#7. Brayden McCarthy
Head of Policy & Advocacy, Fundera
He’s been called one of the smartest young minds in the lending industry. Brayden McCarthy has worked in the West Wing of the White House for the Obama administration, where he helped coordinate policy development at the National Economic Council, as a senior policy advisor. Before that, he served as lead policy advisor to Karen Mills, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and helped her co-author a Harvard Business report on the state of small business lending. Since 2015, he’s been the head of strategy for Fundera, an innovative online marketplace that connects small businesses with financing. The brainchild of co-founder and CEO Jared Hecht, Fundera’s mission is to make small business lending more transparent and accountable. Such an altruistic goal fits perfectly into McCarthy’s career trajectory, because, as he put it, he started out in his family’s small business and saw firsthand what they had to go through to be successful. Long before he entered the White House, he worked in the investment banking divisions of Lehman Brothers and Barclays in New York, London and Dubai. He earned his master’s and his bachelor’s degrees from the London School of Economics, and will soon get his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. McCarthy has been one of the point men leading the charge for fairness in lending, calling for the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights, which he helped write through the creation of the Responsible Business Lending Coalition. One of his current goals is to enable the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to fulfill its obligations to protect small businesses from predatory lending as set out by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—a startup agency, as he calls it, “with limited resources balancing recalcitrant lawmakers, many of whom threaten to cut funding at every turn.” He’s got his work cut out for him, but don’t underestimate him, because McCarthy is just getting started—and he obviously knows his way around the Beltway.