Last year saw founders navigating through increasingly uncertain times — interest rates were on the rise, inflation hit 40-year highs, and venture funding stalled across sectors. With an impending recession looming, Mercury stepped up to deliver Mercury Venture Debt, a better financing option for founders looking to make their raised capital go further and keep their companies moving forward against macroeconomic headwinds.
We’re proud to announce that the work our team did on Mercury Venture Debt in 2022 earned us a spot on Fast Company’s list of the world's top ten most innovative companies in finance of 2023. Looking back, it’s clear that this product has had a significant impact on the entrepreneurs who are continuing to build and grow — even with the odds stacked against them.
Launched in March 2022 — ahead of the the biggest downturn in VC funding in a decade — Mercury Venture Debt was designed to streamline the process of securing financing as a venture-backed startup.
Traditionally, founders seeking venture debt would have to go through outdated application processes riddled with tedious phone calls, manual diligence, and inflated interest rates. We looked to reimagine that flow by infusing it with the same tech-forward approach we apply to banking* for startups.
Our updated venture debt process includes a straightforward online application, a digitized due diligence process, and clarity for founders around what they’re signing up for, how their application is tracking, and what to expect once approved. The result is a venture debt product that provides minimally-dilutive capital with the same competitive terms found with traditional banks, but with significantly greater speed, transparency, and ease for founders.
“The debt instrument itself has become fairly commoditized over the years with several new lenders offering competitive terms,” says Chase Little, Head of Credit at Mercury. “This nets great value for startups, but the process remains slow and opaque, pushing documents and communications through email coupled with very little online banking capabilities. The biggest obstacles we've solved for are speed and transparency — we’re digitizing this process from start to finish and adding clear visibility of the loan for founders.”
At the same time, while we work to digitize the venture debt process, we understand the importance of human touchpoints, which is why we’ve balanced tech-enabled capital management with 1:1 support from relationship managers. On the one hand, founders can take comfort in knowing that our product is built for ease-of-use, and on the other, they can rest assured knowing that dedicated support is always there should they need it.
Our innovation at Mercury is driven by a responsibility to our customers — the next generation of great startups — who rely on us to keep pace and innovate alongside them as they make waves and drive incredible impact in their own industries.
Mercury Venture Debt is just a piece of the equation. Whether we’re building a new lending product, banking feature, or community program, our goal in everything we do is to create a stronger financial foundation for founders — and to defy expectations every step of the way. Looking ahead to what’s next in 2023, we hope to draw inspiration from what we’ve built and learned to date so that we can continue delivering products and programs that founders can’t get anywhere else — ones that truly understand and speak to the founder experience.
Curious about Mercury Venture Debt? Learn more about our founder-friendly term loans here, and discover how you can make your next raise go further.
*Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust®; Members FDIC.