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Here are the full show notes for the Ron Benegbi, CEO and Founder of Uplinq interview:

Title: Ron Benegbi, CEO and Founder of Uplinq: Over $5 Million Raised to Revolutionize Small Business Lending with AI-Powered Credit Scoring

Opening Paragraph: Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Ron Benegbi, CEO and Founder of Uplinq, a credit assessment and scoring platform that leverages alternative data to help small business lenders make more informed decisions. The company has raised over $5 million in funding to date.

Key topics discussed in this episode:

  • Ron’s background as a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits and one significant failure, which taught him the importance of creating win-win partnerships and avoiding one-sided deals.
  • The influence of Steve Jobs and his philosophy of building products that are intuitive and easy to use, even for a ten-year-old child, on Ron’s approach to product development.
  • The impact of the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins on Ron’s leadership style and aspirations, particularly the concept of getting the right people in the right roles to drive company success.
  • Uplinq’s origin story, rooted in Ron’s personal connection to small businesses as the son of immigrant entrepreneurs and his desire to help lenders say “yes” more often by providing empirical evidence and data-driven insights.
  • The company’s unique approach to credit assessment, which goes beyond traditional financial statements and credit bureaus to analyze the entire ecosystem around a small business, including environmental, market, and community data.

Actionable
Takeaways

Leverage proven technology to jumpstart your startup:

Instead of building from scratch, Uplinq repurposed a battle-tested credit assessment platform with over 15 years of data and $1.4 trillion in lending history. This unique starting point enabled them to enter the market with a compelling offering and credibility.

Target a massive, underserved market:

By focusing on providing fair credit access to small businesses, Uplinq is addressing a critical need that has been amplified by the pandemic and economic uncertainty. Identifying and serving a large, underserved market can be a powerful growth driver for startups.

Overcome the "status quo" objection with data:

Uplinq convinces risk-averse lenders to adopt its solution by providing empirical evidence of its accuracy and potential impact on loan approval rates. By demonstrating tangible results within the lenders' existing credit frameworks, the company overcomes resistance to change.

Offer a "try before you buy" approach:

Uplinq performs proof-of-concept analyses on lenders' historical data, demonstrating the value of its platform and making a compelling business case. This approach builds trust, reduces perceived risk, and accelerates the sales process.

Prioritize building the right team:

Ron considers assembling a stable, cohesive team to be the most critical challenge he overcame in the early stages of Uplinq. By focusing on hiring the right people and creating a strong team dynamic, he was able to devote more energy to other aspects of the business.

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