Align Income Share Funding was launched as Cumulus Funding in November 2011 by Nathan Popkins, a former Investment Banker who believed hard-working people deserved access to capital with terms that were more forgiving.
Unfortunately, Nathan passed away unexpectedly as the result of injuries sustained in an accident at home on July 30, 2017 at the age of 38.
Nathan started the company (then known as Cumulus Funding) in 2011 after spending a decade as an investment banker with a particular focus on specialty finance. He saw Income Share Agreements being used in the education space and noticed that the product was more forgiving than a traditional personal loan, and he realized that the mature American consumer would also benefit materially from this structure. With that realization in mind, he left his banking job and rented office space, built a team, and got to work on creating the first company to offer ISAs to the masses.
Nathan (and his small team) funded the first contract in 2012, to a single mom about to get married who was looking to pay off debt to improve her credit so she wouldn’t be a drag on her new husband’s score. The money for this first ISA came from Nathan’s personal bank account.
Nathan truly believed that each ISA was an investment in an individual, and as a man who always saw the best of each person, he was proud to offer each of his customers a shot at financial betterment.
It was obvious to all that knew Nathan that he was special. Not only was he unrelentingly inquisitive and astonishingly intelligent, but he was genuinely kind. All of us who were fortunate enough to work with him experienced his myriad kindnesses on a daily basis. He treated each Align teammate like an equal, listening intently to feedback from everyone and making sure each person had what they needed to be successful, and happy.
We are so incredibly thankful for Nathan’s vision - to bring true innovation into the consumer lending market by offering a more flexible product for people who need a way to improve their financial situation. As a team, although we were shaken tremendously by this loss, we worked together to carry on Nathan’s vision and as a team have ensured Align Income Share Funding flourishes, not just for Nathan, but for people throughout the country who are looking for a financial lifeline.
To see Nathan’s perspective on the company, check out the video and audio clips below.
In Crain’s Chicago Business
On WGN Radio