About Our Company

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About ForwardLine

Affordable working capital made easy

ForwardLine was founded in 2003 by a team of entrepreneurs and finance professionals committed to providing small business owners an alternative financing solution. A nationwide supplier of financing to small businesses, ForwardLine uses technology and non-traditional credit algorithms to finance 98% of U.S. businesses that banks consider too small and too risky for a business loan.

First to offer merchant loans

Determined to help small business grow, ForwardLine forever changed the small business lending landscape by inventing a viable alternative to traditional lending institutions—one that would provide simple, honest, attainable financing. This new financing model was based on a business’ credit card sales, rather than its assets, and is now widely known as a merchant loan and merchant cash advance.

Today, we’re proud to say that ForwardLine has given thousands of small businesses across the country, like yours, the freedom to grow.

More than 10,000 loans funded

2015

ForwardLine raises capital to accelerate  growth with continued focus on providing the best possible small business loan product.

2014

ForwardLine implements ForSight™ 2.1 algorithm. Approval rate surpasses 50% with no incremental credit loss.

2013

ForwardLine surpasses $250 million in financing volume, and $1 billion in payment processing volume.

2011

ForwardLine hires its 50th employee.

2009

ForwardLine becomes a full-service payment processor. We establish our headquarters in Woodland Hills, CA to accommodate growth.

2005

ForwardLine originates its 100th financing.

2004

ForwardLine founders hire first employee.

2003

ForwardLine is launched as the first merchant lender in the United States. Our first merchant loan is funded in December 2003.

Our Leadership Team

Craig Coleman

“As someone who has started and grown a business,
I make sure everyone on our team understands
what small business owners have gone through,
what they’ve accomplished, and how valuable their time is.”

Craig, like every ForwardLine customer, is a business owner. Serving as ForwardLine’s CEO since 2003, Craig pioneered the concept of merchant financing and guided the company from inception to its current status as an industry leader.  

“As someone who has started and grown a business, I make sure everyone on our team understands what small business owners have gone through, what they’ve accomplished, and how valuable their time is.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Craig received a BA in economics, with high honors from Boston College, and a JD, with honors from Georgetown University.

Craig began his career practicing corporate and banking law with O’Melveny & Myers, LLP and Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom, LLP. In 1998, he joined the world of entrepreneurial finance by teaming up with Brian Sullivan at Rolling Oaks Enterprises, LLC, a private investment fund that became a holding company for ForwardLine.

In his personal time, Craig is most often found coaching one of his children’s sports teams, or otherwise spending time with his family. Craig is an avid exerciser, enjoys just about all water sports, and remains a perpetual student of U.S. political and economic history.

Pushkar Choudhuri
Pushkar Choudhuri
Chief Financial Officer

"I worked with large companies for more than a decade to help them grow responsibly, and I want to apply that knowledge to help small business owners achieve the same goals."

Pushkar joined ForwardLine in 2014, and brings more than a decade's worth of experience in raising capital for businesses and advising them on mergers and acquisitions for growth. He now works to help small businesses get access to capital for their growth.  "I worked with large companies for more than a decade to help them grow responsibly, and I want to apply that knowledge to help small business owners achieve the same goals."

Prior to joining ForwardLine, Pushkar worked in the investment banking group of Lehman Brothers and Barclays and covered the financial and business services companies.
Pushkar holds a BTech in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur; an MBA in Finance from UCLA; and a Ph.D in mechanical engineering from Rutgers.
An avid international traveler; when not at ForwardLine or other exotic locations, Pushkar can be found coaching and cheering his son's soccer team and spending quality time with his family. ​
 

Jamal Darwiche
Jamal Darwiche
Chief Analytics and Risk Officer

"I enjoy building and developing teams and am constantly striving to use data and technology to solve business problems.”

Jamal is a dynamic and highly accomplished executive. He brings over 18 years of experience and has an outstanding track record of successfully developing and managing financial startups/functions in varying market conditions across Northern America, Latin America and the Middle East. Jamal has held several senior analytical and risk roles at HSBC, Wells Fargo, and Providian Financial and was recently the Chief Operating Officer for a startup bank in the Middle East. "I enjoy building and developing teams and am constantly striving to use data and technology to solve business problems.” Jamal earned his BA in Business Economics from University of California, Santa Barbara and his MA from San Jose State University. When Jamal is not at ForwardLine his time is spent with his wife and triplets. He also enjoys watching football and hiking.

Larry Gomperts
Larry Gomperts
Chief Marketing Officer

“I strive to understand our customers needs so that we can provide the products and services that add meaningful value. My goal is to build a marketing plan that mirrors the business strategy, where every touch point ties in with helping small businesses succeed.”

Larry is a seasoned customer centric executive who knows what it means to drive company performance. He brings to ForwardLine more than 10 years of experience in strategic planning, brand building, traditional and digital marketing, and corporate finance.

Larry believes in creating a strong corporate culture and values driven organizations. “I strive to understand our customers needs so that we can provide the products and services that add meaningful value. My goal is to build a marketing plan that mirrors the business strategy, where every touch point ties in with helping small businesses succeed.”

Prior to joining ForwardLine, Larry was the Executive Vice President in Marketing and Strategic Development for Robbins Brothers, The Engagement Ring Store and also worked for Marks and Spencer and McKinsey and Company.

Larry earned his BA in Accounting and Economics from the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa and his MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. 

In his spare time, when he is not strategizing and planning for the next marketing move, Larry is spending time with his family, hiking, running, and enjoying the outdoors.

Saravanan Gurumurthy
Saravanan Gurumurthy
Senior Vice President, Systems & Technology

"I have the great opportunity to make technology a key competency of ForwardLine, and provide innovative solutions that directly benefit the growth of our customers.”

Saravanan is passionate about finding innovative ways to empower people and utilizing technology to deliver those competitive advantages. He brings to ForwardLine extensive global leadership experience in technology and operations management, linking business strategies and technology decisions to create sustainable success. 

Saravanan believes businesses continuously transform themselves through technology that enables them to be more agile, innovative and efficient. He is excited to be building a best-in-class technology solution, creating an effective and pleasant experience for all ForwardLine customers. "I have the great opportunity to make technology a key competency of ForwardLine, and provide innovative solutions that directly benefit the growth of our customers.”

Prior to joining ForwardLine, Saravanan was the Senior Vice President for Union Bank, Executive Director for Goldman Sachs & Co. and a Systems Engineer for Sony in Tokyo, Japan. 

Saravanan earned his BA in Engineering from Bharadhidasan University, India, and his MBA in International Business Management from Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo Japan.

Subra Yenamandra
Subra Yenamandra
Senior Vice President, Data & Analytics

“I strive and enjoy providing a high level of customer service through the use of technology, analytical problem solving, and project management.”

Subra is a banking professional with more than 15 years experience as a techno/functional manager. He brings to ForwardLine solid and in-depth knowledge of the banking industry, risk analytics and infrastructure.

“I strive and enjoy providing a high level of customer service through the use of technology, analytical problem solving, and project management.”

Prior to ForwardLine, Subra has held many senior analytics and risk roles at HSBC Credit Card Services, Masraf Al Rayan and Genpact.

Subra holds a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and a Master's in Management from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

In his spare time, Subra enjoys hiking and camping. 

Wesley Hawk
Wesley Hawk
Vice President, Finance & Credit Operations

“Growing up, my best friend’s family used all their savings to start a laundromat. Seeing how hard they worked and how difficult it was for them to get financing, made a huge impression on me.”

When asked about his role at ForwardLine Wesley jokes, “I walk around with a cup of coffee and make people laugh.” His good humor is welcome as he oversees the Company’s credit operations. Wesley holds a BA in economics from the University of Chicago, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Wesley brings more than 20 years’ experience in finance and operations to ForwardLine. His career path includes tenures at a variety of companies from Coco Pete’s Chocolate Adventure to Prudential to Paine Webber (now UBS Wealth Management). Wesley truly understands that, while small businesses are the engine of the American economy, they often don’t have access to needed capital.  He remarks, “Growing up, my best friend’s family emigrated to the U.S. when he was 11. They used all their savings to start a laundromat. Seeing how hard they worked and how difficult it was for them to get financing, made a huge impression on me.” Our Finance V.P. also has a passion for the arts and has studied at Southern California’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts. We expect to see his name in lights one day.

Rodney Adams
Rodney Adams
Vice President, Payment Processing Operations

“At ForwardLine we truly care about
our customers and their businesses.
We’re committed to providing the best
rates and the best service.”

Rodney joined the company in 2008 to launch our payment processing service. He oversees all payment processing activities, including VISA/MasterCard products and compliance, ForwardLine service offerings, and ForwardLine’s Client Support Team.

“At ForwardLine we truly care about our customers and their businesses. We’re committed to providing the best rates and the best service.”

Before joining ForwardLine, Rodney served as Director of Product Development at First Data Corporation. He was also Director of Merchant Services at Cardservice International, and Senior Operations Manager at Bank of America.

He holds a BS in aviation operations from San Jose State University and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Although he didn’t complete his pilot’s training, it’s still on his to-do list. For now Rodney’s spare time is taken up by his three children. “I want to make sure they have a good life,” says the proud dad.

David Leibovitch

“My goal is to place every
ForwardLine customer in a
better financial situation than they
were in before they came to us.”

Coming from a family of small business owners, David loves helping ForwardLine customers succeed.

“My goal is to place every ForwardLine customer in a better financial situation than they were in before they came to us,” he says.

Responsible for developing new and renewal business, David manages ForwardLine’s team of Merchant Consultants ensuring that they always first understand each customer’s needs in order to propose the best solutions.

David joined ForwardLine in 2007 after previously working as a Sales Manager with Bank of America and Accredited Home Lenders. He was also a head equity trader at VMR Capital Markets. David studied business administration at California State University, Northridge.

While his three daughters take up most of his free time, he also enjoys hiking, healthy food, and is a connoisseur of California wines.

Molly MacIsaac Coleman

“A big part of my job is simplifying the
legal elements of our financing process
so that our service continues getting faster
and easier for our customers.”

Molly serves as ForwardLine’s General Counsel. Working closely with ForwardLine’s leadership team, she offers counsel on a variety of legal matters.

By staying abreast of unique legal issues impacting ForwardLine’s business, Molly ensures that ForwardLine’s foundation of integrity is maintained through compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.

“A big part of my job is simplifying our financing process so that our service continues getting faster and easier for our customers.”

Prior to joining ForwardLine, Molly practiced as both a corporate attorney and an intellectual property transactional attorney at Brobeck, Phleger, & Harrison, LLP and Irell & Manella, LLP. She also served as Director of Legal Affairs for Wirebreak Entertainment. From 2002 to 2008 Molly was an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School, where she taught Venture Capital Financing and Business Planning.

Molly received her undergraduate degree in American history from Brown University, and earned her JD, with high honors, from Georgetown University, where she served as the Executive Editor of The Georgetown Law Journal. After graduation, she worked as a clerk to The Honorable Joseph M. McLaughlin of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City.

In addition to her role at ForwardLine, Molly enjoys a variety of sports, reading, cooking, traveling and – most of all – spending time with her family.

Our Board Members and Advisors

Martin Nesbitt
Martin Nesbitt
Board Member-Chairman

Mr. Nesbitt is a co-founder and co-CEO of The Vistria Group, LLC. He formerly was the co-founder, President and CEO of PRG Parking Management, LLC (The Parking Spot), an owner and operator of off-airport parking facilities, and was an officer of Pritzker Realty Group, L.P. 

Mr. Nesbitt previously served as an Investment Manager at LaSalle Partners where he was responsible for investment management for regional retail properties and management and leasing for office projects and parking.

He serves on the Board of Directors at Jones Lang LaSalle, Norfolk Southern Corporation and American Airlines Group.  Mr. Nesbitt also serves as a Trustee of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and serves as Chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation. 

He is the former Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Housing Authority and a former board member of the Chicago 2016 Olympics Committee and treasurer of President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Mr. Nesbitt earned a BA and an honorary Ph.D. from Albion College and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Michael Castleforte
Michael Castleforte
Board Member

Mr. Castleforte is a co-founder and partner at The Vistria Group, LLC. He formerly was the General Counsel and Head of Business Development at United Shore Financial Services, LLC, where he was part of the team that transformed the company from a regional, independent lender to one of the nation's leading independent mortgage lenders, and a partner at Kirkpatrick & Co., LLC.

Mr. Castleforte began his career as a corporate attorney at Winston & Strawn LLP, where he represented public and private companies in a variety of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. 

Mr. Castleforte received his BA from Duke University and his JD from Columbia University.

Siddharth (Bobby) Mehta
Board Advisor

Mr. Mehta is a seasoned veteran in the financial services sector. He is the former CEO of TransUnion—a global provider of credit and information management services.

From 1998 to 2007 Mr. Mehta held a variety of senior positions at Household International, HSBC Finance Corporation and HSBC North America Holdings, including CEO of HSBC North America Holdings, CEO of HSBC Finance Corporation and Group Executive (Credit Cards) at Household International.

He currently serves as Board Advisor to ForwardLine and Senior Advisor to Giact—a leader in providing real-time data for payment risk analysis. He also serves on the boards of AllState Insurance, TransUnion, Datacard, Piramal Enterprises, AvantCredit, The Chicago Public Education Fund, The Field Museum, and Myelin Repair Foundation.

Mr. Mehta earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and his MBA from the University of Chicago.

Michael Marcus
Michael Marcus
Board Member

Mr. Marcus brings a wealth of experience in successfully growing financial companies. He is managing partner at Marcus Partners, LLC—a strategic advisory firm to major retail financial services organizations. 

Mr. Marcus is the former Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Credit Officer and Managing Director of New Ventures at HSBC Credit Card Services. Prior to this, he was partner at the Boston Consulting Group where he was a leader in their financial services team.

He currently serves as a board member for ForwardLine Financial as well as a board advisor to several financial services companies and non-profit organizations.

Mr. Marcus earned his Bachelor’s degree with honors in Political Science from Grinnell College and his MBA at Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Norman Bobins
Norman Bobins
Board Member

Mr. Bobins founded and is the chief executive of Norman Bobins Consulting LLC; providing financial consulting services to various clients. Prior to that, he spent 40 years in the banking industry, beginning his career at American National Bank and Trust Company. Mr. Bobins currently serves as non-executive chairman of The PrivateBank and Trust Company and non-executive chairman of the board of Transco, Inc. 

He serves as a board member for ForwardLine Financial as well as on the corporate boards of AAR CORP., AGL Resources, Inc., Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. and RREEF America REIT II, Inc. Mr. Bobins is also a member of the boards of directors for Auditorium Theatre, Brain Research Foundation, The Field Museum, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, Navy Pier, Inc., and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Mr. Bobins has received numerous awards including the Illinois Bankers Association 2014 Illinois Banker of the Year Award, the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, the 2007 Order of Lincoln, the state of Illinois’ highest award, the 2007 Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Daniel H. Burnham Distinguished Leadership Award, the 2003 University of Chicago Graduate School of Business’ Distinguished Corporate Alumnus Award, and the 1992 Human Rights Medallion from the American Jewish Committee.

Rob Finnegan
Rob Finnegan
Board Member

Mr. Finnegan is the Marketing and Credit Executive at 2nd Order Solutions where he provides marketing and credit consulting to the banking industry.

Prior to his role at 2nd Order, he held a variety of roles at Capital One including leading Decision Sciences, Small Business Card, and US Card customer management. He serves as a board member for ForwardLine Financial and West Creek Financial.

Mr. Finnegan earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia. 

Brian Sullivan
Co-founder and Board Member

As part of the triumvirate of ForwardLine’s founders, Brian brings a background in small business financing with Rolling Oaks Enterprises LLC, a short-term debt provider he founded in 1997, to service small businesses in southern California.

Brian comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and he shares his business knowledge as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California (USC).

“From my great-grandfather's first car battery company in 1921 to my children's lemonade stand, someone in my family has always been starting, growing or selling a business,” he says. “Entrepreneurship is our way of life."

Brian served a six-year term as a Director for USC’s Marshall School of Business and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization. He earned a BS degree in communications from Northwestern University and an MBA from USC.

Brian has four children, and when he isn't advising entrepreneurs, he can be found attending soccer games, Little League or gymnastics meets, or surfing the waves of Malibu.

Peter Bieler
Co-founder and Board Member

Peter is a serial innovator and entrepreneur. He developed the concept of using credit card sales to underwrite financing. In 1993, he founded Media Funding Corporation, based on the principle of advancing media funds to infomercial marketers and recouping payment directly from the infomercial-generated credit card sales. This concept inspired the financing model for ForwardLine.

Prior to founding Media Funding, Peter had an extensive career as a direct response marketer. In the early 90’s, Peter launched the ThighMaster product, creating a massively successful infomercial, starring Suzanne Sommers and later writing about his experience in his book This Business Has Legs, published by John Wiley & Sons in 1996.

He states that he has formed many entrepreneurial ventures over the last 40 years, where some were very successful, and some remembered only in a box of unused business cards. But they were all rich with experience, and he continues to do it because he enjoys it.