We caught up with Alex White, Talent Acquisition Partner at Funding Circle, to discuss all there is to know about the company. Alex recently participated at our Jobs4All Career Fair where his company sponsored our Discrimination & Diversity in the Workplace Panel. The focus of this article will be on career opportunities at Funding Circle and Alex’s growth within the company.
Funding Circle is here to help small businesses get the funding they need to succeed!
In a recent study about the impact of fintech lending on credit access, Funding Circle was found to serve more borrowers who are less likely to receive credit from traditional banks, as well as provide credit to additional borrowers at a lower cost.
First, tell us more about Funding Circle:
A: Funding Circle is a leading online small business lending platform. We connect diverse small business owners with much-needed affordable funding quickly to meet their critical working capital needs, helping their businesses and communities thrive.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU!
I have been in Talent Acquisition for going on seven years. The first six years were on the agency side of recruitment with my ultimate goal (achieved!) internal with a company. Being a part of a mission, vision and values are important to me. I feel lucky to have found Funding Circler where I’m able to make an impact every day. Now I’m the US Talent Acquisition Partner for Funding Circle US. Outside of my job, I’m originally from Michigan and met my wife while attending Michigan State University. We have ‘nomad-ed’ across the country together living in Minneapolis, Chicago, Connecticut, and now in Denver for the past six years. We have a French bulldog, ‘Stella Blue the Fourth’, and recently grew our family in 2021 with our first child, Theodore a.k.a. Teddy.
WHAT WAS THE CATALYST OR INSPIRATION THAT STARTED FUNDING CIRCLE?
Our co-founders – Samir Desai, James Meekings and Andrew Mullinger – were inspired to start Funding Circle after seeing the impact of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 on the traditional lending landscape. As banks increasingly restricted lending to small business owners during—and after—the crisis, those business owners needed an alternative source of fast, yet responsible, capital to stay afloat. Funding Circle was created to fill this gap, ensuring that small businesses—the backbone of the global economy—continue to get the support they need and deserve.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FUNDING CIRCLE FACES?
Our challenges mirror those facing small business owners. As we all collectively navigate economic volatility, Funding Circle experiences changes in need for and delivery of our loan products. In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we evolved to continue meeting the needs of SMBs, including by participating as a lender in government-backed funding programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program. As the world changes, we aim to change with it to ensure small business owners are never left behind.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FUNDING CIRCLE’S CLIENTS FACE?
While small business owners continue to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses, they are also facing additional challenges, such as inflation and supply chain disruptions. These challenges have many implications on their operations. We are helping owners navigate these challenges by serving as a source of fast and affordable funding to meet critical business needs, from covering overhead expenses to paying off debts and keeping up with demand. In fact, Funding Circle’s 2021 Small Business Survey found that 7 in 10 business owners (72%) felt that they would need financing in 2022.*
HOW DOES FUNDING CIRCLE BENEFIT WOMEN & NON-BINARY PEOPLE SPECIFICALLY?
Funding Circle is creating an environment of more equitable access to funding to diverse business owners and those in underbanked populations, including women, by mitigating traditional barriers to borrow from a bank. Historically, it has been especially difficult for those who are seeking small loans without an existing bank relationship to secure funding from a traditional financial institution. We seek to help close the funding gap that women and non-binary business owners have historically experienced, and we are doing so by publicly supporting policies and approaches that would make it easier to get dollars into the hands of business owners in need.
WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT FUNDING CIRCLE THAT PEOPLE OFTEN OVERLOOK?
Funding Circle is committed to workplace equity and makes consistent efforts toward reducing the gender pay gap within the company. According to our UK 2020/21 gender pay gap update*, the mean gender pay gap went down from 21.4% in 2020 to 18.5% in 2021. This change was spearheaded by our focus on building a talent pipeline of highly qualified women talent at senior and mid-levels to increase representation in our leadership roles. We believe this approach will help us drive long-term enterprise-level change by increasing representation at all levels of the company.
BAD BETTIE PROJECT IS ALL ABOUT HELPING COMMUNITIES, HOW IS FUNDING CIRCLE DOING THE SAME?
Providing access to working capital to SMB owners in underbanked communities is the cornerstone of our services. Specifically, as part of our lending as a service offering, we partner with various financial services institutions that are embedded in regional communities to provide crucial funding that local SMB owners need to grow and scale their businesses—simultaneously supporting the economy and job creation in their communities. Using cutting-edge technology, we are able to process loans at a much faster rate than traditional banks. The entire application process can be completed online which increases accessibility by eliminating the need for borrowers to go to a physical location to apply for funding.
NOW WE’RE CURIOUS, HOW DO YOU BALANCE IT ALL?
Taking care of yourself mentally and physically is personal to me and something I advocate for as I’ve been on my own journey that has had some struggles. I’m passionate about supporting others who are looking for ways to improve their own physical and mental health. For mental health, I started practicing gratitude a couple of years ago thanks to a former business partner of mine. Physically I love to golf and so I try and enjoy the walk when golfing as much as possible.
IF SOMEONE WERE TO RECOMMEND SOMETHING FROM FUNDING CIRCLE, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
We would highly recommend sharing the resource guide we’ve developed in partnership with Nationwide that aims to act as a comprehensive one-stop financing and business insurance information center for American small business owners. It is available to the public and can be accessed by the public through our resource center: htps://www.fundingcircle.com/us/resources/nationwide-partnership/
HOW CAN OUR READERS GET PLUGGED IN?
Readers can check out our social media channels and website learn more about how we are supporting main street businesses by giving them access to much needed working capital.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
We recently announced a high-impact partnership with Pitney Bowes that will help small business owners receive critical funding in as little as 48 hours via a streamlined and efficient online application powered by our proprietary technology.
Thank you so much again to Alex and our friends at Funding Circle for sponsoring Jobs4All and our Discrimination & Diversity in the Work Search Panel!