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Founders Everywhere: Neha Govindraj
Neha Govindraj is the founder & CEO of Bonside, the future of brick-and-mortar financing.
Welcome to Founders Everywhere, where we highlight the incredible people behind the companies we’ve backed at Everywhere Ventures, a global pre-seed fund supported by a community of 500 founders and operators.
Brick-and-mortar businesses play a crucial role in the economic landscape of America, serving as the physical pillars of every community. Yet, the financing options tailored to this sector are limited and fragmented. Bonside revolutionizes financing for the rising class of multi-unit concepts so they can scale without giving up equity or putting up collateral.
Prior to Bonside, Neha Govindraj co-founded Glowbar in New York where she witnessed firsthand the inadequacy of financing options designed for non-tech sectors. These businesses are often either influenced to take on Venture Capital, which demands unrealistic hockey stick growth, or string together bank loans, merchant cash advances, and equipment financing. Bonside solves this by offering a financial product called the Repeatable Revenue Agreement, providing capital in exchange for a percentage of revenue rather than a percentage of the business, and serving as growth partners to the concepts they back.
What is Bonside’s Northstar?
At Bonside, we aim to elevate the brick-and-mortar industry. We’re starting by ensuring the sector has easy-to-access and value-additive capital via our Repeatable Revenue Agreement (RRA). Our ultimate purpose is to build a comprehensive platform that caters to the entire financial ecosystem of brick and mortar businesses.
What sets Bonside apart from competitors?
While we have technical competitors in the financing space between traditional bank loans, merchant cash advances and equipment loans, we are the first to be purpose-built for brick-and-mortar. This comes to life through our first-of-its-kind asset class, our commitment to follow-on financings and our robust roadmap beyond financing.
Tell us about some recent milestones.
We've been operating in beta the past few months and have deployed nearly $2 million in capital across six different deals. We've built a private accredited investor marketplace of about 200 people that participate in deals as they come live in conjunction with a fund for larger investors.
Most recently, we just announced our $4.35m in equity financing.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
I would say education. We're bringing a new financial product to market and it’s natural for customers to ask, “Can I trust this? Why is it good for me?” It’s important that we help them understand why our solution is designed the way it is and how it can benefit them. When people get the why and the how, we see an immediate shift in comfort, and it never comes up again.
And favorite podcasts or books?
I love Lenny's Podcast and newsletter. The podcast is easy, digestible content so it doesn't feel like work when you're listening.
I’ve been reading The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin every morning, and I think every entrepreneur should start their day with it. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of the day-to-day, but we all have a creative side in us that sparked the initial idea; this book helps me reconnect with that.
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