Fireside Chat

A Rubric for Building Resilient Mission-Driven Business Models That Can Withstand and Thrive Even in Crises

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In the best of times, individuals with low-incomes, hourly wage jobs, or that live outside of the credit mainstream often lack the resilience needed to overcome even seemingly small emergencies or interruptions to their normal lives. Statistics repeatedly show that many people in America lack the ability to raise just $400 in cash to overcome gaps caused by anything from a flat tire to an extended illness. During times like the COVID-19 pandemic and its related financial implications, those basic interruptions are exacerbated and demand even greater levels of resilience. It often falls to nonprofits and mission-driven for-profits to fill that void and help provide the financial support needed to bridge these gaps.

But impact-oriented business must also build resilience into their own operating models in order to survive those same trying times and continue delivering services to customers in dire need. An economic crisis can be a true test of their resilience and an opportunity to shine. Too often, these organizations lose sight of the values that have guided their success and focus on near-term goals with the goal of immediate survival.

In this fireside chat, Oportun Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Coblentz will explore how mission-driven, for-profit businesses can build hardened models designed to not only withstand economic crises but actually thrive. Coblentz will draw on Oportun’s own experiences across multiple disruptions from hurricanes to this current pandemic to isolate the key factors that can sustain a business during trying times, including the use of technology, a commitment to live/instant customer support, uninterrupted customer communications, and the importance of a diverse and cross-trained workforce.

This conversation will help assemble best practices for future-proofing impact-oriented business models across industry sectors that can overcome future economic and social upheavals. This conversation will aid investors in identifying the businesses best suited to deliver impact over time, while assisting entrepreneurs in building better business models and helping existing ones reshape their playbooks with an eye towards the future. Ultimately, this session will develop a rubric for making the decisions necessary to continue to fulfill a mission of serving historically underrepresented communities in both good times and bad.

Confirmed Panelists

Jonathan Coblentz / Chief Financial Officer, Oportun

Jonathan Coblentz is the CFO and CAO of Oportun, a high-growth, mission-driven Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and provider of inclusive, affordable financial services that empower people to build a better future.  Jonathan joined Oportun in 2009 and has more than twenty-five years of experience in the consumer finance industry. During his tenure at Oportun, Jonathan has played a leadership role in growing the company from a well-intended start-up into a mature, established financial institution that has served over 1.7 million customers, originated more than 3.7 million loans and disbursed over $8.4 billion. Under his financial stewardship, Oportun completed its initial public offering in September 2019 and is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol OPRT.

Prior to joining Oportun, he acted as chief financial officer and treasurer at MRU Holdings through the financial crisis of 2007–2009. His previous roles also included vice president at Fortress Investment Group, LLC, in lending and structured finance investing, seven years at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in structured finance and principal investing, and five years at Credit Suisse First Boston, where he worked in asset-backed finance.

Jonathan has a BS in applied mathematics with a concentration in Economics from Yale University. In addition to solving financial puzzles, Jonathan does the New York Times crossword every day.

Unconfirmed Panelists

Interviewer TBD

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