Growing up with parents in the construction industry, young entrepreneur George Pu is all too familiar with the pain points contractors face daily, such as not getting paid on time and demanding work schedules and hours.
After moving from China to Canada, he noticed a whole new set of challenges specific to new businesses in construction, many founded by immigrant and lower-income families, including not being able to offer financing or buy now pay later, which costs them hundreds of thousands a year in sales to the biggest regional contractors.
“My roommate’s dad was a new immigrant in the construction industry. He was having a hard time finding a job due to language barriers, so he was looking into independent contracting to provide for his family,” said George. “Unfortunately, small businesses or self-employed contractors are often unable to offer financing options to their clients undergoing large projects in the amounts of tens of thousands, making unable to compete with the top 1% contractors.”
In 2020, while studying CS and business, George met his Co-Founder Sahil Hotwani, who shared George's love of entrepreneurship. George and Sahil became determined to find a solution that would empower self-employed contractors and small business owners the ability to gain clients, for the smaller clients to put food on the table for their families, and for their bigger clients to scale millions more each year in revenue.
Together, they founded SimpleDirect – a buy now pay later solution for small and medium-sized home improvement businesses in Canada and the US.
“We enable these businesses to offer buy now pay later options,” said Sahil, “Without SimpleDirect, 99.5% of the organizations would be unable to offer financing solutions due to legal restrictions, compliance issues, and lenders refusing to work with them.”
Developed from their college dorm room, SimpleDirect is revolutionizing the financial landscape for business owners. Shortly after discovering the business idea, George and Sahil enrolled in the AC:Incubate program to gain insights on developing the platform to fit the needs of the market, growing the team sustainably, and validating the product. Customers took to the platform instantly and SimpleDirect began scaling rapidly.
Currently, there are more than 15 different lending partners on the SimpleDirect platform who have agreed to work with small to medium-sized businesses to provide flexible financing options. The company has more than 250 active customers and 17 employees. To date, SimpleDirect has processed over 95 million US dollars in loans - making SimpleDirect one of the top buy now pay later companies in North America.
“We are finally in a place to scale our business as well as our offerings,” said Sahil. “With our recent partnerships announced agreements with 17 solar and roofing associations in the United States and Canada, we are able to scale our home-improvement offerings to the fullest. We also just announced our healthcare and dental offerings, and we are super excited for the next 12 months for SimpleDirect!”
Join us on October 26th to meet the founders and to learn more about their amazing companies as they graduate from AC:Incubate! We're looking forward to celebrating with you as we add 6 more outstanding companies to the wall and launch our newest alumni into the next phase of their successful startup journey.