Freelancer banking startup Lili raises $15M – TechCrunch
It’s only been a few months since Lili announced its $ 10 million starting round, and more funding has already been raised – namely a $ 15 million Series A.
Founded by CEO Lilac Bar David and CTO Liran Zelkha, the startup creates a bank account and related products for freelancers with features like early access to direct deposits and the ability to set a percentage of income for taxes.
The account (and associated Visa debit card) are free of overdraft fees or minimum balance requirements. Bar David said the company only makes money on card processing fees.
She also said the platform has seen rapid growth this year. Since the pandemic began, transactions have increased 700% and nearly 100,000 accounts have been opened since it started in 2019.
Bar David suggested that the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19 has caused (or forced) more professionals – like programmers and digital marketers – to go into freelance work. Meanwhile, she’s also seen “a big shift from part-time freelancers to full-time freelancers”.
Bar David predicted that the recent growth in the freelance economy will not simply go away once the pandemic is over as workers discover the benefits of freelance work.
“When you have a 9-to-5 job, you are dependent on an employer,” she said. “If something happens, you’re unemployed … When you have a diversified customer base, you don’t need just one source of income.”
In the past few months, Lili has added new features such as automatically generated quarterly income and expense reports, a digital debit card (which customers can use before the physical card is mailed), and the ability to send and receive money through Google Pay ( Lili already supported Cash App and Venmo).
Bar David said the startup decided to raise more funds to expand its engineering team and further accelerate its growth. Apparently, it was preparing for a traditional Series A fundraising process (although it was conducted in the middle of a pandemic), but “our current investors have been so impressed with the product market fit and growth” that they were ready to fund almost the whole new round.
Hence, Serie A was spearheaded by former investor group 11, which included Foundation Capital, AltaIR Capital, Primary Venture Partners and Torch Capital – along with new backer Zeev Ventures.
“As the global workforce continues to evolve, we are excited to lead another round of funding to help Lili capitalize on unprecedented demand and offer a completely new solution that helps freelancers seamlessly save time and money,” said Dovi Frances from Group 11 in a statement.