At Sakura, we believe that small business owners shouldn’t have to pay a punitively high cost for access to funding. We believe that there should be a better solution for entrepreneurs who want to start a business, but have little access to funding or are part of the 49 million people who are unbanked or underbanked in America. We know that one’s creditworthiness is more than a simple function of their credit history or FICO score. We know that the alternative data in a business bank account, a point of sale solution, or a business plan provides a more holistic picture of an individual’s borrowing capacity. At Sakura, our mission is to use software, automation and human relationships to acknowledge and extend credit to small business owners and entrepreneurs that are willing to put in the work to succeed. We want to help make the invisible, visible. We want to help you start your business.
Our values are a work in progress! We see them as a fluid guide and framework for how we want to build our company.
Economic progress for one group doesn't have to come at the expense of another. Wealth is created through the application of labor and capital to provide goods and services. SMB owners are willing and able to provide sweat equity and hard work so that they can build a better life for themselves and the community they live in. At Sakura, we believe that we must be able to source capital and identify these SMB owners in order to give them credit. Together, we can build a better economy.
The important part of this sentence is seek—we believe that we have to actively try to understand the person working across from us. If we assume good intentions, then most disagreements and arguments are solved through discussion, compromise, empathy, and understanding. We value remembering that everyone brings something to the table, and believe it is important to understand their views before ours are heard.
Given that most of our users are small businesses that are in their most fragile state, it is not an exaggeration to say that they will depend on us for their business' livelihood. We believe that delivering honest financial services and transparent credit to our users is not dependent on how many hours we work, or how hard we might try. It is dependent on whether we can succeed at helping our users succeed. Effort alone is not enough.
Everyone has made mistakes, makes mistakes, and will make mistakes. We want to create a culture where if we make mistakes, we own up to them and help resolve them. What's more important than culpability and blame is how we architect systems and processes that endure past individual effort, error, and ultimately our own time at Sakura.
Capital alone does not start or make a small business. Sellers depend on their families, friends, coworkers, and other businesses for support, advice, and expertise. As a result, we have just as much of an onus as our sellers do to make sure they have the support they need to succeed and thrive. For Sakura it also takes a village: building products is an intense collaborative effort across ENG, product, design, growth, legal, and operations teams. Understanding how everyone contributes to the overall effort is an exercise in empathy and diligence, and allows us to move faster, together.
Lending and credit is a tool to help sellers start and grow their businesses. Sometimes sellers will hire us to use credit to buy equipment, items, or hire employees. And sometimes sellers don't need a loan or a line of credit now (or ever.) And that's okay! We want to build an enduring, successful company by aligning our incentives with our sellers' incentives. And no seller is ever incentivized to take on more debt unless there's an important reason.