Soros backs N.Y.C.-based fintech startup Behalf


Billionaire business magnate George Soros set his sights on a local fintech startup.

The investor's hedge fund, known for buying up — and dumping — stocks in major companies like Apple Inc. and Snap Inc., provided $150 million in debt financing to small-business lender Behalf.

Viola Credit also participated in the effort.

This makes Behalf the latest acquisition for Soros Fund Management, also based in New York. The firm most recently increased its shares in semiconductor company Sigma Designs by 136.2 percent.

With Behalf, Soros is hoping to disrupt the burgeoning payment market by assessing the credit worthiness of small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that tend to get overlooked by traditional banks.

New York-based Behalf partners with sellers to offer their customers flexible financing at the point of sale. Behalf founder and CEO Benjy Feinberg praised the funding round for allowing the startup to bolster its e-commerce capabilities.

“This is a significant step forward for Behalf," Feinberg said. "This funding allows us to expand our fast-growing e-commerce B2B financing platform and enhance our ability to provide the best business terms to customers, in a fraction of the time of a traditional business lender.”

Behalf aims to help sellers implement or expand e-commerce capabilities, close more deals, increase average order value, and de-risk themselves from the collections process. In turn, their small business customers get increased purchasing power and more time to pay.

The Behalf "buyer-seller solution" solves for the $2.6 trillion financing gap among SMBs, according to the company.

“We believe Behalf’s technology and acquisition channel will change the landscape of business lending,” said Viola partner Uri Galai. “Behalf understands that the buyer-seller relationship has changed, and is providing an unparalleled solution to the increased demands from vendors and their customers seeking financing. We are excited to join Behalf in its next stage of growth.