Education: Bachelor of Arts, English Literature
College: Furman University
- VP of Strategy, Revolution Money - 2008
- Director, Corporate Development, Atlanticus - 2007
- Co-Founder, WorthKnowing.com - 2000
- Strategy Consultant, US Web - 1999
- Founder, Specialty Shops - 1996
Kabbage was the brainchild of Rob Frohwein, an intellectual property lawyer in Atlanta. The year was 2008, and Frohwein was fascinated by the increasing accessibility of data via the cloud, and the use of APIs for real-time access to a business' customer transaction data. Kabbage, Frohwein says, put the two concepts together. Before starting the company, he called Petralia, an expert in credit and payments who was working at a financial services firm. To build Kabbage, they decided to team up with Marc Gorlin, a serial entrepreneur with VC connections.
They realised that in the aftermath of the recession, a lot of banks were reluctant to give out loans to small-and-medium business owners, skeptical of not being paid back. Anyone who wanted a loan had to go through an intensive background check to determine their creditworthiness, and it was almost impossible to get loans in a short span of time. This was a huge blocker for budding entrepreneurs. They decided to change this. In 2009, the three co-founders created a plan to finance Kabbage with venture capital, but were unsuccessful in doing so when they visited California to raise money. Since their service was to provide loans for owners of small and medium businesses, it was imperative that they needed money to start serving customers.
Hence, they raised $500,000 by issuing a convertible note - a form of short-term debt that converts into equity in conjunction with a future financing round. Kabbage used the user's social media accounts, online footprint, and transaction history to check creditworthiness, and grant users fast access to the money. After they hired more employees and leased an office space, they got $1.5 million from a group of 45 angel investors. They made their first 100 small-business loans in 2010. That December, Kabbage closed its first venture round and has since developed relationships with Silicon Valley Bank, Victory Park Capital and now Guggenheim Partners to provide the capital it loans out.
- She once said, "It's important for people who are starting businesses to be experts in their field, and that everybody needs to look to you as the person who knows it all, and not in a negative way."
"There's always a solution to whatever the problem is. Any sort of big challenge you have to break it down to the elements of that problem and ask, what's the one biggest roadblock? You have to prioritize that challenge."