Exclusive Interview with Bespoke Financial Co-Founder and CEO George Mancheril
Fintech lender Bespoke Financial offers debt solutions for companies across the cannabis supply chain. While the industry is still going through growing pains, Bespoke is offering its customers non-dilutive financing to fuel growth. Co-Founder and CEO George Mancheril spoke with New Cannabis Ventures back in March. He sat down again to give an update on the company’s new partnerships and competitive position in the cannabis lending space.
Listen to the entire interview or read the summary below:
Bespoke Financial offers a variety of lines of credit for its cannabis clients, including a general line of credit, inventory financing, purchase money financing, invoice financing and dispensary financing. The company’s solutions are designed to unlock value in its clients’ balance sheets.
The lender has formed partnerships to offer clients new solutions to address the working capital limitations that remain a challenge in the industry. This summer, Bespoke Financial announced a partnership with cannabis technology company BLAZE Solutions. Together, the companies have launched a dispensary financing program accessible to cannabis retail stores using BLAZE’s dispensary POS software. Dispensaries can finance inventory with this buy now, payer later solution. Bespoke Financial is about halfway through the beta phase of the partnership, according to Mancheril. The partnership will have a broader launch in California and Massachusetts before the end of this year, and it will roll out in more states in the future.
Additionally, Bespoke Financial has forged a partnership with financial services platform PayQwick. The two teams have known one another for years, according to Mancheril. PayQwick offers financial solutions to address the banking needs of the cannabis space. Through this partnership, Bespoke clients are able to access PayQwick solutions seamlessly, and PayQwick customers can leverage Bespoke’s financing solutions.
Bespoke Financial currently serves clients in 15 U.S. states. Since the company’s inception in 2018, inbound inquiry has led its expansion into new markets. It serves more mature markets like Colorado, Oregon and California. Mancheril also pointed to states like Ohio, Arizona, Massachusetts and Michigan as markets with growth opportunities for the lender.
Bespoke Financial Clients
The lender has a broad client pool that includes cannabis companies from across the supply chain. Bespoke Financial has structured its solutions to address a variety of different use cases in the industry. But growth this year has been accelerated by Bespoke’s B2B buy now, pay later financing solution for dispensaries, according to Mancheril.
Though the capital markets environment is challenging for cannabis right now, the Bespoke Financial team has not changed the way it vets potential clients. The lender continues to focus on finding strong companies and management teams with vision and discipline to execute. The lender wants to supply the capital that this type of company needs to move forward.
As Bespoke Financial’s clients are navigating industry challenges, like pricing pressure, the lender has seen creative ideas emerge. For example, some large-scale cultivators are starting to sell their own branded products, according to Mancheril. Bespoke Financial is excited to get behind companies that are making pivotal changes that could help to redefine the industry. Though the market has it challenges, Bespoke Financial has also seen some of its clients successfully replicate their business models as they expand into new markets.
Bespoke Financial launched with the intention of having first mover advantage in the realm of non-dilutive financing for the cannabis industry. With federal illegality still in place, traditional fintech companies, neobanks and other B2B buy now, pay later solutions have largely steered clear of the cannabis industry. Over time, this will change, but Mancheril is confident in the relationships Bespoke Financial has built with its clients.
As cannabis operators grow their revenues, it makes sense that it will become easier for them to attract other sources of financing. But Mancheril has seen clients come back to the table to discuss ways to continue working with Bespoke Financial, whether through increasing their credit limit or discussing financing for a new project. Mancheril anticipates the brand Bespoke Financial is building for itself will help the company remain competitive as more lending players enter the space.
At the end of 2021, Bespoke Financial closed on a $125 million credit facility, which has extensions embedded in its structure. As a lender, Bespoke Financial’s capital tends to get recycled. This year, it has financed nearly $700 million in GMV for its clients. The lender will keep a close eye on future fundraising opportunities that could give it greater scale and flexibility to serve its clients and develop new products.
While many view an IPO as the ultimate goal of startup, Mancheril doesn’t necessarily see it that way. Right now, the public equity markets are not a fit for Bespoke Financial, but the team will continue to be open to different financing options that unlock value for the company.
Approximately 50 percent of the lender’s expansion into new markets comes from inbound interest. Bespoke Financial continues to grow its market reach as existing clients move into new states and prospective clients approach the lender to start a conversation. The lender’s partnerships will continue to be a point of focus as it navigates the rest of 2022. Bespoke Financial is on track to triple its operations from last year, according to Mancheril. While the political and economic landscape continue to be challenging for cannabis operators, Mancheril has a bullish outlook on the cannabis investment space.
To learn more, visit the Bespoke Financial website. Listen to the entire interview: