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Exclusive: ‘Small Biz Saviour’ – Kathryn Petralia, Kabbage in “Swashbucklers 2020”

Exclusive: ‘Small Biz Saviour’ – Kathryn Petralia, Kabbage in “Swashbucklers 2020” | Fintech Finance

Well, we’ve just been scrolling through Kathryn Petralia’s LinkedIn, and now we need a lie down. This Swashbuckler is full-on! She’s not just the co-founder or “Kabbagehead” (we love that!) of financial services giant Kabbage. She’s also setting up, or on the board of no less than six organisations. Phew! Coffee break anyone? This year Petralia and her 300-strong team at Kabbage exceeded all expectations and really stood up for business owners. We think that deserves a hearty handshake (or ecstatic elbow bump) of recognition.

Helping vulnerable businesses during the pandemic

$7 billion. It’s a lot of money. It’s more than the entire GDP of Monaco. It’s also the amount that Kabbage processed in Paycheck Protection Payment (PPP) to help businesses stay afloat over the past months. “In the end, we became the nation’s second-largest PPP lender by application volume, outpacing Wells Fargo and even Chase”, Petralia explains. “We helped nearly 300,000 small business access over $7 billion, preserving 945,000 U.S. jobs! It was the most difficult, yet most rewarding challenge I have ever faced in my career”.

Over the past year, many struggling businesses couldn’t access help from the overwhelmed incumbent banks. Kabbage was one of the first fintechs to throw out lifelines. The team enabled business owners to get the help they needed to survive. Go on Petralia! What an absolute ledge.

“The most rewarding surprise about Kabbage has consistently been our opportunity to support the most important members of our economy, small businesses”, Petralia elaborates. “They are responsible for two thirds of all new jobs and 50% of our non-farm GDP and remain an afterthought for many banks”. We love how Kabbage puts normal people first. After all, isn’t that what fintech is all about?

Driving fintech forward

Petralia is well known in the fintech industry for her pioneering spirit. She’s one of life’s go-getters. “My mother calls me a “rower”. No matter how much water is in the boat I just keep rowing”, Petralia revealed to us. This is excellent news for us and our ship. We’ll put Petralia in charge of training up the jolly boat crew. “She also says I try to put 10 pounds of, er, $hit in a 5-pound bag”. Also useful! Nice packing stills Petralia!

We need more people like Petralia leading our industry. She doesn’t hesitate to tackle problems and find solutions for the people who need it most. “I’ve always been a champion of the underdog”, she explains. “And I am proud to have been part of the fintech revolution that has democratized access to capital and changed the way small businesses and consumers manage their finances”. And that, in a nutshell, is why we love her. Welcome aboard Petralia! ■

This article was published in Swashbucklers 2020, Page 31


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