3 min read March 2023 — Bluevine is a fintech company that provides innovative banking solutions and cutting-edge services tailored to small companies. Invest: spoke with Founder and CEO Eyal Lifshitz about recent milestones for the company and the role it plays in New Jersey.
What role does Bluevine’s end-to-end banking solution play in New Jersey’s small-business landscape?
We just moved our headquarters to New Jersey and we’re very excited about that. Planting roots here makes us even more effective in reaching small businesses and being a more central player in providing financial services to that region. We’re a national player but we serve more than 13,000 small businesses in New Jersey. Small businesses are very much underserved by traditional banking institutions across a number of areas, whether that be digital access, financial services or access to capital. This is a good time for us to be able to support small businesses across the country and in the New Jersey area, given the potentially difficult times ahead.
What business types are driving demand for your banking solution and how has that changed over the past year?
The focus for us is serving what we define as non-commercially banked businesses. This can mean different things. A business generating more than $10 million or $20 million in revenue is likely going to be served at large or smaller banks as a commercial customer. However, a smaller business doing $200,000 or $1 million in revenue is mostly served by the branches or by no-name support. It’s a significantly less close relationship with the bank versus a commercial client. We focus on less than $5 million in revenue all the way down to a new business that has no revenue. We also serve across industries. We serve B2B, businesses that serve consumers (B2C) and government contractors. It could be grocery stores, doctors, accountants, lawyers, manufacturers, or HVAC companies. The common denominator is that they’re small. They aren’t served like corporations by the banks. This is the most dramatic opportunity for us to be able to give them the service they deserve.
What led the company to move its headquarters to New Jersey and how will that impact your overall operations?
We’re constantly thinking about the way we operate as we scale and grow as a company. We have about 600 employees today but we’re thinking about our future. This company can be generational and become very significant. The shift to New Jersey is very much connected to our long-term view and to ultimately becoming a public company. While we heavily invest in technology and it is the source of our competitive advantage, we provide financial services. Being close to New York makes sense as it’s the nation’s financial capital and being closer to Washington, D.C. is beneficial for us as we’re dealing more with regulations and compliance. That’s becoming a core part of our business. New Jersey is also a great place to grow our company from a talent perspective. We recently started a partnership with Rutgers University to offer internships to students. We have multiple offices in the United States. The office in New Jersey has become broader in its functions. We have technology, risk and customer support there. We also have underwriters and product management. We’re able to tap into the talent pool and have access to every type of function we need. The fintech ecosystem is continuously growing there as well. That’s also beneficial for us and we’re excited to be a part of that.
How is Bluevine anticipating its clients’ needs in the current economic climate?
The benefits we offer become even more critical and meaningful for small businesses in this type of economy and a potential recession. We offer checking accounts that are very friendly and easy to access online, which connects to the fact that we’re seeing more and more new businesses start. What’s interesting is that more businesses start in a recession. People who were potentially laid off as an employee at a larger company are figuring out what to do. Some decide it’s a good time to start a business. We’re seeing many new businesses form in 2023 and our offering is playing out effectively. We’re a for-profit company but we also think about creating tremendous value. We don’t nickel-and-dime our customers on services we believe are fundamental and basic. We do charge items that are value-add and that small businesses are willing to pay for. We offer checking accounts and have very little fees compared to traditional banks. Small businesses really appreciate this. We offer 2% yield on checking accounts. That’s very unusual in the current market. Most banks don’t offer any interest on checking accounts. Small businesses are thinking about every dollar they spend and how they earn on the balances they have. It’s becoming more top of mind. Providing access to capital is definitely something small businesses are thinking about. They want to have ongoing access to tap into that if they’re seeing some shortfalls in capital for their business. We offer lines of credit connecting to that theme.
What is the outlook for Bluevine and the region over the next three years and how does that inform your priorities going forward?
More companies are realizing New Jersey is a great place for fintech companies. The fintech ecosystem will only grow and strengthen in that region. Making New Jersey our headquarters is reflective of our future view and plan. We’re invested in the region and we’ll continue to grow. We’re passionate about serving small businesses, which make up 50% of the economy. We believe that they deserve better banking that’s built for them. We’re very much on this journey and believe we can create a very large and successful company in this space.
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