Lending Tree has agreed to acquire startup SnapCap in a move to expand its presence in small business loans as it continues diversifying beyond mortgages.
SnapCap provides an online platform that connects business owners with lenders, focusing more on the health of the business rather than on credit scores. LendingTree started its own business loan marketplace in 2014 and believes SnapCap will enable it to scale the small-business loan space.
The acquisition has a potential value of $21 million, with LendingTree paying $12 million in cash upfront. If SnapCap hits certain performance targets over time, it will receive contingent payments of up to $9 million.
SnapCap “provides a quality end-to-end sales experience for customers while delivering high-intent borrowers and superior unit economics for lending partners,” LendingTree CEO Doug Lebda said in a news release. “This transaction is consistent with our strategic plan and recent acquisitions, and we are confident it will help us scale and accelerate our small business channel.”
On news of the deal, LendingTree shares rose nearly 5% to at $246.05 in trading Tuesday. The stock has climbed 176% over the past year.
Charleston, S.C.-based SnapCap, which was founded in 2012, has only 20 employees and annual sales of $7.7 million but it claims to have attracted thousands of clients by accepting smaller loans than traditional banks and offering a decision in a matter of hours.
“We have spent five years building this business and to partner with LendingTree is strong validation of our business model and its unique strengths,” Hunter Stunzi, co-founder of SnapCap, said.
“Since LendingTree first launched its business loan marketplace in 2014, LendingTree has been committed to increasing credit accessibility for small businesses and we share the same vision of simplifying the loan process for business owners,” he added. “We feel confident that this partnership will enable us to capture meaningful market share in the small business loan space and help even more business owners obtain the financing they need.”