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Exclusive: E-commerce lender SellersFi secures Citi-led credit facility

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Dec 13, 2023
Illustration of a shopping cart icon full of money.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SellersFi, which provides financial tools and working capital to e-commerce merchants, has secured up to $300 million in a credit facility from Citi and Fasanara Capital, the company tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Despite the current interest rate environment, big banks see an opportunity to extend credit to SMB lenders.

Details: Citi will act as senior lender on the new credit facility, with Fasanara retaining the mezzanine loan.

  • The credit facility starts at $135 million and can grow to as much as $300 million.
  • Citi also made an undisclosed equity investment in SellersFi, as part of a round that included participation from MUFG Innovation Partners, Fasanara and Northzone.
  • With the latest deal, the startup has raised $65 million in equity financing since being founded.

Context: SellersFi (fka SellersFunding) began by building a credit model that relies mostly on marketplace and e-commerce sales data to underwrite working capital loans for merchants.

  • Over time it added other tools, including an analytics platform to optimize business performance and a buy now, pay later option merchants can extend to customers.
  • In its push into payments, SellersFi has also launched a prepaid business card and digital wallet that its merchants can use to pay suppliers.

Between the lines: SellersFi was founded in 2016, which was a very different time for e-commerce lenders (and borrowers).

  • Then the company's main competition was Amazon Lending, according to CEO Ricardo Pero.
  • "But with Amazon Lending, you cannot apply for a loan, you need to be invited to their program. ... So they leave a lot of folks out."

Zoom out: Now there's more competition in the space, but interest rate hikes and supply chain issues have combined to make working capital for merchants more important than ever.

  • "Some clients of course are not happy with the repricing of some of our loans," Pero says. "[But] for our customers, the logistics crisis has had a major impact compared to higher rates."
  • At the same time that consumer demand went soft, storage costs increased, he says. "So they had to deal with more inventory than they predicted, and that has put some extra pressure on margins."

What's next: With the new funding secured, SellersFi plans to launch additional financial tools in 2024, including an FDIC-insured business checking account, business debit and credit cards, and insurance.

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