David Gens

Founder and CEO

AGE: 27

COMPANY: Merchant Advance Capital Ltd.


“I liked the idea of a business model that was successful in the U.S. but hadn’t caught on in Canada"


The story: Years of booking shows and minding the moneybox for his high school band prepared David Gens well for a career in finance, he says. On the advice of a family friend, Gens enrolled in UBC Sauder’s portfolio management program (a pipeline for future bankers), and after working at local private equity firm CAI Capital Management post-graduation, Gens decided to strike out on his own with Merchant Advance Capital in 2010. The firm offers a niche credit product uncommon in Canada: Gens lends cash to small businesses in return for a percentage of what they book in debit or credit sales. “I liked the idea of a business model that was successful in the U.S. but hadn’t caught on in Canada,” says Gens. Five years later and Merchant Advance is still one of the few lenders of its kind in Western Canada. “It’s rewarding to build your own thing,” says Gens, who counts his father, brother and uncle—founders of their own IT business—as role models.

Markers of success: Merchant Advance has raised more than $5.6 million in equity capital and has been profitable since inception, generating returns in excess of 10 per cent annually. Since 2010, the 15-person firm has provided more than $24.7 million to small businesses in Western Canada. —Jacob Parry

Meet David Gens and the rest of the 2015 30 Under 30 winners at this year's celebration event!