By Laura Shin

When the Austin hair salon that had employed Hayley Groll for almost a decade was about to close, she decided to fulfill her dream of buying her own salon.

A client introduced her to his employer, Able Lending, a new online alternative small business lender with a unique business model. Instead of offering her a loan amount and interest rate just based on traditional factors such as her credit score, the company also asked her to find “backers” — friends and family who would add their own money to the loan, to be paid back with interest.


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