Banking giant BBVA and VC firm Anthemis have backed U.K.-based Wollit in a $1.3 million (£1 million) Seed round.
Founded last year, Wollit aims to support the 43% of U.K. residents who lack a stable income by helping gig economy workers and independent contractors smooth out their cashflow.
Wollit will use the funds to fuel its flagship product, the Wollit Income Promise. According to Wollit CEO Liad Shababo, the new tool “offers a financial safety net for the 14 million U.K. workers whose income fluctuates from month to month.”
The Wollit Income Promise is different from credit cards and loans because it personalizes financing to each user’s individual financial situation. When workers earn less than usual, Wollit provides interest-free top-ups that the user repays once they start earning more.
“With this, we set to end [gig workers’] monthly gamble of feast or famine and provide a safer, more sustainable option than the short-term, risky alternatives,” said Shababo. “Wollit is here to establish a new status quo in financial services. We want to make sure everyone has access to financial wellbeing.”
The investment is one of the first from the BBVA & Anthemis Venture Creation Partnership, which was formed in 2018. “The BBVA & Anthemis Venture Creation Partnership identifies early-stage fintech companies who are looking for both financial and strategic support to accelerate the growth of their business,” said Farhan Lalji, Principal at Anthemis. “This means Wollit now has access to mentors and resources inside the Anthemis and BBVA ecosystems beyond pure capital – including product development, data science, business development, and talent resources – as they grow their business.”
Startups such as Wollit underscore society’s need for financial services geared toward the gig economy. Banks have historically failed to serve consumers with unpredictable income. As Ron Shevlin points out in his piece Gig Economy Banking Is Booming (And Banks Are Missing The Boat), fintechs and challenger banks have been the first to take a chance on this growing consumer segment by serving them with unique products and services that cater to their fluctuating income.