Ready, set, invest. By August 31, Lighter Capital will pump $500,000 into a new business no matter how awful the investment opportunity.
The Seattle firm, formerly known as RevenueLoan and operated by Seattle angel investor Andy Sack, just kicked off an unusual competition in which it promises to provide $500,000 to the best company that applies for one of its so-called RevenueLoans.
And, as Sack notes, if just one odd-ball company makes a pitch, it will get the cash.
“What can I say? We love to fund weird companies that make money,” explains Sack, who in addition to serving as CEO of Lighter Capital also oversees TechStars Seattle and Founder’s Co-op.
Lighter Capital is not a venture capital firm. In fact, it targets companies that are generating revenue of more than $1 million and just need an extra boost. It doesn’t take an equity stake as part of its investment, instead agreeing to a fixed percentage of revenues up to a certain cap. (More on how it works here).
In fact, Lighter Capital is more of a rival to traditional banks, which the firm isn’t afraid to poke fun of in its release. They write:
“The unstoppable funding countdown to August 31 might seem crazy to old-school bankers, who have been hiding in their marble offices since the financial crisis started in 2008.”
Sack and crew have shown a willingness to back the unusual. Past investments include a maker of goat milk ice cream and Tomato Battle, a Seattle startup that’s organizing events around the country in which people toss tomatoes at one another. Since 2010, it has pumped $1.1 million into companies.
“We’re putting half a million bucks out there this month — come hell or high water,” notes Randall Lucas, a former venture capitalist who serves as vice president of Lighter Capital. “If the banks aren’t going to fund awesome, growing companies, we will.”
Lucas said that the terms of the investment will be negotiable, but it will likely be a pretty standard deal. For Lighter Capital, that typically means single-digit percentage of revenue, usually two to six percent, and a multi-year payback period, usually three to five years.