Eyal Levy is the founder and CEO of Banana Exchange. Banana Exchange is a factoring company that provides capital to Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) funding companies. Currently he is a mentor in the Harvard Business School Entrepreneurship Program.
Banana Exchange – Eyal’s Website
Eyal’s Email – Reach out to Eyal via email – or directly via cell: 917-916-7788
3 Value Bombs
1) Be patient. There are so many obstacles in creating something new. Only those who have the stamina to continue will succeed.
2) As entrepreneurs, it’s our duty to help other entrepreneurs shine.
3) Every child that was born today all over the world has the potential of becoming an entrepreneur. But, the system we live in prohibits most of them from becoming one.
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Factoring Expert with Eyal Levy.
[1:55] – Eyal shares something about being successful that most people disagree with.
- Many people believe that in order to be successful, you only need passion for good ideas. In reality, we need much more. Passion is not enough. To be successful you also need determination, focus, and patience.
- The amount of rejection that one gets from new ideas is enormous. If one doesn’t believe in his or her idea more than 100%, it simply won’t work.
[4:39] – How were you chosen to be a mentor at the Harvard Business School of Entrepreneurship?
- Every child that was born today all over the world has the potential of becoming an entrepreneur. But, the system we live in prohibits most of them from becoming one.
- Get ahold of the keys, release the handcuffs, allow your brain to think without restrictions, and feel free to go with any idea or thought you may have. Take your dreams to the limit.
[7:39] – Eyal shares how he started his career.
- He started as an electronic engineer, marketing electronics warfare, and counter-intelligence systems in the intelligence community in the United States such as CIA, FBI, etc.
- He was approached by a CIA agent to partner with him in a startup company to sell equipment to third world countries.
- The new government owed the CIA agent $230,000, and they thought that there may be someone who could advance them some money until the government paid them. This is when they were told about ‘factoring’.
- Factoring is a form of financing that allows a company to receive cash now against future payments of their receivables.
- He started his business and his first client was the CIA agent who went on to create his own business.
[14:38] – A business that we both know and love is what we need to be creating. How do we accomplish this in life?
- Eyal was able to develop a software program that allowed him to control and monitor his clients’ receivables in a way that minimizes his losses to zero.
- During the world financial crisis in 2008, banks worldwide ceased funding to specialty finance companies and other cashflow providers.
[18:41] – Eyal talks about Banana Exchange.
- Before Banana Exchange, he launched another niche in 2008. Art dealers were losing opportunities, and they couldn’t obtain financing. He developed Platinum Art to capitalize and develop a new product of factoring for art dealers.
- Eyal launched Banana Exchange and designed it to take advantage of a new market condition. He saw a new niche and identified several opportunities, then designed a unique software platform to create a marketplace.
- Banana Exchange serves as a one-stop shop where MCA funders get funding when they need it to grow their business.
[25:05] – Eyal’s key takeaway and call to action.
- Be patient. There are so many obstacles in creating something new. Only those who have the stamina to continue will succeed.
- Banana Exchange – Eyal’s Website
- Eyal’s Email – Reach out to Eyal via email or directly via cell: 917-916-7788
What's shaken fire nation, JLD here with an audio master class with a factoring expert, Eyal Levy. And it'll all make sense as this conversation continues for fire nation. Eyal is the founder and CEO of banana exchange. Banana exchange is a factoring company that provides capital to merchant cash, advance MCA funding companies. Currently he's a mentor in the Harvard business school entrepreneurship program and fire nation. Today, we'll be talking about what is it like to be a mentor in that Harvard business school entrepreneurship program, and why was Eyal chosen, how he started his career, which is super fascinating.
And he talks about some really cool things. And we're talking about creating a business from what you know, fire nation and also from what you love and so much more when we get back from thinking hours, sponsors Flippa is the world's leading marketplace to buy and sell digital real estate, including websites, e-commerce stores, SAS, businesses, apps, and other online businesses get access to a free instant valuation plus insights on how to improve scalability for your business at flippa.com/fire Eyal say what's up the fire nation. And what's something that you believe about becoming successful that most people disagree.
1 (1m 22s):
Many people believe that in order to be successful, you need only passion for a good idea, but in reality, ASIN is one missing ingredient, but it's not enough in order to be a real successful. I believe you need passion for the idea that's obvious and determination, focus, and patience, most successful people who have them in any business idea. There are many obstacles. One has to overcome. It's not easy to create something new, you know, especially if you're the first thing that field over the course of my life.
1 (2m 6s):
It's great for three companies in the factoring business, which is a form of financing. Each company was unique and the first of its kind in the field, one gets from new ideas, these enormous. And if one doesn't believe in his or her idea, more than a hundred percent, it's simply one work in any new ideas. First, you have to educate the market, which is very hard to speak at are always suspicious of anything new. Then you have to persuade the investors and the people around you and the list goes on and on.
1 (2m 47s):
You'll always feel you're going uphill. And most of the times you'll be alone. And the loneliness is very hard to accept. As time goes on, you'll get more experienced and then it becomes easier. And you learn to build on and fix your mistakes from the negative remarks along the way, you'll be enriched for Capricorns like me. It is natural because we are used to it. It's always an uphill battle for us
0 (3m 18s):
That I want to focus on throughout this entire interview fire nation. But the one thing I want to pull out about what Eyal just said is patients. I mean, all of them were brilliant, but patients, it is such, it is something that today I see more than ever people just don't have. And it seems like the younger, the generation, the less of the patients, I have so many people all the time coming up and saying, Hey, John, like, I've been doing this for two months and I'm not seeing any returns on this thing, any success. And I'm like, it's been two months. Where's your patience. Where's your persistence. Where's your tenacity. You've got to keep at that thing. Fire nation. So in doing some research on Eyal, I saw that you were chosen to be a mentor at the Harvard business school of entrepreneurship.
0 (4m 3s):
I mean, this is top of the top. Why were you chosen?
1 (4m 8s):
I was invited to become a mentor at Harvard business school interpreters and entrepreneurial program. During 2017, I felt honor as a professor there recognized and identified the intrepreneur in me after thinking, well, my lifestyle on my, on my initial lecture, introduction lecture, I, I approached the project as I was approaching the podium and right away after I presented myself, a student raised their hand and asked me who is an entrepreneur. Although I had my lecture plan, I wanted to follow up with the students. I had to improvised and said, without hesitation, every child that was born today, all over the world has the potential of becoming an entrepreneur.
1 (4m 57s):
But the system will live in prohibits. Most of them to become one. Why, because of all the barriers that society puts in front of us, when the baby was born, starts to crawl at home, touching, breaking things. The parents say, don't do that. Then these babies go through nursery and school and their approach daily by new regulations of what they could or could not do. Then that continues when they grow and enroll in through universities. And then it lasts. Even when they get married, they feel the rules are filed on them.
1 (5m 40s):
The handcuffs are placed on their hands and brains is in addition to the rules will be imposed on their lives. They're directed in boxed into what they can do is fact of life interferes. And some, sometimes the sabers, the independence and free thoughts of many of us. So my advice to you, all I said to the group is right now, get the hold of the keys. And I threw the keys to them, release the handcuffs and allow your brain to think without restrictions, feel free to go with any ideas you may have, even if it seems ridiculous or unrealistic at the moment, take your dreams to the limit.
1 (6m 29s):
And then the entrepreneur within you will erupt like the genie out of the bottle, 140 students stood up and they're up there with laughter. I knew then that they got the message.
0 (6m 43s):
I love that genie in a bottle analogy. I mean fire nation. Can't you just picture that? I mean, it is such a great analogy. It's so true. And it's something that you need to be striving towards and forward to. Now, how did you all start your career? I mean, you obviously have had a lot of different areas of successes and failures along that journey, but take us back to that beginning. What did that start look like?
1 (7m 10s):
I started my career as an electronic engineer at the illest roads and Israeli defense contractor. We were marketing electronics warfare and counter intelligence systems to the intelligence community in the US mainly the CIA, FBI, US forces and special forces. I was stationed in New York. And one day I was approached by a CIA agent that they worked with, who asked me if I may join him in a new start, the company that he starting to sell sensitive equipment to third world countries, we're talking about 35 years ago.
1 (7m 50s):
The timing for that in the intelligence community was perfect. But my initial question was how can we start the company where both employees would know where extra cash that's needed to start such a enterprise? So he said, you know, yeah, the news government owes me $230,000 in San Francisco. And they will distribute this money within 180 days, $230,000 at the time is equivalent to 2 million about 2 million now, and then suggested that maybe we can find somebody that can advance this money is against the government payment until they paid.
1 (8m 34s):
I called my accountant, as I knew nothing about financing at the time. And I told him, I told him what we're trying to do. And he said, what you're trying to do, it's called factoring. I thought he didn't hear me well. And I told him that I don't want to manufacture anything. He laughed and said, it's factoring, not manufacturing. And explain to me, what is all about factor is, is a form of financing that allows a company to receive cash now against future payments of their receivables. I started reading about it and immediately fell in love with the concept. I quickly decided you're talking about 35 years ago to start the factoring company for distress clients.
1 (9m 19s):
This was new niche and the factory market, it was not available. So I started the company and I called the company platinum funded group. My friend from the CIA started his business and I started the factoring business. My friend was my first glance. I follow, I funded his new company by factory his future citizens from the us government. So I wrote my first business plan and started my investors around. I found out that three of the state's investors were my key targets as they suffered losses, that could be offset by the income from my company.
1 (10m 7s):
So I raised $3 million within 30 days. We're talking about 30 years ago, 30 years ago, I raised 3 million within 30 days from several investors. My first investor was the father of Jared Kushner, the son of the son-in-law of president Donald Trump
0 (10m 28s):
Furnished. And I really hope that you're understanding the process, the journey that AI is talking about right now. I mean, he didn't just start one day and say, Hey, this is what I'm going to do. And this is the rest of his life. He went through a process. He went through talks and struggles and starts and fits and stops and all these different things. And then guess what an opportunity arose at one point. And when that opportunity arose, he identified and said, Hey, let's go all in on this. Let's have patients focus, all the words he talked about at the beginning of this episode, and let's really make this happen. Now, one thing that you talk about so eloquently that I really want to get into is creating a business from not just what you know, but from what you love.
0 (11m 12s):
So you can have both the knowledge, the experience, the expertise, the value, but also the passion, the excitement, the enthusiasm and fire nation. We're going to be diving into this and so much more when we get back from thanking our sponsors fire nation. Let me tell you about my secret weapon for learning new things, because I get it. Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to sit down and read and learn more. It's called Blinkist. Blinkist is really unique and it works on your phone, your tablet, or your web browser Blinkus takes the best key takeaways from thousands of nonfiction books and condenses them down into just 15 minutes that you can read or listen to 12 million people are using Blinkist right now.
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0 (13m 34s):
It's no wonder Flippa is the number one marketplace to buy and sell digital real estate, get access to a free instant valuation plus insights on how to improve sellability for your business at flippa.com/fire. That's F L I P P A.com/fire Eyal we're back. And before the break, I was talking a little bit about the business that we need to be creating as humans, as entrepreneurs, a business that we both know and love. Talk to us about how you've accomplished this in your life.
1 (14m 6s):
I was very good in math, in high school, and then in university. And I figured that electronic engineer, wasn't what they shouldn't be doing. And when the opportunity occurred, I decided that, eh, factoring is the business I would like to be in. And then, so I founded the platinum funding group in 1992, which was focused on core service business of factoring distress, clients receivables. And we provided them with the cashflow that they needed to run and grow their business, being electrical engineer though. Eh, I use that also I developed a software program that allows me to control and monitor my clients receivable in a way that minimizes the losses to zero.
1 (14m 56s):
The software is currently used by manufacturing companies all over the us. So during platinum's a 20 years history, we found a building or 400 clients always been profitable with zero losses while financing over 250 million a year. And that is due to the software that we, that I created them. Our headquarters was located in New York city with several offices spread in key locations throughout the country, Chicago, Los Angeles, Florida, and New Jersey. In 2005, I spread my wings and opened platinum in London, United Kingdom.
1 (15m 35s):
Then as a, as you heard before, things are not always perfect. Then in 2008, the world collapses and the hammer hits my head. I'm in heaven, doing great stuff successfully. And during the world, crisis banks worldwide determined to seize funding, special specialty finance companies and other cashflow providers that we were, eh, platinum funding group shut down the operation in first quarter of 2008 and nine because our banks didn't want to continue to fund us.
1 (16m 19s):
But then again, you know, when you, when you're there at the top of the Hill and you get banged on the row on the head, it's like starting all over again. So you sit there and you think, but eh, the banks were were about to lose a lot of money. So I decided to help the banks retrieve most of their money. So my reputation was kept clean. This alone helped me in my future endeavors. As new investors always look at your historical behavior. This is very important. So I sat there at the top of the Hill when a hammer on my head and I said, okay, what can I do now?
1 (16m 59s):
And then I created the platinum art. It's a new endeavor
0 (17m 3s):
Fire nation. I just love the evolution that we're seeing as you go through life as an entrepreneur. And so many people I see that are just starting off. They're just like, wow, like this is it. I guess like, this is the thing I'm going to be doing for now and forever. And sometimes that might be the case, but oftentimes, and as Eyal shared my, the 2008 crazy financial crisis that we dealt with certain outside, external forces caused us to shift, to pivot, to adjust, to, to come up with new ideas, to maybe try new things. And it's the journey that we're on. And when we listen and learn from people like Al who had been through this, we're becoming a better, stronger, more adaptable entrepreneur. So you are able at one point Eyal to take advantage of new market conditions that existed in the world, specifically in the merchant cash advance markets.
0 (17m 52s):
So talk to us about launching banana exchange
1 (17m 56s):
Before banana changed. I started there another niche in 2008. That was exactly after the crazy stuff. Our dealers worldwide were losing opportunities. They couldn't obtain financing. Like I couldn't. Eh, so when I created platinum Mark, it was a natural path for me, as well as I am an art collector for many years, black anymore. Art was designed in uniquely positioned to take advantage of these new market conditions. I've created platinum art to capitalize on my vast experience in factoring, coupled with my passion for art, I developed a new product of factoring for our dealers, which was financing of high-end art with just the artist, the ladder without personal grantees and fast turnaround.
1 (18m 46s):
The company is still working today. You can look it up at www.platinumartcom. And then, eh, in 2017, I sat down for lunch with a group of colleagues from Goldman Sachs that I knew for many years, knowing my history. They asked me, what are you going to do now? Aren't you bored already? So I told them that I'm thinking of a BMCA market. MCA funders are funding small to midsize merchants that are strapped for cash. The funding is done using factoring of the future cash flow of the merchants. That's why I felt it's natural for me to go into this, to jump into this area.
1 (19m 29s):
Is it serious business, the MCAAAs charge, large fees, but deliver the cash within 24 hours. This market that started the over 15 years ago grew to over 30 billion a year and in the U S alone. And my fuck was I wanted to develop something that would capture the market, but also help most of the small to midsize MCA funders that Ted know, and it's worth to go for funding after they existed the funds they have raised from family and friends. I did that because I knew I went through the same, the same process. So I knew it must be devastating for them.
1 (20m 11s):
And then as the market grew with drew, the attention of large hedge funds, currently large hedge funds and Goldman Sachs are funding only about 15 companies out of a total market of over 2000 MCA funders. How do you think you can achieve that? They asked me Goldman Sachs with friends, asked me by using my original software methodology, which I about to adapt to the MC market was my straight answer. MCA funders are using factoring as a method of funding and factory. I know. Well, so I launched the banana exchange in 2017.
1 (20m 52s):
It was designed to take advantage of the new market's condition in the MCA world. I so a relative new niche being born and identified several opportunities. I designed the unique software platform that is a base to create a marketplace in the MSA world. The idea was to create a platform that the total MCR community can benefit from not only the MCA funders and one stop shop for the industry where MCA funders get funding, when they need it to grow their businesses. New deals to fund through ISOs, independent sends officers on, on the platform and syndicates when they want to spread out the risk and they need partners on specific deals.
1 (21m 36s):
But on exchange is financing clients and expanding even during the Corona virus, times, our services deeply appreciate, but our clients, as during their hard times in 2020, we were there and help them maintain their businesses. Although they had losses from failed merchants, they w they were funding. So this is based on my history because when the climate was bad in 2008, the, the world collapsed and the banks told me, ah, we can't fund you anymore. So I said, I'm not doing it to my client. And I didn't. And I'm very happy, happy that I didn't because our clients are very thanks.
1 (22m 16s):
We're thankful for us for not closing and shutting their lines of credit. And the, at the beginning of 2021, we intend to add additional artificial intelligence tools to our platform, which will strengthen our client's underwriting capabilities. These AI artificial intelligence, the clubbies can't be purchased in the open market. As they were develop a group of experts that came out of the Israeli intelligence age
0 (22m 46s):
Agencies. I told you I had the relationship
1 (22m 48s):
There. These technologies will allow an MCA funder to identify through telephone, voice recognition and other AI techniques, the ability of the merchants to pay their advances. This feature allowed them the MCA significantly, significantly reduced their default rate and save them a lot of money. We're passionate about the MCA success successes, and we let them feel comfortable that they are in good hands because we treat each client. We were, he was our own business.
1 (23m 29s):
We're in the business of creating possibilities. Isn't there foreigners. It is our duty, our duty to help other entrepreneurs shine.
0 (23m 39s):
We're in the business of creating opportunities. I mean, fire nation think about the power of that phrase and what I love that AI has done and how he's done any evolved this over years. And over time is he is always saying, Hey, how can I create the best solution to a real problem that my audience has that my clients and customers have? How can I create not just a solution, not just a good solution. How could I create the best solution for my perfect client, for my perfect customers. Think about that in your world. Now, Eyal, you shared a lot of value throughout this entire interview.
0 (24m 19s):
What's one thing that you really want to make sure our listeners gets from our conversation today
1 (24m 26s):
To be patient. There are so many obstacles in creating something. No, it is unbelievable. And only those that do it and have the stamina to continue in doing it are the ones who succeed there. They're amazing. They're many, many more smarter people than I in this world. And they're amazing idea in the world ideas in the world, but the difference between successful people and unsuccessful is the successful will have on the idea and the, the, the success of down heavily, the idea of a successful have the idea and all the rest that I mentioned,
0 (25m 9s):
Fire nation, it comes back to patience. This is a full circle moment. Patience, are you practicing patience in your day to day life in your business, ask yourself that question, fire nation. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you've been hanging out with EL and JLD today. So keep up that heat Eyal, where can we find out more about you? How can we connect with you? Any final call to action you have, and then we'll say goodbye,
1 (25m 41s):
Email at email@example.com. Our website www.bananaexchange.com, or I'll give you also my direct cell number (917) 916-7788. And that's the key, the difference between us and others, my clients could call me directly on my mobile phone whenever they want servicing our clients
0 (26m 11s):
Nation. That is next level service that is commitments, and that is patients to success. So make sure you head over to eofire.com type a EYAL in our search bar shows page will pop up with everything we talked about today. Links to all that jazz. I challenge you fire nation to take a out up on emailing him directly on calling him directly. You have an opportunity here to get out there, be bold and speak with people like this who have had massive success in this world. You need to take these types of steps, Eyal thank you brother, for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with fire nation today, for that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side.
0 (26m 56s):
Hey, fire nation today's value bomb concept was brought to you by Eyal and successful entrepreneurs. They accomplish big goals, which is why I created the freedom journal to guide you in accomplishing your number one goal in 100 days. And we're talking step-by-step fire nation. So visit the freedom journal.com use promo code podcast for a $15 discounts. And thank you for listening to my podcast and I'll catch you there, or I'll catch you on the flip side.
2 (27m 26s):
0 (27m 26s):
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