Behalf, a lending startup that originated in Israel and is now based in New York, has closed a $119 million Series B round led by MissionOG. Behalf incorporates a unique short-term lending strategy that makes the service more appealing than banks to small businesses.
Lending startups attracted $1 billion in venture capital in the first half of 2015, more than in all of 2014 and a record since Dow Jones VentureSource started collecting data in 1992. That’s also more than in all of last year, when venture capitalists put $968.7 million into the sector. Since Spark Capital invested in Behalf about two years ago, the market changed in terms of acceptance of online lenders as a legitimate source of funding, with the IPOs of LendingClub and OnDeck Capital helping. “Everybody, including business owners, are waking up to the possibility that they don’t have to work with a bank anymore,” said Santo Politi, a general partner at Spark.