Social Proof; Why it Matters in the MCA World and What Funder Intel is Doing About It
Shane Mahabir, Funder Intel
Over the last seven years in my ISO relations roles at direct funding companies, one of my key tasks was continuously finding new ISOs to work with. I was on the front lines, seeking to develop and maintain referral partnerships. While in my roles as ISO Manager, I noticed that there was no central location or easy way to find the supposedly hundreds or thousands of ISOs (also referred to as brokers, commercial finance brokers, loan brokers, etc.) out there.
Google searches, social media groups, or in-person events weren't enough. Upon finding as many ISOs as I could from several sources and combining that with my previous experience, I knew this information would be valuable for others. But there were other problems, too – like finding quality, high-performing ISOs. So I started thinking about how to build something that could help others across the industry, and that’s when the idea for Funder Intel came about.
I formalized my idea to be beneficial to both funders and ISOs. Mainly, how can a broker and a funder find out more about each other in a central location, strictly for industry stakeholders, in a professional environment, yet free of government intervention like a FINRA broker check? I wanted it to be more similar to some of the review sites, like Google or the BBB, combined with some concepts from other niche sites out there that provide comprehensive information for their industry or profession.
What We Do
The goal is to make an impact on the alternative finance space by providing a platform for voices to be heard, stakeholders to connect, and a living history of each company for all to contribute to. It’s not an unfamiliar concept – people rate and review products and services every day. However, no one has tried to do a niche site like this where company listings include thousands of ISOs and funders. Most ISOs don’t even register with the BBB, and not a high percentage register with Google or other review sites.
Funder Intel will continue to evolve in order to create more valuable content and help solve industry problems. Adding ratings and managing a company profile will become even more dynamic with added functionality for both sides. As members contribute more, the more relevant the reputation and rating score becomes. One unique aspect of our site is we do not let merchants in as members. This means all the ratings and reviews you see on the site are from industry colleagues that are approved members. However, merchants can view funder profiles at the moment, but not ISO profiles.
A company's online reputation and ‘social proof’ can be a defining factor for long term success. It can give a positive impression to customers that leads to increased sales, or it can be a negative thing that drags a company down. Social proof isn’t from just one site either. It involves all known, credible information. I have seen ISOs and even some funders change their company name because they have been so damaged online – whether it be dozens of negative BBB complaints, lawsuits, or something else.
Since so many ISOs and funders have wanted more to be done to reduce the unethical, shady, illegal, or otherwise criminal behavior in our space, we should all do something that can make a positive change in the industry. Funder Intel isn't the end-all that's going to make everyone operate above board, but it’s a piece to the puzzle that will make an impact by accentuating the positive and reducing the negative. Social proof matters, and we are doing what we can to help make this easier for the industry.
To Wrap it All Up
The industry has changed in the last year (with COVID and the lockdowns) but will survive as funders and ISOs adapt, modify operations, and expand their reach with new/improved products. We are here to put the spotlight on individual companies that operate in a highly professional manner and help the industry learn more about the companies that don’t.
Funder Intel has had incredible support from members of the site, including the team at Elevate Funding, and other partners. We have exciting updates coming to the system, plus much more. So stay tuned!
Shane Mahabir is the Founder and CEO of Funder Intel. He’s been in the alternative finance industry for roughly 7 years working for Direct Funders and as a broker. Contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org, at funderintel.com, or on LinkedIn.