Gorlin said there is an increasing need for nonstandard data in making loan decisions, and that an applicant's online activity is often a better indication of his or her commitment to a business than a credit score might be.
"If people are more engaged in their business, they're probably running a better business," he said.
UPS' participation validates the business model, Gorlin said. The companies have a yearlong agreement, and Kabbage is also participating in a strategic enterprise fund run by UPS.
Guerrisi said getting access to working capital is often difficult for small businesses, and the agreement will help make it available for businesses that are looking for loans too small for a bank to be interested in.
"We were able to create a solution that seems to work fairly well," he said.
Guerrisi said the partnership is a test for UPS as it experiments with uses for the data it gathers.
Gorlin said Kabbage is still determining what data is important, and what different data points indicate about a business. He expects information such as shipping data will become increasingly useful in making decisions about what businesses will get funds.
In the future, he said, the company would like to work through banks to provide funds. Kabbage employs about 40 people in Atlanta.