As part of the transaction, Citi is investing an undisclosed amount in Foro, becoming a minority shareholder in the fintech, said Bridge co-founder Rohit Mathur, who on Monday was named the new CEO of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Foro. The deal also gives Citi a seat on Foro’s board.
Foro launched its platform in January after it secured $8 million in Series A funding from TTV Capital, Fin Capital, Correlation Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures and U.S. Bank.
The fintech, whose platform guides small-business owners through the commercial lending process and matches them with banks, also counts former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl Jr. as one of its founding investors.
Mathur said Foro’s acquisition of Bridge merges two startups that have independently addressed a pressing issue facing small-business owners: gaining access to capital.
“We’re excited to come together and build this,” said Mathur, a 10-year Citi veteran who launched Bridge alongside Harte Thompson in 2021. Thompson, another Citi vet, is taking on the chief operating officer position at Foro.
When Citi began to explore the idea of spinning out Bridge this year, coincidentally, Foro was in the middle of a CEO transition, Mathur said.
The deal came together after Foro Chairman David Vorhoff reached out to Mathur, expressing interest in a deal that would merge the two like-minded companies.
“Both teams really complement each other,” Mathur said, adding the combination creates a platform with greater scale, growing Foro’s network of 20 lenders to over 90.
The deal also gives Foro access to a large borrower network, thanks to partnerships Bridge secured with Walmart and Best Buy this year to provide funding options to the retailers’ small-and medium-sized suppliers.
Going forward, Foro will maintain its core mission to help small-business owners secure loans, Mathur said. Those loans could be as low as $1,500 to as high as $30 million, he added, emphasizing the fintech wants to provide flexible options that address small business’ changing needs.
“We're also very focused on how lenders, especially community banks and regional banks, get access to these great borrowers,” Mathur said. “A lot of times, access is a challenge on both sides.”