Brandon Lerner started at Kalamata fresh out of college in 2016. Having graduated from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor with a BA in economics and entrepreneurship minor, Brandon was excited about the opportunity to gain practical experience at a start-up in finance. He was one of the firm’s first New York-based employees and quickly found that his role within the company would pivot as the outreach strategies of the company changed. He spent his early days pitching Kalamata’s products to business owners and soon transitioned to the business development side, cultivating relationships with sourcing partners across the U.S. Today, Brandon is Kalamata Capital Group’s operations manager, managing the day-to-day operations of their funding platform, data collection initiatives, software use, and people operations. He utilizes systems thinking, in which consideration is given to the effects that proposed changes will have on other processes within the company.
“The way our deal platform operates is a direct reflection of our company’s commitment to increasing customer satisfaction. By standardizing our decision making, we have positioned our sourcing partners to be well informed on our product criteria and timing expectations, which allow for a seamless funding process for the business owners,” he explains. “I see the how impactful the work is of each new hire, and it directly impacts the customer success aspect of our service.”
Founded in 2013, Kalamata is a socially responsible direct funder in the alternative financing space that provides financing to small businesses to help them grow and create jobs. Kalamata is able to offer funding for its clients in as little as 24 hours, and also creates personalized financing plans tailored to its clients’ specific needs. It works with businesses across many industries, such as retail, wholesale, medical and pharmaceutical, trucking, construction, and restaurants and hospitality. Most of its clients come via referrals through their relationship-based sourcing network, and what differentiates the company from its competitors is its underwriting approach, which requires a human touch – rather than simple use of a computer algorithm. Kalamata believes that every business is unique, and every opportunity comes with a story. The culture and mission extend from the company’s roots, as the name Kalamata refers to the olive branch, an ancient Greek symbol of peace and generosity. The company works with businesses that generate in excess of $100k annually, and since inception, Kalamata has provided more than $700 million to their clients. Receiving hundreds of applications per day despite the obstacles presented through the Covid-19 pandemic, Lerner notes his enthusiasm for what is to come. “While many of our competitors halted operations early in the pandemic, we kept our doors open, serving businesses during the most difficult year in my lifetime. We invested in our people, our partnerships, and our processes throughout the pandemic, ensuring that our partners could still do business, and that business owners still had options,” Lerner says. “We have never been in a better position to service our clients and partners than we are today, and our mission has never been so clear, as businesses across the country begin to reopen their doors.”
Lerner is grateful for having been a key part in Kalamata’s growth in the five years he has been there and has become one of the youngest partners in the firm’s history. Part of Kalamata’s growth, and Lerner’s success, has been due to its dedicated employees, who Lerner characterizes as diligent, growth-oriented, and open-minded. He is continually inspired by their flexibility and ability to evolve. He’s also loved the exposure he’s had to the intricacies of growing a business. “I’ve seen the company transform before my eyes and I attest to the immense hands-on experience the company has offered its employees who have looked to grow their footing in finance,” he explains. "We empower our employees to take on large responsibilities and initiatives, and for those reasons, and so many more, Kalamata is an incredible place to work.”
Operations Manager — Kalamata Capital Group