Santander InnoVentures has joined a $6 million funding round for PayJoy, a San Francisco-based startup working to help underbanked people buy smartphones.
Santander's fintech VC fund led the round with Japan's Itochu, helping to bring PayJoy's total equity and debt financing to $30 million since it was founded two years ago.
PayJoy helps underbanked people buy smartphone without formal credit histories, instead using their working mobile number, their Facebook account and government ID, and then turning the phone itself into collateral though "proprietary secure locking technology".
Manuel Silva, head, investments, Santander InnoVentures, says: "Investing in PayJoy shows Santander InnoVentures’s constant search for great teams pushing the boundaries of fintech. It also shows our increasing interest in models that are relevant to emerging markets and the underbanked.
"PayJoy’s mission is to help the less privileged join the digital economy and climb the economic ladder. PayJoy rethinks a basic financial service through the lens of innovation, technology, and data, and brings a simple and fair new offering to those who need it the most."