Today, Technology Credit Corporation is the leading financier in the solar middle market. Successful, scalable project financing requires a range of capabilities: capital, credit expertise, contracting, accounting, and asset management. TCC has honed its experience and grown to its current position over the past four decades.
Jim Hartigan and Larry Clark met in 1984 at ROLM Credit Corporation. With IBM’s acquisition of ROLM in 1986, Jim and Larry became part of IBM Credit. It was there that the two and few other colleagues decided to start a vendor leasing company supporting Silicon Valley tech manufacturers. When the time came to quit their jobs and start the company, only Jim and Larry made the leap of faith. Technology Credit was born in early 1988.
Their timing was spot on. In the late eighties, acquirers of tech equipment were increasing looking to the manufacturers for financing. Jim and Larry provided “private label” financing programs where we provided the financing under the manufacturer’s brand. This was a true win-win situation. The customer wanted to deal with manufacturer start to finish and the manufacturer could meet its customer’s demands without becoming a lender.
By the end of 1989 multiple private label programs were established and a successful, profitable finance company was off and running.
Close personal relationships with colleagues at ROLM proved to be valuable. These individuals had spread out across Silicon Valley to early stage, high growth companies. To sell their products, they needed to provide their customers financing. Since banks and traditional lenders balked at supporting their young companies and customers, they looked to Jim and Larry for a solution.
Multiprotocol 7000 Router, Cisco
Pipeline Model P50
AGS Router, Cisco's First Router
Creating customized finance programs that balanced customer risk between lender and manufacturer, these unique solutions led to our providing the first customer finance programs for such companies as Cisco Systems, 3Com, Ascend Communications, Network Appliance (NetApps), and Peoplesoft. Over the course of the decade the company originated over $2 billion of equipment financings. At first, this was accomplished by brokering the financings to larger financial institutions.
This decade began with the collapse of the internet bubble. Our extremely profitable run of financing telecom infrastructure equipment came to an end. This required reinvention. With companies no longer heavily focused on equipment acquisition, we pivoted to meet their other needs. Liquidity, not infrastructure build-out, became our customers’ primary concern
From 2006 through to 2008 we continued to met market needs not addressed by banks and traditional lenders. We created a rebate assignment program for SunPower that allowed their residential and commercial dealers to assign these rebates as payment on account and we waited for payment of the rebate. The result, $150 million of rebates purchased and $150 million of working capital in the hands of over 100 SunPower dealers. We not only provided the customer long-term, no cash out-of-pocket financing, but our ability to absorb the 30% federal tax credit that subsidizes the transaction.
Then in late 2008, as most banks moved away from equipment financing as a result of the financial crisis, we were there cash in hand to finance not just technology equipment, but wine industry equipment as well.
Although we finance all types of commercial solar customers, we have set our sights on addressing the biggest void in the solar finance marketplace – financing for non-profit organizations. These houses of worship, homeowners associations, schools, and community organizations are largely ignored by dependable lenders.