Cadence Cash is a Raleigh-based fintech platform founded in January of this year that helps small businesses—especially those owned by minorities and women—access capital quickly. Business owners can get access to cash faster by submitting invoices through the Cadence Cash app. [We first profiled Cadence Cash in March.]
Juneteenth is an especially fitting time to highlight the huge wealth gap that still exists between white and minority-owned businesses across the nation, including right here in the Triangle. The Cadence Cash team has been helping to tackle the issue of the wealth gap and lack of access to capital for minority-owned businesses, specifically those owned by Black people.
“We built this platform to support Black-owned businesses in ways that will allow them to avoid predatory lenders,” said Charles Inokon, the CEO of Cadence Cash.
As an entrepreneur himself, Charles had a difficult time raising capital due to bias, which is part of the motivation for founding Cadence Cash with his sisters, Angel and Cheryl. Charles said his parents were immigrants and business owners who also struggled with this problem.
Now Charles’ wife, Andrea Inokon, is joining the startup as its COO after more than 20 years in finance, tech and the law, including a decade-plus as a Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel at fixed income investment giant PIMCO.
The Cadence Cash team is also rolling out a new financial product: micro loans. Announcing the new product and team additions on Juneteenth just felt right for the Inokons.
“To us, Juneteenth is a great way to highlight the struggles that Black businesses still face in accessing capital,” said Andrea.
Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States by a landslide, yet experience many barriers to starting their companies. Cadence Cash is a fast and easy-to-use platform that provides financing to these businesses, Andrea said. The team is hoping to provide this type of financial support nationally.
Minority-owned companies with gross receipts of less than $500,000 are denied loans at a rate of 3x more than white-owned businesses of similar size, Charles Inokon said.
After listening to customer feedback, Cadence Cash has decided to offer micro loans with interest to its customers ranging in size from $1,000 to $100,000.
“Closing the (wealth) gap is really essential to funding growth, which is kind of part of the way forward for African Americans as we think about Juneteenth,” Andrea said.
The spirit of Juneteenth is about the liberation of the entire country and financial access is part of that, said Angel Inokon, who serves as Chief Product Officer.
Cadence Cash helps businesses with less than $1 million in ARR (annual recurring revenue) and under 50 employees, and does not check a business’ credit score. Charles believes that Cadence Cash will help create a more inclusive business environment in the Triangle.
“Closing this funding gap is really the key to unlocking growth for African American businesses and also I think growth for the economy as well,” Andrea said. When Black and other minority-owned businesses are held back, she added, the whole economy suffers.
The company started with a handful of staff members at the beginning of this year, but are hoping to triple that by the end of 2023. Tony Thomas, who has more than 25 years of investment management experience, is joining the Cadence Cash team this month as an adviser.
“We want to empower small businesses to thrive on their own terms,” Charles said.