Peoria-based AVANA Companies, a family of lending and investment platforms dedicated to supporting small businesses and preserving wealth, is celebrating 20 years of making a positive impact for and through their customers.
Brothers Sundip and Sanat Patel founded AVANA with a vision to provide entrepreneurial capital to disadvantaged business owners.
With a mission of Capital for a Better Tomorrow, AVANA’s global teams build custom loans and investment opportunities that create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and contribute to clean energy initiatives.
Since 2002, the team at AVANA has managed over $1.3 billion in assets, created over 10,000 jobs, and helped hundreds of businesses flourish.
“Many of our customers are entrepreneurs who started the same way my brother and I did. They are immigrants who have a clear vision and a strong belief in the American dream that anyone can succeed, but they need financial support,” said Sundip Patel, CEO and co-founder of AVANA. “We know firsthand the entrepreneurial grit that it takes to overcome obstacles, so we built a compassionate team of problem solvers who are invested in supporting our customers’ needs.”
The AVANA Family of Companies includes AVANA Capital and Extensia Financial Credit Union, which connect small business owners across 39 states with access to private capital in industries such as commercial real estate, hospitality, renewable energy, and cannabis. The LendThrive platform provides short-term, fixed-rate loans in about 24 hours, while AVANA’s newest service, called EqualSeat, offers fractional investment opportunities with institutional investors and accredited individual investors.
“As we reflect on our 20-year journey it’s not about the success of the company, but rather the shared success of the people who work at AVANA. Their dedication is the reason we are here today,” said Sanat Patel, co-founder and chief lending officer at AVANA. “The team at AVANA inspires one another and we hold ourselves accountable to stay true to our values of putting people first, doing the right thing, and making a positive impact on our world.”
The Patel brothers also give credit for the company’s recent growth to their in-house technology experts that streamlined processes and built secure platforms that solve the unique needs of small business owners and brokers, as well as banking partners and investors seeking socially driven alternative investments.
“In the last five years, AVANA Companies has undergone a digital transformation that enabled us to expand our mission and launch new services to reach more people,” said Anish Dhanjee, Sr. Product Manager at AVANA. “Today, we are working on new technologies to democratize the lending and investment process to make it easy for anyone, anywhere around the globe to benefit, especially those in underserved communities.”
At a time when other companies were contracting due to the uncertainties of the pandemic, the Patel brothers saw opportunity. They acquired a credit union service organization, bought a community bank and secured an SBA license, and began serving new industries like renewable energy. AVANA also made the 2021 Inc. 5000 List of fastest growing companies and grew its staff to 60 people working in the U.S., Canada, Philippines, India, and at the company’s Bahrain office.
“We are celebrating 20-years of service to our customers because AVANA is driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and energy. We will continue for another 20 years because we constantly adapt by developing new technologies and services to better support our customers and our team,” said Brianna Vaughan, EVP of operations at Extensia Financial.