The PPP loan data is out, but companies say it’s a mess

The mistakes make it hard to figure out who actually received the loans.

A GIF of a money printer

Firms listed are saying they never actually received the loans, and some say they already returned the money.

GIF: Tenor

On Monday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration revealed some of the businesses that received payroll protection program loans as part of the coronavirus bailout. It was information that it had dragged its feet on releasing (so much so that it faced lawsuits from media organizations), only to backtrack and make it public. But the published data seems to be a bit of a mess.

  • Firms listed are saying they never actually received the loans. Andreessen Horowitz denies applying for a loan, despite being listed as receiving a loan between $350,000 and $1 million for 24 jobs. Other venture firms, like Foundation Capital and Index Ventures, have also denied applying for or receiving loans. "I can confirm that Index Ventures VIII did not apply for a PPP loan at any point," a spokesperson for Index told Protocol. "The entry listed is in error, as although it lists us as a business name, it is not our address or correct information about our fund. Our legal team is looking into why our name is listed and look to correct it ASAP."
  • Some businesses also already returned the money. Zocdoc confirmed it had applied for and received a loan (between $5 million and $10 million for 250 jobs), but it ultimately returned the funds after the business rebounded, and it secured additional capital. However, it was still included in Monday's release of PPP recipients. Wikimedia said it didn't accept a loan at all, saying in a statement that "the Wikimedia Foundation was approved for a PPP loan, but the organization ultimately declined it, and did not receive the funds."
  • Maybe blame the banks? Bird's CEO Travis VanderZanden tweeted that the company had talked to Citibank, which started an application for the company, before the scooter startup decided not to pursue it. Yet Bird was listed as receiving a loan of $5 million to $10 million to save 341 jobs. (Instead, it laid off over 400 people in March.) "Bird was erroneously listed as a company that filed for a PPP loan," the scooter startup said in a statement. "We did not apply for nor did we receive a PPP loan."

The mistakes make it hard to figure out who actually received the loans (and kept the money) and what was just a clerical error. But here's a small snapshot of tech companies that the SBA says (maybe) took PPP money:

  • In the $5M to $10M loan bucket: Getaround, Hired, Metromile, Mixpanel, Zeta Global, TradeShift, Luminar, Rubicon Global, Talkdesk, Turo, Seatgeek, the Wikimedia Foundation and Proterra.
  • In the $2M to $5M range: Envoy, Flipboard, Orbital Insight, Saildrone, Quanergy, and TuSimple
  • In the $1M to $2M range: Human Longevity, Peerspace, Wanderjaunt, Tradesy, Styleseat and Second Measure.

While there was a lot of pressure to return the loans or cancel applications, startups like Turo stand by their decision. For Turo, the "PPP funds were a lifeline for our 244 employees" and its host and guest community, said Steve Webb, Turo's VP of communications.

We'll update this post as we hear back. A version of this post will appear in tomorrow's Source Code. Sign up here.


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