Online finance company has a new way to buy electronics

Posted Monday, Jul. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Fort Worth-based Think Finance, a fast-growing provider of credit to the “under-served” market — generally working-class consumers with subprime credit ratings — is offering a new way to pay for electronics gear when they use the company’s lease-purchase option at Electronic Express, a Nashville-based online retailer.

The company said last week that Electronic Express will offer its Presta service, which provides financing for purchases of some of the retailer’s merchandise. Buyers pay over time, generally a year, using a credit card or debit card.

“Many consumers are either ineligible for traditional credit or want more flexible options for managing their spending,” said Ken Rees, CEO of Think, based in southwest Fort Worth. The company launched its online Presta lease-purchase service in October 2011, and this is its first application to a third-party retailer.

The company, which has received $60 million in venture capital from Silicon Valley firms, including Sequoia Capital, operates several online consumer loan services, including PayDay One, Plain Green and quid.co.uk, a British online lender. And it has been gaining some notoriety.

Earlier this year, Forbes magazine ranked Think Finance No. 2 on its list of the “most promising" private companies in the U.S. Forbes said Think Finance had revenues of $502 million and 446 employees last year.

And Think was named one of “8 nonbanks to watch in 2013” by American Banker, along with such huge Internet leaders as Google, PayPal, Wal-Mart and Amazon. The leading journal of the banking industry said the privately held Fort Worth firm “has been steadily widening the range of installment products it offers to the under-served.”

CEOs honored by Ernst & Young

Two Tarrant County executives were recently honored as winners of 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards in the Southwest Area North program.

Honored were Randy Watson, chairman and CEO of Justin Brands in Fort Worth, the iconic boot manufacturer owned by Berkshire Hathaway, and Tony Aquila, founder, chairman and CEO of Solera Holdings, an auto insurance software service provider that moved its headquarters to Westlake from California in 2011.

The two were among 17 top executives from Dallas-Fort Worth honored as high-growth entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Though he runs a company that has been in business for more than 130 years, Watson received the entrepreneur’s award for continued innovation and product expansion that has produced double-digit sales growth in recent years.

Also receiving an award were Ross Perot, founder and chairman of EDS and Perot Systems in Dallas, and his son, Ross Perot Jr., chairman of Hillwood, developer of the 17,000-acre AllianceTexas industrial, office, retail and residential development in north Fort Worth.

Ernst & Young has honored entrepreneurs for 27 years. It honored the Perot family with its first Family Business Award of Excellence.

The local winners will compete at the national level. Those winners will be announced Nov. 16 in Palm Springs, Calif.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 sabaker@star-telegram.com Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 jfuquay@star-telegram.com Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718 barry@star-telegram.com

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