The Silicon Review
“We provide that early-stage financing, which helps the developer get their project up and out of the ground and going towards a sale/development/monetization of the property.”
Legion Capital Corporation is a FinTech-driven private equity firm focused on specialized lending to real estate developers, business owners, and entrepreneurs.
The firm was founded by veteran attorney and venture capital executive James Byrd and veteran marketing expert Shane Hackett in 2015 and is based in Orlando, Florida.
Interview Excerpt with Chairman and CEO James Byrd
Q. How can small and medium-sized businesses take advantage of commercial lending?
Legion is a FinTech-driven specialty lender. We provide direct access for small businesses, real estate developers and entrepreneurs. This enables small businesses and real estate developers to get acquainted with Legion, submit a loan application, and work with us directly through our GoLegion platform.
Q. Financial institutions often have a stringent application process for a commercial loan. How do you see this, and are there any ways to make this process more transparent?
Because Legion is a specialized lender that is relationship-driven as opposed to purely transaction-driven, our approach in how and who we do business with might be a little more unconventional than other financial institutions. First, we use our financial technology to help underwrite the merit of every deal and ensure that we are properly collateralized, but we also vet the borrowers themselves. We look at their operating history, previous successes, and the relationships they have established in their respective industries, including previous and current customers and suppliers. Another critical component is our working relationship with the client or borrower. Because we have a very hands-on approach and provide a myriad of services to the client or borrower, we want to ensure that this is someone that, if necessary, we can see ourselves working side-by-side with for an extended period of time. Additionally, if the business or asset we are loaning against runs into some unforeseen circumstance, we have the capability and expertise to step in and manage. This gives our investment as well as our investors an added layer of protection.
Q. Mr. Byrd, how do you identify potential borrowers and evaluate them?
There never seems to be a shortage of borrowers, if anything — just a shortage of capital to deploy. We receive a large number of clients through banks and referrals, and we are expanding our online loan portal.
Q. Many businesses are known to have fluctuating returns. In such cases, how do you decide the rate of interest and loan period?
Legion seeks an equity position in all projects, so we are able to loan capital close to what we pay our investors for it and capitalize when the project is successful through an equity piece or profit-sharing model.
Q. “Commercial lending can fuel growth and maximize business value.” Is this statement true, Mr. Byrd? Justify.
Commercial lending can be crucial for a young real estate developer or entrepreneur. It could be the difference between securing and not securing the perfect plot of land for their project. We aim to help bridge that gap.
Q. How do you market your services?
Legion fills a void that has been left unserved by commercial banks as a real estate development lender. The small real estate developer or entrepreneur has no real access to early-stage capital. We provide that early-stage financing, which helps the developer get their project up and out of the ground and going towards a sale/development/monetization of the property.
Q. Do you have any new products?
Legion Capital created one of the first no fee direct investment platforms using the crowdfunding laws with our GoLegion direct investment platform. In addition, the company continues to use technology to expand its underwriting and loan portfolio management and plans to implement AI in underwriting in the near future.
Legion recently announced the appointment of J. Bradley Hilton as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Hilton will oversee Legion’s global technology strategy, leading the company’s continued innovations in FinTech-powered specialized business lending and direct investing platforms.
J. Bradley is the grandson of iconic American Hotelier Conrad N. Hilton, who is considered one of the greatest American entrepreneurs in history. J. Bradley has a wealth of technical, marketing, management, and executive experience to assist companies to grow and achieve their desired goals rapidly. Also, he’s a technical visionary that helps guide Legion toward the forefront of technology.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
Legion has recently gone public and is now traded under the ticker symbol LGCP. Going public was part of the plan for Legion since its inception, and we are very excited that we were able to deliver upon that promise for our shareholders. We now have access not only to broader capital markets but also to grow the overall enterprise value of Legion through the public market while creating some liquidity for our early shareholders.
The company expects to continue growing and building its loan portfolios through FinTech driven and relationship-based lending.
The Leaders Upfront
Jim Byrd, Chairman, CEO: Jim Byrd is a veteran corporate attorney and venture capital executive who brings a unique blend of legal and entrepreneurial skills to his role as CEO. Jim has served as lead investor, attorney, strategic adviser, venture capital partner, and corporate executive to numerous private and public companies in his distinguished 30-year career.
Shane Hackett, Board Member, CMO: Shane Hackett is a media and marketing veteran, venture capital investor, and philanthropist. He has founded, sold, and invested in multiple broadcast, technology, and training companies. In addition to his role at Legion Capital, he is the Chairman of the Board of MarketLeverage.
MarketLeverage is an integrated digital marketing firm, recognized as an INC 100 Advertising Firm and Fortune 5000 Fastest Growing Company.