Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund is proud to announce a seed investment round in Camino Financial, an online credit marketplace focused on lending to underserved minority-owned businesses. Founded in 2011, CV’s Catalyst Fund invests in technology companies founded by underrepresented ethnic minority entrepreneurs with recent enterprise investments in Partpic, LiveNinja and Partnered.
Here’s a little background on Camino Financial from the CEO, Sean Salas, who leads the charge with with his twin brother, VP of Operations and Finance, Kenny Salas.
What was the catalyst behind Camino Financial?
We draw our inspiration from our mom, who immigrated from Mexico and started a Mexican restaurant chain. She opened over 30 doors over the life of her career, but lost her business due to lack of resources, talent and capital to scale. After working on Wall Street for several years, Kenny and I realized that our services were not reaching those who mirror the profile of our mom. With 4.1 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., we saw a HUGE and untapped opportunity to design a lending platform uniquely positioned to capture this underbanked business population. And thus, Camino Financial was born.
What’s the most important item on your agenda right now?
Delivering a magical experience to ALL our clients. Thousands of business owners entrust us with our advice and capital. Many of whom have been burned by financial institutions. It is our responsibility to deliver best-in-class customer service and build a long-term relationship with our client. If we can do this effectively, our client relationships will extend well beyond capital, and truly form a partnership that will see through the growth of our client. We truly strive to grow our community one business at a time.
What advice would you give your fellow startups/entrepreneurs?
There is no short cut to entrepreneurship. You WILL struggle to access capital. You WILL struggle to find product/market fit. You WILL struggle to recruit and retain top talent. You WILL struggle to scale your business. You WILL struggle to manage a work-life balance.
Why Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund?
CV Catalyst Fund offers us a conduit to reach our clients at scale. By having indirect access to the Comcast network, Camino Financial has an opportunity to share client success stories and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs that the impossible is possible. That access to knowledge and capital should not be impediments to growth. Most importantly, CV Catalyst strongly believes in our mission to expand access to capital to underbanked businesses.
What differentiates you from the competition?
Our credit underwriting and go-to-market strategy are focused on lending to Hispanic-owned businesses that cannot get a loan from a bank. Hispanic businesses conform the largest and fastest growing underbanked business segment in the U.S.
What has surprised you most about the SMB space?
The FinTech evolution in the SMB space is still at its early stages of development. For instance, online lending to SMBs has been skyrocketing for the last 6 years with loan originations growing at a compounded growth rate well over 100%. However, customer satisfaction levels with online lenders are abysmally low at 15%. This screams opportunity for online lenders focused on delivering an optimal customer experience through a combination of technology, efficient capital markets strategies, and best-in-class customer service.
For more information about Camino Financial, visit www.caminofinancial.com.
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Comcast Ventures’ Catalyst Fund invests in Camino Financial was originally published in The Forecast on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.