With Small Businesses Being Left To Fend For Themselves, Close Guidance Is Needed, Says REIL CAPITAL co-founder Evan Samlin

With Small Businesses Being Left To Fend For Themselves, Close Guidance Is Needed, Says REIL CAPITAL co-founder Evan Samlin

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses were left to fend for themselves when it came to seeking out sources of funding; these two NYC millennials found a way to cut that process in half.

When New York City shut down because of the harsh effects the COVID-19 pandemic brought upon its streets, over 333,000 New Yorkers left the silenced city since the onset of the virus back in March 2020.

Many business executives described this mass evacuation as a “never seen before” movement with close to 700,000 city residents requesting a change of address from the U.S. Postal Service between March and November.

According to USPS data obtained by CBS2, approximately half of those residents—359,318 moved within the five boroughs, but the other half--333,386 left entirely, moving to Long Island, New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut, and surprisingly, California.

Even with New York reopening, many residents continue to struggle with the upcoming foreclosure moratorium, which is set to expire June 30 of this month. For those borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30, 2020, they will be provided up to six months of additional mortgage payment forbearance, in three-month increments.

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted immediately, as 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series.

"What New York has done is extraordinary. Not only do we have the lowest COVID positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70 percent vaccination ahead of schedule. We successfully deployed the weapon that will win the war, and New York led the nation," Governor Cuomo said.

Takes One to Know One...

Now that Manhattan and neighboring cities have started to reopen, and former residents returning, there are some New York-born and bred residents who never left, looking to help struggling businesses and entrepreneurs stay afloat and not panic—particularly when it comes to obtaining safe, secure, and expedient funding products.

Even prior to the pandemic, what we have noticed among and between funding agencies, was the volume of short-term issues that prevented small businesses from smooth operations.

For example, local pizzerias addressing broken ovens; shipping companies having trucks break down; and projects continuing to pop up for contractors, where they are paid on the back-end and unable to afford the supplies. Without access to quick working capital, many small businesses could not operate as seamlessly as they do today.

“The pandemic tested the foundation of every company in America,” said Evan Samlin, President and co-founder of REIL Capital. “As revenues dropped across the country, there was an immediate need for capital to help them get through the hurdle.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic being a major factor driving a business’ decision to pursue working capital, many businesses found themselves in a short-term cash crunch, were waiting three months to negotiate a term sheet just wasn’t feasible (or practical). To an average business owner, a 150-page term sheet and having to negotiate with hedge funds, private equity, and venture capitalist firms can be extremely overwhelming.

Over the course of the past four years, Evan and Ian Samlin, two millennial New York City natives secured over $70MM in funding, helping to provide funding for small businesses throughout the United States, beginning with Manhattan.

Cousin Ian (age 27) and Evan Samlin (age 28) are the co-founders of REIL Capital, who at their age, have quickly become leaders in the working capital and private funding space, despite being under 30.

With valuable partnerships such as OnDeck Capital, a global online small business lending company in the United States, with offices in New York, Arlington, Virginia, Denver, Colorado, Toronto and Montreal in Canada, and Sydney, Australia, the Samlin cousins help their clients navigate finding a fair and honest business funder by serving as matchmakers to small businesses.

The two millennial business owners have certainly taken a stand amidst a global pandemic, fighting to continue empowering small businesses (despite the 300,000 people who picked up and left) by providing easily accessible financing through a customer-centric approach.

Ian, a New York native, has lived in New York his entire life, while his cousin, Evan, a New Jersey native, moved to New York after graduating college.

After four failed CRM integrations, numerous dead-end lead vendors crashed phone systems, and an accidental $11,000 wire to the wrong company, the Samlin cousins adopted their family mantra, believing times of adversity to show one’s true colors and what a business really is made of.  REIL Capital was born from Ian and Evan entering the fix and flip sector of real estate financing only to later pivot to helping provide businesses with working capital.

“That’s where REIL Capital came into play,” Evan explained. “While a private equity firm would often ask for audited financials, executive resumes, a pitch deck, and a business plan—all REIL Capital requires is a two-minute application filled out and three months of bank statements.”

These applications, according to Samlin, are secure and compliant. “REIL Capital complies with local and state laws, such as the New York Small Business Truth in Lending Law,” Evan told Benzinga.

Acting as a liaison between the small business and the appropriate funder(s), REIL doesn’t actually “fund the deal”, but instead, serve as the ultimate matchmakers, helping to educate clients every step of the way, beginning with the introduction all the way through the terms of the funding application and payment.

Educating today’s average millennial consumer is something many companies in the funding space won’t do. “They land the sale and leave the small businesses to fend for themselves; that’s not how we operate,” Evan told Benzinga.

Specifically, REIL takes a percentage commission for being the middleman paid by the funder, while making the match between small businesses, entrepreneurs, and financing companies. The more leads the company curates through marketing efforts, the more revenue it generates. “That’s how we keep growing--marketing lists, email campaigns, social retargeting, and lead gen campaigns--all of which help us find businesses who need help and we take it from there.”

He went on to add that they’ve even “implemented several internal processes that help determine who is a good fit for [its] clients, before ever making the introduction to the funder(s).”

At the onset of 2021, Evan and Ian partnered with local chambers of commerce to provide 200,000 masks to small businesses across Manhattan for free. “After our business recovered we wanted to give back to the community and our goal was to help local businesses open back up. That’s why we decided to donate these masks to businesses around New York City.”

The result of this, Samlin says, was a partnership with the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce. “This would ensure that small businesses would have the resources to open up quicker and get back to operating safely. We got to shake hands, greet and encourage business owners face to face while providing them with masks to help them get through the pandemic.”

A Message to Millennial Business Owners

At the end of the day, Evan encourages other Millennial owners to be proactive when it comes to managing their expenses.

“You need to properly manage your expenses compared to revenue, and keep a savings of emergency cash on hand in case something goes wrong. In order to receive high-quality financing, it is important to keep a strong balance in your bank account and you don’t want to be paying unnecessary overdraft fees that add up very quickly. If situations arise where your extra capital on hand isn’t enough, it's good to know that there are companies like REIL Capital that can help.”

For those wanting to start their own ventures, but lack the confidence to do so, it begins with your circle of trust:

...surround yourself with good people,” Evan added. “Jim Rohn once said, ‘you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with’, and I think this is particularly true for business owners. When starting a business it is important to surround yourself with lawyers, accountants and other working professionals to get as much free advice as possible. Without the help from friends, family, and industry connections that we made, REIL Capital would have never been possible. As your business grows it is important to constantly be networking so that you can bring on top talent in key positions.”

Posted In: contributorsEvan SamlinSmall BusinessReal Estate