This week, we're focusing on one of our own — our Director of Business Development, Len Losquadro.
Len was recently selected to serve on the Commercial Finance Association's (CFA) National Young Professionals Committee. Learn more about the Committee, here. We thought we would take this opportunity to introduce Len and his background.
Len grew up in Suffolk County, NY and has spent his whole life in and around small and middle market businesses. The seeds of his entrepreneurial roots were planted early on, as both of his parents ran successful businesses of their own. He continued to foster his interest in finance and small business by attending Syracuse University and graduating with B.S.B.A in Finance, Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises. Len started his career at FGI Finance, a well-known financing company that offered asset-based loans, receivables financing, invoice discounting, and factoring on a global scale. There, he was responsible for structuring cross-border financing solutions for multinational companies. After FGI, Len joined North Mill Capital, a growing finance company, where he was a VP of Business Development responsible for originating and executing ABL and factoring transactions.
Below, we took some time to ask Len a few questions about what has lead him to this point in his career.
How did you get started in the industry?
I entered the workforce in one of the toughest labor markets. In 2010, the unemployment rate was approximately 10%, and there was little to celebrate in the overall economy. I was fortunate to find a position in the banking and finance industry. I joined a company called FGI Finance, a global finance company, as an associate. FGI provided me with an exciting opportunity to learn about the capital constraints faced by small and middle market companies. After executing a few transactions, it became apparent to me that supporting the growth of SMEs was going to be a lifelong passion for me.
What brings you to The Credit Junction?
There was a shift occurring in the lending industry, which was moving away from the SME market. Securing financing was becoming more difficult for founder and family-owned companies across the country. The Credit Junction was building a team to take on this shift and apply a technological approach in order to fill a pressing market need. It was a unique opportunity to be a part of the foundation of the business development team for such a transformational business. After meeting Michael Finkelstein (CEO of The Credit Junction) and hearing his vision for a data-driven asset-based lending platform focused on the lower-middle market, I was sold.
You’re among the more tenured TCJ employees and have seen the company grow significantly. How would you describe your experience here thus far?
You make me sound old. Yes, I was TCJ’s 15th employee, and have been fortunate to play a role in the company's growth plan. When I first arrived on the scene, TCJ wasn’t a well-known brand in the market. We felt like the underdog and this “underdog attitude” certainly fueled our team. By executing on our promise to deliver quick, flexible lending solutions to the lower-middle market, we have been able to build a good reputation within the marketplace and with our affiliate partners.
TCJ was built by a collection of former business owners and operators. We know what it means to do more with less. I think this understanding has helped us connect with our target audience. We are able to keep their needs at the forefront of everything that we do, each step of the way.
Our firm has come a long way, as we have now made more of a name for ourselves. I think this is directly attributable to our people and culture. Working in a truly entrepreneurial environment with high-caliber people has made this experience so enjoyable. I look forward to seeing where TCJ goes next.
What are some of the main challenges for you?
Being in a business development position comes with its fair share of challenges. Currently, a focus is keeping a pulse on this market. The alternative lending landscape has been in a constant state of flux over the past few years; new entrants, legacy lender acquisitions, platform failures, regulation oversight. It is imperative to build on our understanding of the market space, all the while maintaining our course and staying true to our mission.
How do affiliates help you in your day-to-day role? What do you look for in an affiliate partner?
I spend most of my time interacting with our affiliate network, which consists of investment banks, loan advisors, accountants, lawyers and other professional service providers across the United States. Building strong relationships with our affiliate partners is critical to our success. I often attend industry conferences hosted by associations such as the Commercial Finance Corporation (CFA) or Association for Corporate Growth (ACG). Both associations have given me a platform to expand my professional network.
A good affiliate is a good partner. That might sound simple, but in our industry, there are unexpected challenges on every transaction and the process is often a journey. When “on-boarding” an affiliate, I try to give as much perspective on The Credit Junction’s lending criteria as possible and managing expectations clearly. This is to eliminate as many “No” responses as possible. I do not want to waste their time, nor do I want to waste my time. The quicker we can develop the understanding of our lending parameters, the easier it is for me to offer financing solutions to their clients.
Len will be contributing as part of our regular blog series, look out for more contributions from him.