We leverage the global reach of social media to enable individuals seeking a loan to unlock the value of the stuff they already own by connecting them with individuals who are willing to loan-to-own.
“It’s like Uber, but for [insert literally anything here]” is a pitch I think we’ve all grown a little tired of hearing and one that’s become a bit of a joke. But it’s (over)used so frequently because saying “It’s like Uber but for…” is a lot easier than saying “My product/platform/idea will completely disrupt an industry and, using social connectedness, will put power in the hands of the people,” which is precisely what Spotchu, like Uber but for pawn, does.
“Spotchu is a patent pending peer-to-peer solution that re-imagines the billion dollar pawn industry and allows for direct, collateral-backed lending by ordinary people around the world,” says Spotchu co-founder Lance Ellsworth. “We leverage the global reach of social media to enable individuals seeking a loan to unlock the value of the stuff they already own by connecting them with individuals who are willing to loan-to-own.”
So let’s say that I own a lot of expensive jewelry (I don’t. Nobody burglarize my home, please) but I’m in a bit of a cash crunch. I don’t necessarily want to sell any of my expensive jewelry because I’m attached to it and things may turn around financially in the near future, but I need some funds to tide me over. With Spotchu I can connect with a peer willing to give me a loan and I can put up, let’s say a diamond necklace, as collateral (again, I do not actually own diamonds, all my accessories are from Target). Once the debtor and I agree on the terms of the loan, Spotchu sends me a UPS label that I use to ship my necklace to their facility where it is inspected and held. If I manage to pay back the loan, Spotchu ships the necklace back to me. If I fail to pay back the loan, Spotchu ships the necklace to my debtor. If I’d rather put up my boat, house, or car as collateral, I send in my title, which Spotchu holds until the loan is completed.
Bryan Ferre, cofounder and CEO of Spotchu, once found himself in need of some money. He called a friend, and promised that if he failed to pay back the money he borrowed, his friend could seize his work station. His friend laughed at the idea of forcefully taking the workstation should Ferre fail to pay and that’s when Ferre realized the world needed a solution to the awkwardness of collecting collateral, as well as a solution to the increasingly dysfunctional banking industry. Spotchu, which charges a flat fee of 9% that covers use of the platform, insurance, and space in the escrow facility, offers that solution.
When asked his goals for the company, Ferre responds with, “just changing the world.” “Banks, over the last forty years have completely gone astray,” Ferre says. “I believe fundamentally that banking and the interchanging of money will change in our lifetimes.”
“People are realizing we don’t need all the institutions to do what we want to do,” Ferre says (re: Uber, Airbnb). “I think we can ultimately change the way people think about borrowing money.”
So it really is like Uber. There’s just no getting around it sometimes.