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Car trouble? Sunbit raises $26M to finance emergency expenses on the spot

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BY BRIAN NORDLI

If your car breaks down or your pet needs emergency surgery, odds are the bill is going to come with some shock. And that’s where the difficult choices begin.

Most people, especially those living paycheck to paycheck, can’t afford to drop thousands of dollars in emergency expenses. That leaves applying for some kind of loan, but it can be difficult to get approval for credit, and predatory loans can bury people in a deeper financial pit.

“Our mission is to help people get the most out of their money, and there’s a vision here to help Americans around the country get the things they want.”

Sunbit aims to provide another outlet. Based in Los Angeles, the fintech company works with brick-and-mortar businesses like auto repair shops to provide their customers with a selection of personalized payment plans. On Wednesday, the company received a boost to those efforts, announcing the close of a $26 million Series B round.

The company plans to use the round to expand its services into more retail markets, including automotive services, dental, eyewear and veterinary services, said Tal Riesenfeld, co-founder and VP of sales at Sunbit.

“We’re still in the first inning,” Riesenfeld told Built In. “Our mission is to help people get the most out of their money, and there’s a vision here to help Americans around the country get the things they want. Our opportunity here is huge, and there’s more room to scale. We now have the runway we need to keep on executing and growing.”

Sunbit launched in 2016 with the goal of rewriting the in-store financing experience for customers across the credit spectrum. To do so, the company devised a machine learning algorithm that only requires a person to provide a state-issued ID, phone number and email address. The platform then accesses a person’s financial history and churns out a selection of personalized financing options, Riesenfeld said.

The process takes less than 30 seconds, according to the company, and works on purchases up to $5,000 that can be split into three-, six- or 12-month payment plans. Sunbit provides retailers with a tablet to run the application process.

“We’re building a payment alternative,” Riesenfeld said. “We have a process that in 30 seconds approves 90 percent of people, which is a game changer.

Sunbit is currently offered in more than 1,500 retail locations across 40 states, according to the company. With this round, the company plans to expand into all 50 states and grow across all teams. The company currently employs more than 100 people, with about 50 in its Los Angeles headquarters.

Zeev Ventures led the round, with participation from existing investors Group 11, Chicago Ventures and more.

View the original article on Built in LA at this link.

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