Smarter Loans is Canada’s Loan Directory for any loan type. We help Canadian borrowers discover and compare the top loan companies in the country. When we launched Smarter Loans in 2016, the online lending industry was a bit of a wild, wild west with many predatory lending companies, no transparency around interest rates and fees, and overall a pretty clunky experience for borrowers. My partner, Vlad Sherbatov, and I both come from an online marketing background with a specialization in the financial industry. We wanted to use our skills and entrepreneurial spirit to help both Canadian borrowers and lenders make the experience better. Our goal was to be the “Trip Advisor” of the financial industry in Canada by showcasing the most reputable loan companies across all loan types – personal loans, business, mortgages, trucking, etc. Our mission was to make it easy for Canadians to obtain all types of financing in a safe, easy, and convenient way. Fast forward to today, we’ve helped thousands of Canadians find a reputable loan provider that fits their needs. We’ve highlighted the top lenders in the country and pushed them to be more transparent and tech-forward in order to move the lending industry forward.
Tell us about yourself?
Through my family, I was introduced to business at a fairly early age and really fell in love with it. The idea of building something from nothing has always fascinated me. Growing up, I was a fan of big brands that did innovative things. After finishing high school, I graduated from Seneca College’s Business and Entrepreneurship program and then got my bachelor’s in business from Ryerson University. My professional career started at a performance-based online marketing company named OneCore Media. Learning about the internet and how businesses are able to get new customers online became a passion for me. During this time, social media was really in its early days. I became an expert in online marketing and advertising by helping businesses grow through the internet. In 2014, together with my business partner, Vlad, we launched our own digital agency and began working with big brands in the financial space. By 2015, we came up with the idea for Smarter Loans and launched the business in 2016. Today, we are still actively running both Smarter Loans and our digital agency, Simplee Digital.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Have no fear. Go after everything that you want to achieve. Everyone else is human and approachable, so don’t be afraid to ask.
What problem does your business solve?
Smarter Loans makes it easy, safe, and convenient to find financing for any purpose. We provide an online experience that connects people with over 80 of Canada’s top financial brands.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We witnessed firsthand the alternative or Fintech lending space in its early days of 2016. Borrowers had many negative reviews about lenders, and they were often around things like transparency, lack of information on rates or hidden pricing, and slow approvals and application processes. We wanted to solve for all those issues and also offer the consumers the power of choice combined with safety and convenience.
What is your magic sauce?
Our dedication to promoting our loan partners and their brands. We strongly believe that Canadian consumers should know the brands they are borrowing from. We’ve created company profiles for over 150 financial brands in Canada across areas like lending, investing, insurance, money transfer, and more. We interview our loan partners, review their products, and share all the necessary information a consumer would want to know before deciding whether a lender is right for them.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
We want to continue helping Canadians make smarter financial decisions around borrowing and other financial products. We plan to be the biggest online marketplace for financial products in Canada.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
In the last few years, with the pandemic and the current macroeconomic conditions, it made it a little harder to grow at the pace we were growing at before. With running a business, there are almost daily challenges that you run into. I think you have to be fluid and adaptable in order to grow continuously. The good thing is if you are facing challenges, you are likely moving forward, so keep it up and never give up.
How can people get involved?
You can reach out to me via email at email@example.com or call my personal cell at 416-999-6986.