FinTech Earnd Secures $ 2.5 Million For Technology To End Payday Loan Problems

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Co-founders Serge Kotlyarov (far left) and Josh Vernon (second from right) with the Earnd team. Source: Supplied.

Sydney Earnd’s fintech has secured $ 2.5 million in funding to accelerate the rollout of its platform, which encourages financial well-being by giving employees access to their pay as they go. they earn it.

The cycle includes investments from NAB Ventures, Pocketbook founders Alvin Singh and Bosco Tan, and BPAY chief John Banfield. NAB Ventures CEO Todd Forest has also joined Earn’s board of directors.

Founded in April last year by Josh Vernon and Serge Kotlyarov, the startup connects to an employer’s systems and allows employees to request an advance on anything they’ve earned so far.

The borrowed funds are provided by Earnd, and when payday arrives, the loan balance is taken from the employee’s income and paid back to the startup.

Simply put, it’s a lending platform, says Vernon StartupSmart. However, in this case the fees are paid by the employers, which means that the service offers a responsible alternative to high interest payday lenders.

“In Australia, when you find yourself in a situation where you are struggling between paychecks, your options are limited,” says Vernon.

“You should be able to access your income as you earn it. “

It’s been up and running for almost a year and Earnd now has “a few thousand” users, Vernon says.

The demand comes from businesses that tend to have high turnover, such as those in the retail trade.

For these employers, a service like this builds loyalty and “makes a big difference in improving the retention rate of their staff.”

But there has also been demand from businesses, says Vernon. For them, Earnd is part of the larger conversation about employee well-being.

Money is a major cause of stress, he says. Earnd offers “the opportunity to start a conversation about financial well-being.”

“They believe in the mission”

Earnd has a product that works in the market, and now the founders are pushing to get it out to more people.

The funding will be used primarily for product development, Vernon says. While the founders are confident in their solution, “there is a lot more we can do,” he explains.

The startup will hire developers, salespeople, and marketers.

The founders have plans for another round of funding in 18-24 months, and at this point Earnd’s membership will be “at least double”.

Vernon has a clear roadmap for where the business will go, he says.

“The opportunity now is to bring it to the market for more people. “

Earnd was Vernon’s first business venture, which he left college to pursue full time. However, he also worked as an analyst at a venture capital firm for 18 months, where he gained “a lot of intelligence,” he says.

Yet the founders were strategic about who they brought into the business.

John Banfield, for example, has an “incredible understanding of the payments space,” and NAB Ventures has been instrumental in helping them navigate regulatory requirements.

“I feel extremely lucky to be supported by the people who support us,” says Vernon.

“They believe in the mission,” he adds.

“It makes a big, big difference.”

Vernon’s number one tip to aspiring startup founders is to get an MVP in people’s hands as soon as possible and respond to comments as they come.

“When we started, [Earnd] looked quite different, ”he says.

When it comes to raising capital, he advises founders to target VCs aligned with their startup. For example, NAB Ventures focuses on financial services products, but also on “helping vulnerable people get out of financial situations,” he says.

“If you are able to find an investor where there is cultural alignment, much of the difficulty is removed. “

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