Consumers rely on SmartPay, our lease payment plan, to get smartphones, accessories and other high-value items. SmartPay spreads the payments over an extended term to make them more affordable.
We work with leading wireless carriers and retailers to offer SmartPay lease-to-own in their stores and on their websites. To offer SmartPay, retailers require no technical integration. Consumers easily apply through an online or mobile application to get an instant decision.
If approved, scheduled payments are timed to each consumer’s pay cycle to make automatic payment easy.
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Small businesses use SmartBiz to quickly and easily apply online for low-interest, long-term, SBA-guaranteed working capital loans from $5,000 to $150,000. The SmartBiz online application process can take less than 20 minutes and the loan can be funded in 5 to 7 business days after completing the application.
The SmartBiz technology automates the entire application, underwriting and loan origination process for SBA loans while our PLP bank partners fund the approved SBA 7 (a) Program loans.
We work with a variety of companies that service small businesses to make SmartBiz available to their small business customers. This provides both revenue and a powerful customer retention-tool for our partners.
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We started Better Finance to help people get access to more innovative financial solutions than traditional outlets currently provide. Our passion is building great products that are customer-centric and easy-to-use.
From helping consumers get a smartphone, to streamlining the path to an SBA loan for a small business, we strive to offer “better” solutions than the marketplace.
Our passion is building great products
that are customer-centric and easy-to-use.
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer
Ryan Gilbert is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.
In his leadership role, Ryan is focused on providing innovative financial solutions that meet the needs of consumers and small businesses as well as the needs of retailers and financial institutions.
Prior to launching Better Finance, Ryan was an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Venrock, a leading venture capital firm, where he focused on financial services opportunities. Previously, Ryan co-founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of real estate payments company, PropertyBridge, which was acquired by MoneyGram International in 2007. He also brings strategic experience from Wells Fargo Payment Services and Andersen Consulting.
Ryan has been a frequent speaker at financial-industry conferences and forums including CFSI Underbanked Financial Services Forum, Finovate, Future of Money & Technology Summit, NACHA Payments Conference, South by Southwest, and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. He is an active investor and advisor to innovative early-stage payment companies including Eventbrite and Square.
Ryan is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice law in the United Kingdom and South Africa. He is active in civic affairs in Piedmont, California, and serves on the city's Capital Improvement Project Review Committee. Ryan earned his Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Co-founder and President
Sean O’Malley is the co-founder and President of the company and he oversees all consumer and small business lines. He also sits on the board.
Prior to Better Finance, Sean was at Venrock venture capital, where he managed the firm’s incubator for new concepts and market opportunities. While leading the Quarry, Sean sourced over a half dozen projects from idea to funding including Better Finance.
Sean joined Venrock from Yahoo!, where he led Products on Messenger and managed Product Strategy focused on driving consumer growth in international markets.
Sean earned a B.A. and MBA from Stanford University.
Neil joined Better Finance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he was one of the founding attorneys in the Office of Enforcement. At the CFPB, Neil led investigations and provided legal counsel on bank and non-bank supervision examinations. He helped author the Bureau's first substantive rulemaking, which modified Regulation E to address remittance transfers.
Previously, as a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice, he litigated on behalf of and counseled a variety of federal agencies on corporate and financial matters, such as government loan guarantees, insurance, and bankruptcies. He also held legal positions at a large law firm, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.S. headquarters of a multinational company.
Neil is an active member of the State Bar of California, where he is Vice Chair of the Consumer Financial Services Committee. He is also a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and the San Francisco Bank Attorneys Association, as well as a Licensed Solicitor of England and Wales (inactive) and Licensed Real Estate Broker. Prior to practicing law, Neil served as co-founder, CEO, CFO and COO of multiple startups in Silicon Valley, as an investment banker in New York, and as a U.S. diplomat in the People's Republic of China.
Neil holds an LLM from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where he was a Fulbright Scholar, a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law, Bachelors and Masters degrees from Tufts University, a Specialization in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional.
Andrew leads the company’s business development activities. He is responsible for building Better Finance’s customer base through partnerships and expanded relationships with leading carriers and device manufacturers. Prior to this role Andrew led the company’s small dollar lending as General Manager of Consumer Lending.
Andrew brings extensive business development and operating experience to his role. Previously, he served as SVP of Business Development for RepairPal, Director of Corporate Development for Cox Enterprises, and VP of Business Development for AutoTrader.com. His operating roles include positions as President of GreenSky Trade Credit and CEO & Co-founder of TheStreet.com.
Andrew earned a B.A. from Carleton College and an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Doug is the Vice President of Engineering and oversees the company’s technology development services including, infrastructure, application management, and Information Technology. Doug is responsible for creating and implementing the company’s development roadmap and maintains the company’s industry-leading production environment since its launch in 2010.
Prior to joining Better Finance, Doug was Principal at Reed Solutions where he had significant success as an interim CTO at a number of Bay Area startups. Doug was also Chief Technology Officer at Common Sense Media, and Co-Founder and CTO of Cake Financial where he led the development of the company’s financial account aggregation platform prior to its acquisition by E*TRADE.
Doug also served as Engineering Manager and OFX Architect at Quicken/Intuit, Internet Commerce Engineering consultant at Wells Fargo Bank, and Architect of Information Retrieval at Digital Insight/1View Network.
Doug earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Ohio State University.
Chief Marketing Officer
Judy Balint is the Chief Marketing Officer and leads the company’s overall branding, marketing, and customer care. She brings a wide range of senior executive experience in financial services, global marketing, and strategic alliances to the company. Previously, she served as Chief Marketing Officer at Bling Nation. Prior to Bling Nation, she served as Chief International Officer and Senior Vice President for E*TRADE.
Judy has also served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing for payments processing company, NPC; Chief Executive Officer for CME-KHBB Trans-National Advertising (Saatchi & Saatchi); and Managing Director roles at FedEx and DHL in Marketing and Sales.
Judy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Master of International Business Administration (MIBA) degree from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA.
Vice President of Finance
Alan Crystal is the Vice President of Finance and leads all finance functions, including, planning, analysis, and financial operations. Alan brings in-depth FP&A experience from previous senior financial roles in Silicon Valley.
Prior to joining Better Finance, Alan was Senior Director Global Financial Planning and Analysis at Electronic Arts where he drove analysis for a share repurchase program, a convertible debt offering, as well as major acquisitions. Previously, he was Senior Director Operations Finance for Yahoo!. Alan also served as Finance Director for Netscape and AOL, and began his career as a Finance Manager for Frito-Lay.
Alan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Stanford University, as well as a MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
General Manager, SmartBiz
Evan leads the operational, tactical and strategic activities associated with SmartBiz, the company’s small business loan product. He is responsible for the overall profitability, growth and success of SmartBiz.
He has broad experience in both financial services and consumer industries. Evan has built a career around successfully launching and growing new brands and services along with building successful teams.
Prior to Better Finance, Evan held leadership positions as Chief Revenue Officer at Milton’s Baking, President at Purity Organic, and General Manager at Align Technology. He started his career at Procter & Gamble.
Evan holds a B.A. in Public Policy and graduated with honors from Stanford University.
General Manager, SmartPay
Ken leads all operational, tactical, and strategic activities associated with SmartPay and the lease-to-own products. He is responsible for the overall profitability, growth, and success of SmartPay.
He has over two decades of operational and strategic experience in a variety of industries including military, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, management consulting, clean technology, and financial services.
Ken held executive management positions with several financial institutions including Senior Vice President of Global Development at Enova International, and senior management positions at Advance America Cash Advance Centers and Wachovia Bank. He was a consultant with McKinsey & Co and Welch Foods, and was a nuclear-trained submarine officer in the U.S. Navy.
Ken holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Colorado State University and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Better Finance, Inc. is privately held and based in San Francisco. The company was founded in 2009 by a team of experienced financial services entrepreneurs with backing from leading venture capital firms including Investor Growth Capital, Venrock, First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, and SoftTech VC.