Stellar, on a mission to provide unprecedented access to credit-building and financial tools to underserved communities, attracted key investors to close an oversubscribed $7M initial funding round.
“We created Stellar to provide credit access to the 132 million Americans who currently have poor credit or no credit,” says Stellar Founder and CEO, Lamine Zarrad. “That’s in large part because traditionally, credit scores are made up of a person’s payment history on loans and credit cards. This means bills for everyday purchases like rent, utilities, and Netflix go unreported. These are people who pay their bills, and get zero reward for it. We want Stellar to let their bills pay them back–something they’ve deserved for a very long time.“
Stellar was founded with the understanding that for many, having a healthy credit score is key to gaining financial independence. Stellar is expanding access to credit by enabling users to build credit through their everyday purchases, opening opportunities not just to build their credit score, but also to gain financial security for themselves and their families.
While competitors use traditional tools like secured loans and high interest cards to build credit, Stellar focuses on making the credit building process as easy and seamless as possible for users by consolidating their bills and allowing them to build credit through the bills they already pay. Stellar then reports their monthly payments to credit bureaus. This allows users to focus on their goals–including purchasing their first home, moving into a better apartment, or getting a credit card with great benefits.
In addition to credit building and bill consolidation within the Stellar app, users will have the ability to receive rewards and cash back to apply directly to their connected bills, keeping more money in their pockets and allowing them to reach their goals sooner.
Spurred by his prior success in tackling complex financial problems, Stellar Founder and CEO Lamine Zarrad founded Stellar as a Public Benefit Corporation with the mission to disrupt the poverty cycle by enabling financial equity through credit building.
“As an immigrant and a former enlisted Marine, I know how difficult it is to build and maintain financial stability. With Stellar, we wanted to distill years of learnings into a simple app that transforms ordinary household bills into value-generating assets. I am absolutely thrilled to embark on this journey with an amazing crew and top-notch investors!”
Previously, Zarrad founded the nation’s first all-inclusive neobank for independent professionals, Joust, which was acquired in 2020 by ZenBusiness. As Head of Product at ZenBusiness, Zarrad helped the company become a FinTech Unicorn.
The round was led by Acrew Capital and co-led by Trust Ventures with participation from Accomplice Ventures, Fiat Ventures, Vera Equity, Permit Ventures, Kindergarten Ventures, and angel investors. Funding will be used to deploy Stellar’s financial platform and open up access to millions with poor or no credit history.
“Acrew is thrilled to partner with Stellar,” said John Gardner, Executive in Residence at Acrew Capital. “We're steadfast supporters in mission-driven companies building toward a more inclusive financial future. Through their collective lived experiences with credit challenges, Lamine and his team have a clear and innate understanding of their customers' financial wellness needs. Building back credit often feels punitive and inflexible –Stellar aims to completely overhaul this.”
“Credit is crucial to pursuing so many opportunities—from buying a car to paying for college—but millions of Americans lack access to credit because the current system is broken.” said Brian Tochman, General Partner at Trust Ventures. “Stellar is knocking down the obstacles that stand in the way of people who have been shut out, and helping them achieve the stability and security they dream of. Trust Ventures is proud to support Stellar in their mission to transform access to credit as we know it.”
Stellar aspires to reverse the failures built into the U.S. credit system. Backing Stellar’s mission, the round will provide a much-needed push to revolutionize the credit industry—an industry that has had little-to-no change for decades.