Denise Thomas, CEO of ApplePie Capital

The franchise industry is unique. While the franchisees are often small businesses run by entrepreneurs, the franchisors they work with can be large businesses. It is an unusual space to underwrite when it comes to small business loans, so it requires unique expertise to do well.

Aaron Klein, Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution

While America remains the richest economy in the world it is also the one where it is the most expensive to be poor. I have written about overdraft fees before (here and here) and that is one of the real problems with the banking system that is holding people back that live paycheck to paycheck. But it is about more than overdrafts, it is about expensive bank accounts and payments that take too long to clear.

John Goodall, Co-Founder & CEO of Landbay

There are several fintech companies attacking different parts of the real estate market in the UK. Despite the challenges surrounding Brexit this is still and vibrant and healthy market. The fintech leader in what is called the “buy-to-let” segment is Landbay. They began lending in 2014 and just recently closed a $1 billion funding commitment from a large institutional partner.

Husayn Kassai, Co-Founder & CEO of Onfido

The current system of identity verification is broken. With so many data breaches happening today most of our personal information is readily available on the dark web. We can no longer truly rely on any personal information as a way to verify identity. A completely new system is needed.

Karen Mills, Senior Fellow at Harvard

Small businesses are the backbone of this country and no one has done more to support them than our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast. Karen Mills has been a venture capitalist for many years and was the head of the Small Business Administration in the Obama Administration from 2009-2013. So, she had a first hand view on how the financial crisis deeply impacted small business. She is now a Senior Fellow at Harvard where she has become one of the leading authorities on small business lending and its impact on the nation’s economy.

Raul Vazquez, CEO of Oportun

Raul Vazquez, CEO of Oportun

The CFPB estimates there are 45 million adults in the US today who have little or no credit history. Consequently, these people are terribly underserved by traditional finance. But some companies are making inroads into this market and are doing so profitably.

Jaidev Janardana, CEO of Zopa

Jaidev Janardana, CEO of Zopa

The very first peer to peer lending platform to launch in the world was Zopa in the UK back in 2005. Prosper and Lending Club would come soon after but Zopa was the trailblazer. Today, they are continuing their trailblazing ways by becoming the first platform to start a bank.