From success to struggle then booming success again, the exciting entrepreneurial journey of Matthew Cohen and his company, Noble Funding

From success to struggle then booming success again, the exciting entrepreneurial journey of Matthew Cohen and his company, Noble Funding

Matthew Cohen and his company, Noble Funding, share a long history of riding the peaks and valleys of American entrepreneurialism. Noble Funding provides working capital and expansion capital for companies with $3 million to $250 million in annual revenue. Financing a company properly can make or break its very existence. The ideal debt structure of a well-advised company can smooth out cash flow, aid expansion efforts, and keep interest expense low. The less interest a business pays out to its lenders, the more profit falls to its bottom line.

Many business owners are not financial experts, so they come to Noble Funding for their experience and tailored debt solutions. The company’s clients may be experts in their own field of business, but how would they know the debt markets?  Which lenders are being aggressive and when?  How to leverage assets and cash flow to ensure they have the ideal lender partnering with them? Noble Funding has, for the last 17 years, positioned itself to assist in this domain by working in the debt markets every day. The funding they offer can be asset-based or cash-flow based and senior secured or subordinated. Sometimes, both can be combined.  

A prime real-life example is how Mr. Cohen helped a commercial cleaning business from California. According to Matthew, “ The business owner’s first words were, ‘I know you can’t help me.’  He was saddled with too much short-term, high-interest debt.  After taking the time to fully analyze the business, its current debt, its assets and cash flow, my company was able to provide a revolving line of credit on A/R with an interest-only payment.  This would speed up cash flow and when you eliminate short-term debt with high payments and refinance with interest-only payments and a low rate - it’s a very powerful result.  Noble also provided a 3-year term loan with a monthly payment for additional working capital and his business was saved.  Without Noble Funding’s efforts, that business would have had a difficult time surviving any meaningful downturn.”   

Credit: Noble Funding

From 2005 until the financial crisis in 2009, the company only used a network of banks to fund its clients.  “Right before the financial crisis, I said to my father at the time: Dad, I don’t think Noble is always going to do this well. My father said: what are you worried about? That the banks are going to stop lending money?  Unfortunately, for all of us during that period of time, that is precisely what happened. The banks stopped lending money to most businesses”, states Matthew Cohen, President of Noble Funding.  

During that period, Noble Funding went from funding 20-25 companies per month and then flatlined at zero for several months.  The company was essentially out of business even though it was still open every day. Mr. Cohen states, “I had two choices - close the business and enter another industry or re-build Noble Funding from the ground up, diversifying our product offerings so if one pool of capital dried up, we could switch clients to a different pool of capital.  I chose the latter.” 

During the financial crisis, Noble Funding turned first to asset-based lenders, both bank and non-bank lenders.  These groups lend on accounts receivable (A/R), inventory, machinery, equipment, and sometimes real estate.  After learning about the lenders in that business segment, Mr. Cohen was fortunate enough to close a $15 million credit facility for an importer of guar gum powder, which is an essential ingredient for oil well fracking.  Since then, Noble has funded other large transactions for $18 million, $20 million, and $35 million, respectively. 

According to Mr. Cohen, “Our main business today is providing quick turn-around junior debt. Most of our clients have a line of credit at their bank, but when they need $250,000-$2,000,000, their bank is either unwilling or unable to extend them more credit, especially in a timely manner.  That’s where we come in”.  

Noble Funding has two subordinated, or junior debt options.  The first is their BankLite program.  BankLite refers to a 5-year term loan up to $500,000 with a monthly payment and no prepayment penalties.  Annual interest rates start at 8.99%.  The rates on these loans are fixed, which is advantageous when benchmark interest rates are pushing higher.  This product takes about one week to fund, but never more than two weeks.  

The second product offering is junior debt with terms in the 12-24 month range.  This product can be funded in just 2-3 business days.  The funding can be completely unsecured.  There are no UCC filings on corporate assets and no true personal guarantee.  Amounts are typical $250,000 all the way up to $5,000,000.   

Post-financial crisis, Noble Funding proved nimble enough to learn the world of asset-based lending while waiting for cash-flow-based lending to return.  The end result for Noble Funding’s clients is that they now have a one-stop shop for all their corporate finance needs.  “We know that being a business owner, a CEO, or a CFO can at times be a wild ride and it’s our pleasure to make their jobs easier when it comes to procuring the very best expansion capital for their enterprises,” concluded Matthew Cohen.  

 

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