SoLo Funds, a fintech company based in Los Angeles, provides an alternative to payday lenders. Payday lenders charge high interest rates and frequently trap borrowers in a debt cycle with no way out. SoLo Funds’ peer-to-peer lending platform connects borrowers in need of short-term loans with lenders willing to offer small sums of money, typically under $1000, for a limited time.
The borrower has up to 35 days to repay the interest-free loan with the option of paying two fees: an administrative donation to SoLo Funds and a tip to the lender. Alternatively, they can decide to forgo both fees and keep borrowing the money for free. Only when the administration donation is included in the transaction does SoLo Funds turn a profit.
“Our borrowers are school teachers… are social workers. When you live in those larger cities with higher costs of living they can’t afford the financial shocks that they could if they lived in Dayton, Ohio,” said the CEO and co-founder Travis Holoway.
Rodney Williams and Travis Holoway, co-founders, began working on the concept in 2015 and officially launched the company in 2017. For months, the pair did not take pay and covered others’ payroll with their own funds.
“It was very hard to continue to operate through that, but we got through,” Williams said in an interview.
Things didn’t go as planned, and the company ran out of money, forcing the platform’s founders to shut it down near the end of 2019. In April 2020, the service was relaunched with a better product and new features, including lender protection. SoLo Funds has grown to nearly 100 employees and has processed over 600,000 loans since then. Members from underserved zip codes accounted for more than 80% of those loans.
“It’s a huge testament to the product we’ve built, that it is actually addressing a real problem,” Williams told in an interview. “The system is somewhat discriminatory or selective, in that it’s extremely expensive to start a financial services company. That cost is a significant barrier to entry for the average American who is the one that needs these financial services. It’s challenging across the board.”
The company has raised multiple funding rounds including $10 million in Series A. Investors like ACME Capital, with support from Impact America Fund, Serena Ventures, Techstars, Endeavor Catalyst, CEAS Investments, and more joined the Series A round. previous investors like West Ventures, Taavet Hinrikus of TransferWise, Jewel Burks Solomon of Google Startups, Zachary Bookman of OpenGov, Richelieu Dennis of Essence Ventures, and tech innovation accelerators also participated. Recently, SoLo Funds landed a seven-figure investment from Serena Ventures and other investors and funds.
“SoLo is transforming the lives of everyday Americans with democratized access to capital and returns that’s truly rooted in community. Community finance is working and SoLo is proof of that,” Serena Williams, Managing Partner at Serena Ventures, said in a news release. “We are proud to stand behind SoLo as it continues growing at an incredible pace and focuses on giving underserved groups and individuals the tools they need to thrive financially.”
What were the slides in the SoLo Funds pitch deck?
Browse the exact example slides from the pitch deck that SoLo Funds used to raise $10M in a Series A round led by ACME Capital and Impact America.
1. Problem Slide
The problem slide is an important part of any pitch deck because it establishes the context and need for the product/solution. This slide should clearly and succinctly communicate the problem that the business is attempting to solve, as well as demonstrate the severity and scope of the problem.
SoLo Funds’ pitch deck’s problem slide is effective with its simplicity and clarity. The slide contains a few key facts that effectively convey the problem of financial exclusion and the impact it has on millions of people. In regards to design, the use of simple graphics and a bold & concise headline reinforces the message and makes the information more digestible.
According to Williams, “We used that template to show how people could relate to the problem and see how our solution was different,”. Simply put, by highlighting the issue of financial exclusion and demonstrating the scale of the problem, SoLo Fund’s problem slide successfully establishes the need for its solution.
2. Product Slides
The product slide provides potential investors with a tangible representation of what the product looks like, how it works, and how it solves the key pain points outlined in the problem slide. A well-executed problem slide can help to build trust and credibility with investors, as it demonstrates the usability and potential for the success of the solution.
The SoLo Funds pitch deck’s product slide features screenshots of the app, demonstrating its simplicity and ease of use. According to Willams: “My favorite slide is the graphic led ‘Borrower Request’ slide. It showcases how simple the SoLo Funds design is, how borrowers have control, and how they set their own terms.” By showing potential investors that the app is user-friendly and easy to navigate, SoLo Funds offers insight into the end-customer’s experience.
Overall, the product slide is a crucial component of a pitch deck, and SoLo Funds effectively showcases their functional and user-friendly app, building investor confidence in the viability and potential success of their proposed solution.
3. Team Slides
A strong and experienced team is a critical factor in the success of any startup, and the team slide provides an opportunity to showcase the skills and expertise of the people at the helm. Additionally, the team slide can help to demonstrate that the team has the relevant skills and experience to execute the proposed solution and navigate any challenges that may arise.
The SoLo Funds pitch deck’s team slide features headshots, names, and titles. The slides also include logos of past companies to communicate the team’s experience and credibility. Despite the importance of the team’s experience, the design and content of this slide need to be kept simple — SoLo Funds does a great job of this.
Overall, the team slide is an important component of any pitch deck, and SoLo Fund’s team slide effectively showcases the experience and expertise of its team. This approach can help to build trust and confidence in the team’s ability to execute and scale the proposed solution, which is critical in securing investment.
How-to create your own pitch deck like SoLo Funds
We hope you learned something from the SoLo Funds pitch deck, and that you are able to use these insights for your own business. If you’d like to, you can bookmark it at bestpitchdeck.com/solofunds
Although it probably goes without saying that having a successful business (outside just their pitch deck) was integral to their success, it is critical for any startup to ensure your vision is portrayed properly. That’s where crafting the perfect pitch deck comes essential:
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