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A Thing A Bigger Thing

Friday, April 27, 2018

Sold-out Broker Fair debuts May 14 in Brooklyn

B rokers, lenders, funders and service providers will convene in Brooklyn, New York, for Broker Fair 2018. The one-day event will be held May 14, 2018, at The William Vale, a boutique hotel in Brooklyn's Williamsburg district. Event organizer Sean Murray, publisher and editor-in-chief at deBanked, an industry trade publication, said the event is specially curated for merchant cash advance (MCA) and unsecured small business lending professionals.

"I've been to a lot of fintech and alternative lending conferences, where MCA might get a shout-out in a single panel discussion, but there has never been an MCA-themed event," Murray stated. "MCA has been around for 20 years; AdvanceMe was founded in 1998 and is now CAN Capital. The industry that has taken care of underserved markets has also been underserved."

Broker Fair's industry-focused agenda will cover all aspects of MCA, from marketing and SEO optimization to syndication, software demonstrations, regulatory issues and business development strategy, Murray said. Its sponsors, panelists and speakers represent a cross-section of industry leaders and brands, including keynote speaker Ryan Serhant, real estate expert, television star of Bravo's One Million Dollar Listing New York and author of Sell It Like Serhant: How to Sell More, Earn More and Become the Ultimate Selling Machine.

The Green Sheet's supporting role

Murray acknowledged The Green Sheet's role in raising awareness of MCA growth in the merchant community. He cited an October 2005 article from issue 05:10:01, titled Merchant cash advances open doors, which described MCAs as "a great point of entry for new business as well as an additional revenue stream" for ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs).

The authors noted merchant cash advances can provide small and midsize merchants with fast access to working capital. "Some critics say [MCA sector] growth is because traditional banks are not meeting the needs of small businesses that might have few material assets but healthy receivables, mostly pledged through credit card debt," the authors wrote.

"The Green Sheet helped coin the term 'merchant cash advance' and 'MCA' acronym, when we were searching for an industry name," Murray added. "I don't know if The Green Sheet can take all the credit, but the authors definitely contributed. They said it's about time we start to recognize this as an industry because these products have been around for a long time."

Dedicated to brokers, MLSs

Reflecting on MCA's meteoric rise, Murray said the industry was born out of payments and remains payments oriented, despite its divergence from split funding into ACH product offerings. "I'm not sure how many Broker Fair attendees are still involved with payments, but I think we may see a coming back party," he said. "Square and PayPal have shown that split processing still works."

Noting that Broker Fair 2018 sold out relatively quickly and has a lengthy waiting list, Murray said he will likely plan a larger venue next year. For now, he remains focused on the upcoming event and the ultimate goal, which is to foster education in the broker community. The term broker is synonymous with MLS, he said, but more related to financing than the payments side.

"Ultimately, we didn't want to make this a conference for CEOs," he said. "We want to celebrate the brokers who are on the frontlines selling the products, to inspire them to do better and educate them at the same time."


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