Financial technology (fintech) solutions are powering a new generation of alternative online business funders. One of the latest funding platforms available is Upwise Capital.
The company offers many of the benefits of alternative lending. These include quick applications and approvals, fast funding, and bad credit business loans. The lending platform also provides a robust suite of cannabis lending products.
However, it might not be suitable for every small business. It’s less proven than some of its competitors.
We can help you determine whether Upwise Capital matches your funding needs by covering the benefits, drawbacks, and application process. Specifically, we’ll answer these questions and more:
Upwise Capital LLC is a financial services company that helps small business owners access capital with over 20 funding programs. Like many companies in the alternative lending space, it offers quick applications, fast funding, and accepts bad credit borrowers.
One of the lending company’s distinct features is its cannabis business loan program. While many lenders avoid the industry due to its precarious legal status, Upwise Capital aims to position itself as a leading canna-business lender.
The company began in 2020. It’s based in New York, NY.
The lending platform provides access to a full suite of small business lending products, cannabis loans, and business financing products. Potential borrowers complete an online application.
If approved, you can receive your funds on most products within 24-48 hours. Sometimes, it’s possible to get same-day funding.
Here are the available business funding programs.
A business line of credit operates like a credit card. The funder provides an available credit limit; you can draw funds from it as needed.
Instead of a traditional loan that provides a lump sum all at once, a line of credit is funding on demand. You only pay interest on what you draw, and the credit limit replenishes it as you pay it back.
A short-term business loan provides working capital as a large lump sum. As the name suggests, the repayment terms for this loan type are brief, usually less than two years.
Short-term business loans are typically easier to qualifier for and quick to fund, but the costs can run high. Some small businesses use short-term loans as bridge financing while waiting for lower-cost, long-term loans to close and fund.
Business term loans follow a traditional financing structure. It is the most common business loan type, where you receive a large loan disbursement, repaid plus interest and fees in fixed monthly payments.
These loans carry lower interest rates and give you longer to repay the amount owed. The drawbacks are that it usually requires in-depth paperwork, is more challenging to qualify, and takes longer to close and fund.
Upwise Capital provides working capital as a revenue-based funding product. Businesses receive a large sum of cash and repay it with a percentage of future receivables.
You can use working capital cash advances as bridge financing to cover cash flow gaps, purchase equipment, and more. These flexible business funding programs are best suited for lower-credit borrowers.
Equipment financing allows small businesses to purchase expensive business equipment on credit. Examples include medical and dental equipment, restaurant equipment, construction, manufacturing, fabrication equipment, etc.
The equipment you’re financing typically serves as collateral. This is known as a self-collateralized loan.
Invoice financing allows you to convert unpaid invoices into immediate working capital. The financing company sends an advance as a percentage of the invoice value, typically 85%, but it could go higher in some cases.
Your customers then pay the funder directly when paying off their invoice. Since repayment comes from your customers, funders care more about their credit than yours, making it one of the more accessible business financing options.
The company’s account receivables financing (AR financing) product is similar to invoice financing, but it includes being able to sell purchase orders as well.
Real estate loans are asset-based financing options that use the value of your company’s real estate holdings as collateral. You can use the loans to purchase real estate, as hard money loans, equity lines of credit, and more.
A merchant cash advance (MCA) provides a large lump sum, repaid with a percentage of your future sales. It’s one of the most accessible business funding options and one of the most expensive. Some MCAs take payment directly from your debit and credit card reader, while others use daily ACH transfers from your business bank account.
Healthcare loans provide working capital for medical providers, labs, and more. The loans can be structured as traditional term loans, short-term bridge loans, or equipment financing.
Upwise Capital lists SBA 7(a) loans as an option, but the listed terms, rates, and funding speed are inaccurate. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) sets specific rules for lenders, including capping interest rates.
The standard SBA 7(a) loan is supposed to carry terms of up to 10 years or 25 years for commercial real estate. Lenders cannot charge more than 4.75% over Prime for variable-rate loans or 8% over Prime for fixed-rate loans.
SBA loans also take a long time to close and fund, typically from three weeks to two months. It’s possible that Upwise Capital’s website accidentally published incorrect features, but you should be wary of any company listing high-interest rates, short terms, and fast funding for SBA loans.
The company also advertises SBA 504 loans, but like their SBA (7) loan, the features listed are incorrect. SBA 504 loans carry borrowing amounts of up to $5.5 million per project.
Terms for SBA 504 loan go up to 10 years or 25 years for commercial real estate. Also, interest rates for SBA 504 loans cannot exceed 3% of the loan amount.
In addition to the SBA 7(a) and SBA 504 loans, small business owners affected by a declared disaster can apply for various relief programs. Those include:
Express Bridge Loan: The express bridge loan is designed to provide funding while waiting for a disaster relief loan.
Economic Disaster Relief Loan: EIDL loans provide relief for businesses in a declared disaster area. It is the only SBA loan that the government agency funds directly.
Employee Retention Credit Advance: The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC or ERC) was a tax incentive to encourage small businesses to retain employees during the Covid-19 pandemic. While the credit has expired, companies can still retroactively apply for it.
However, the IRS currently has a backlog of requests. ERTC advances provide a percentage of the tax credit in a cash advance. The funder then gets repaid when the IRS issues the tax credit.
The company’s cannabis real estate financing program allows marijuana companies to purchase commercial real estate or use existing real estate assets as collateral.
It offers three ways to utilize cannabis real estate to gain financing:
Conventional Asset-Based Loan: The loan-to-value (LTV) is based on the as-is real estate appraisal value.
Cannabis Real Estate Loan: The LTV is based on the completed cannabis value.
Sale-Leaseback: The canna-business sells its real estate to investors, who then lease the property back.
Upwise Capital provides an entire section for cannabis business loans. The programs offered are the same as the company’s existing products but it for legal cannabis companies.
The available loans include the following:
Cannabis Working Capital Loans: The online lending company offers merchant cash advances for marijuana businesses, which they call working capital loans. The process works the same as the MCA description above.
Cannabis Equipment Financing: These loans operate like the standard equipment loan, but it’s designed to obtain cannabis equipment. This includes storage, display, and point-of-sale equipment for dispensaries, growing and cultivation equipment, and more.
The following minimums are recommendations based on approved customers but are not concrete cutoff points. You can apply at any credit level.
Upwise Capital also considers startup funding for borrowers with excellent credit.
As a newer company in the alternative lending space, it hasn’t built the same reputation as many of its competitors. While that might not faze some small business owners, others will prefer working with a more established lending platform.
Many of the loans require collateral. These are known as secure loans since the collateral provides security for the lender.
While many funding options can be secured or unsecured (no collateral), unsecured financing usually carries higher interest rates. You might also have to sign a personal guarantee on unsecured funding.
Some loans may carry origination fees. Other fees that could apply include appraisal fees for real estate financing, draw fees on lines of credit, or monthly services fees.
However, the company does not charge an application fee. The initial application only performs a soft credit pull, but you might be subject to a hard credit pull if you move forward with funding.
While the company lists over 20 funding programs, some of them – like Healthcare or Cannabis loans – are the same products, just angled toward a specific industry. Even so, there are a variety of unique funding solutions available.
The lending platform provides a simple application process. Follow these steps to apply for an Upwise Capital business loan.
You can complete the online application in a few minutes or call the company to apply by phone. The application requires information about how much funding you’re seeking and the intended purpose.
Next, you’ll provide information about your business and yourself. Finally, upload a few required documents, e-sign, and submit the application.
You might need to supply the following documentation:
The company states its fintech system evaluates your business and can provide a decision within hours. Some loan options might take 24-48 hours.
Once approved, you’ll sign the contract and closing documents to finalize the loan. For most loan products, you’ll receive the funds in your business bank account via wire transfer or ACH transfer.
The repayment process looks significantly different depending on which loan you receive.
The lending company’s line of credit product carries weekly or monthly payments. Each time you draw funds, you’ll receive an amortization schedule that breaks down the cost of the funds for each month of the term.
You can save money with early payment discounts when you pay off the amount ahead of schedule. However, you must pay off the draw by the end of the scheduled term.
The repayment frequency for short-term loans is flexible. You may have an option for daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly payments.
Credit-challenged business owners are likely limited to daily or weekly payments. Once you pay down 50% of the amount owed, most funders allow you to renew.
Some of Upwise Capital’s short-term loans are structured as revenue-based financing, meaning it’s repaid with a percentage of your future receivables using a factor rate.
Otherwise, the loans use a standard interest rate. In either case, you can save money with early payment discounts when you pay it off ahead of schedule.
Repayment for term loans or equipment financing is monthly, but some term loans might have biweekly payments. The payment amount is fixed for the loan term.
The lending platform’s working capital loans use a factor rate between 1.10 and 1.45. For example, let’s say you received an advance of $200,000 at a factor rate of 1.20.
Multiply the advance amount by the factor rate to determine your costs:
$200,000 x 1.20 = $240,000. You’d repay the $240,000 with a percentage of your daily revenue. There are prepayment discounts available for early payoff.
The funding company charges a fee every term your customers don’t pay their invoices. Once the amount is paid, the funder sends the remaining amount minus its fees.
Real estate financing loans carry fixed monthly payments. You might also have the option of interest-only payments, which require balloon payments on the principal. The company doesn’t state anything about early payoff discounts.
All SBA loans carry fixed monthly payments for the loan term. The payment amount should be low, considering the low interest rate and long repayment terms.
SBA lenders cannot charge prepayment penalties unless the loan’s amortization is 15 years or greater and the borrower pays it off in the first five years.
The repayment depends on the specific loan structure. In most cases, you’ll have fixed monthly payments.
Repayment depends on the type of loan. Review the above options.
The business funding platform provides a simple and quick online application. You could get approved the same day you apply. Other times, you can get a decision in 24-48 hours.
It offers over 20 business funding programs across most industries. You can find a business loan that meets your specific needs.
There are many fast-funding programs available, with same-day funding possible. You can also apply with a low credit score as it offers several bad credit business loan options.
The company also provides startup funding. But you will need excellent personal credit if you don’t have a business history or revenue.
As a newer business, it doesn’t have the same reputation as many competitors. It doesn’t have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile and very few online reviews, making it difficult to assess the company before applying.
Alternative business financing tends to be more expensive than traditional financing. That’s the tradeoff for the lower-credit funding options, quick and easy applications, and fast funding.
While the lending platform’s website does an excellent job of providing loan details, it lacks transparency on fee ranges. That can make it difficult to estimate total costs.
There is also some incorrect information on the website regarding SBA loans. Elsewhere it mentions accurate terms and interest rates for these loans. But the SBA 7(a) page and the SBA 504 page list loan details inconsistent with SBA standards.
Yes, Upwise Capital is a legitimate alternative business financing fintech platform.
The company has mostly positive reviews, but we’ll also cover the negative ones. It has a 4.7 out of 5 rating on over 130 Trustpilot reviews and a 4.9 out of 5 rating on over 80 Google reviews.
The positive reviews focus on the funding managers’ professionalism, expertise, and customer service. Several customers mentioned their representative by name when praising the service.
Several customers highly recommend Upwise Capital. Another common theme is the fast funding time. Many users stated how they received their funds within a few days.
The negative reviews essentially center around cost. Several customers said they received a high-interest rate and were hit with unexpected fees.
Another common complaint is aggressive sales tactics. A few customers felt it was difficult to get ahold of the company after the deal was funded.
If you were declined for a loan, the denial letter should explain why and include information about when you can apply again. You can also contact the company for more details.
You might be interested in the following funding solutions:
Upwise Capital is best suited for small business owners looking for multiple funding options who aren’t deterred by the company’s lack of history. Cannabis businesses and well-qualified startups, in particular, could benefit from the funding platform’s suite of products.
Established businesses with excellent credit can qualify for lower-cost financing options. Even so, the fast funding time could justify the extra cost of alternative financing if your company has an urgent funding need. Based on user reviews, available products, and website information, we rate Upwise Capital at 4 out of 5.
Disclaimer: The Upwise Capital trademark is owned by Upwise Capital, LLC. and its use herein is for reference purposes only and it does not indicate sponsorship or endorsement from Upwise Capital, LLC.