DRAPER — Navigating the world of credit and borrowing is a huge challenge, particularly for small businesses.
Nav is a 7-year-old Utah company dedicated to aiding small businesses in that journey, utilizing a bevy of high-tech data analysis tools. This week, the company announced a $44 million Series C funding round led by investment banking giant Goldman Sachs. The company said the new capital will help accelerate both its product development and market growth efforts.
Nav President Gregg Ott told the Deseret News that, unlike the limited number of loan categories that consumers typically are pursuing, the suite of loan types and financing categories for small businesses are both numerous and come with a panoply of requirements that can be daunting, time-consuming and expensive.
Nav's mission statement is to ease that burden.
"For the average consumer, borrowing money is a much simpler process than for the business owner," Ott said. "Everybody uses roughly the same data, the same FICO score … and the products, like auto loans, mortgages, students loans, are very straightforward.
"When the small-business owner is seeking credit or financing, there are countless business situations and a wide and diverse array of lender products that really complicate the process."
Ott said Nav provides small-business owners with free access to credit reports but also gives them access to a data analysis portal that can match the business' needs with the right kind of lender. The process, Ott explained, leverages Nav's access to all three major credit reporting bureaus, the business credit company Dun and Bradstreet, and information from the businesses themselves and potential lenders in order to find solutions to credit and finance challenges.
Ott said that unlike brokers or lenders, Nav is "solving problems with data and engineering by building intelligent software on top of data." That process, Ott said, makes it dramatically easier for business proprietors to identify the most helpful financial products and, along the way, compresses the time it takes to find those solutions.Comment on this story
Ott said Nav can be particularly helpful to businesses that are working to establish credit, as well as to small companies that may be leaning on the credit histories of owners and principals before the company itself has built a credit history. Since each credit reporting agency gathers a somewhat different set of data on their own, Nav's ability to pull information from multiple sources and crunch that data with an artificial intelligence-driven analysis engine provides a resource that just hasn't been previously available to small businesses, Ott said.
Nav was founded in 2012 and has attracted nearly $100 million in venture funding to date. The company currently employs about 125 and is continuing to expand its operations in Draper and the Bay Area.