working out of Leto | Bassuk’s conference room, figuring out strategies, technology, and credit models; as well as making key hires and developing their product. In fact, it wasn’t until January of 2018 that Idea made their first loan. Initially backed with $20 million by Warsaw-based Idea Bank, which specializes in servicing small businesses, Idea Financial has since secured another $70 million from the fintech bank, Cross River Bank, and has funded $50 million to nearly six hundred businesses.

Now at 35 employees and with a new office beyond the walls of the old conference room, Leto asserts business is going well despite the odds having been stacked against them. “Some would have called [Idea Bank] crazy because they gave two people who were from outside the space this kind of money to build a business and lend money without any strict covenants. So, Larry and I were left to make our own rules.”

And looking forward, Bassuk is confident of their future, lauding much of the company’s strength to the diversity of their workforce, with recruits from Montenegro, Russia, Colombia, and Venezuela, and their unique backgrounds. “We’re all about recruiting top talent, all about diversity of thought.”

“We’re not from the finance space, we’re not from the alternative lending space either, we came at this opportunity with a different approach.”

August 28, 2019 | By: Brendan Garrett

3 Ways to Run Your Business More Efficiently

Idea Financial is always looking for ways to help business owners get more out of their businesses and their business financing. Today, we would like to talk about financial tools that can boost your efficiency when managing your cash flow.

Guest Post by FINSYNC

Win the battle against runaway financial management with a few shortcuts that can help you automate time-consuming tasks and operate key areas on autopilot.

As a small business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. From applying for financing and tracking your cash flow to making sure your employees get paid, managing your finances alone can feel like a full-time job. In the midst of this ongoing juggling act, who has time to focus on the reasons you started your business in the first place?

Free up some time to focus on mission critical areas like customer service and sales by streamlining your back office operations. How? Turn to sophisticated online tools that can help you automate administrative tasks to save time, resources and maybe even your sanity.

Here are three areas where you can run your business more efficiently with the help of intuitive online tools that can do the heavy lifting for you.

1. Automate your Accounting

Can’t stomach spending one more second filling in another endless spreadsheet? No budget to hire a bookkeeper? You’re not alone, but where does that leave you when it comes to accounting? Good news: It’s never been easier to sync up your finances with a sophisticated online tool that can take care of your accounting automatically.

It’s generally as easy as importing your bank transactions, which the computer Gods then automatically categorize for you on a general ledger. Savvy online accounting tools can help you track expenses, tackle month-end reconciliation, and prepare your taxes in a fraction of the time.

Many programs also give you the ability to generate reports that make it simple to drill down to the details you need. Bottom line: Automating your accounting is a shortcut to actionable insights that can help you make better business decisions.

2. Invoice on Autopilot

Why spend time writing paper checks and typing up invoices when you can simply click a button to pay your vendors, or get paid? Invoicing software can save you ample time on administrative tasks.

Take a few items off your monthly to-do list by setting up recurring invoice schedules and auto payments. And skip those uncomfortable calls to overdue clients with alerts that automatically remind customers when payments are due — or past due.

Invoicing on autopilot helps you make payments much easier, not to mention get paid faster. In addition to saving you time, invoicing software makes it easier for clients to pay you, which can translate to on-time payments that bolster your cash flow.

3. Simplify Cash Flow Management

It’s impossible to run your business efficiently without good cash flow management and analytics. That means getting a solid grasp on the money coming in and going out of your business, including past trends, current conditions and future projections.

Cash flow analysis helps you learn from your history and predict the future so you can avoid unexpected shortfalls that can torpedo your finances into the red. Fortunately, analyzing your cash flow doesn’t have to be a daunting, time-consuming task.

Intuitive online tools can take the sting out of cash flow management and significantly simplify the process. Visualize your cash flow with automatically generated charts and graphs, then schedule payments around your projected cash flow and easily make adjustments where necessary. No MBA in Finance required!

Consolidate for the Trifecta

Now that you’re ready to automate your accounting, put your invoicing on autopilot, and simplify cash flow management, there’s one more step you can take to run your business with maximum efficiency: consolidate.

Rather than relying on disparate apps and software systems with multiple passwords and interfaces, consider turning to a unified financial management solution like FINSYNC. Syncing up all of your financial operations on one system with a single password and dashboard can save significant time and help you manage your finances with much less effort.

And then you can get back to focusing on all of those reasons that you started your business in the first place.

Guest post by FINSYNC. To learn more about FINSYNC, visit their website here.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed, or information provided, in this post are those of FINSYNC, Inc. and do not reflect the official policy or position of Idea Financial. Any content provided by Idea Financial’s partners are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.