Wagestream, a social FinTech startup founded in 2018, closed its Series A funding round with £15m in 2019. In addition to this they had obtained a credit facility of up to £25m by Shawbrook Bank LINK. This brings the total up to £40m, which for a social fintech startup that had only been running for a year, it was extremely impressive.
By 2022 the company has already more than £79 total funding and have reached the USA, Australia, and Spain market.
Tackling Payday Poverty
Wagestream, put simply, allows employees to withdraw a percentage of the wages that they’ve already earned during that month, at any point. This means that employees don’t have to wait 28 days to see their hard-earned cash – they can get paid whenever they request it via Wagestream’s simple to use App. This is beneficial for low-income families that get an unexpected cash crisis but don’t have the savings to cover it. Examples could be an insurance pay-out, appliance replacement or an end of month birthday party. For the flat fee of £1.75 a go, Wagestream allows them to get early access to some of their wages.
Payday loans, credit card use, and overdraft interests can be easier to avoid thanks to this social FinTech startup. As a result, workers say that they have a lower level of financial stress and appreciate the flexibility of access to their wages. Furthermore, the app also teaches financial literacy to the employees so that they can learn how to spend and save their wages more effectively. This leads to an overall better financial health, which in turn helps to eradicate those ‘Poverty Premiums’ and unfair interest rates.
Wagestream boasts of a 20% productivity increase by the employees who use their service. Workers opt for more overtime and can withdraw this extra pay straight after their shift, meaning they can enjoy the fruits of their labor in real-time. Furthermore, the extra control over their wages and flexibility means that employee retention and even job applications have seen a large increase in companies that offer Wagestream’s service.
The Future of Social FinTech Startup investments
“Hopefully this is the start of a new wave of ‘social venturing’, where leading European VCs get behind tech businesses with a social purpose,” said Briffett, Wagestream Co-founded. As we already know, interest in Social Impact Investment has increased considerably with investors over the years. Now the question is whether this landmark investment will create a tipping point for the investment interest in social FinTech startups?