Clair, an American startup bidding to disrupt the payday lending industry and help hourly and gig workers get paid instantly, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Upfront Ventures, with participation from Founder Collective and Walkabout Ventures as well as former Venmo COO Michael Vaughan and Seamless founder Paul Appelbaum.
New York-based Clair describes itself as a "social-impact" startup working to help America's 82 million hourly workers and 57 million gig workers to get paid instantly.
The firm says that, particularly during the pandemic, many Americans will struggle to cover an unexpected expense, forcing them to take out high-interest payday loans that trap them in debt cycles.
Its answer is to break free of the standard two-week pay cycle by embedding its financial services within workforce management, payroll and gig platforms. Workers who choose Clair as their direct deposit account are able to get free advances on a portion of their earned wages, which they can access using their Clair debit card. Advances are then deducted from their account during the next payday.
The startup offers workforce management software providers a set of turnkey products as well as APIs, which allows them to set up instant payments and offer its services and products to their clients in days.
Nico Simko, JPMorgan veteran and Clair CEO, says: "We believe that everybody should be able to freely access money they’ve already earned. There are more payday lenders than McDonald’s in the US that charge on average more than 300% annual interest on loans. So we have one simple vision: it’s time for change."
Payday lending will be discussed in depth at EBAday 2020. For delegate passes, register now and join leaders from across Europe's payments ecosystem as EBAday addresses 'The Turning Point in Payments Transformation'.