Sydney startup Earnd, now Wagestream, raises $236M Sequence C to deliver monetary wellbeing to workers

Wagestream, the monetary wellbeing app based by charities, designed for workers and constructed round pay, has closed a $236 million AUD Sequence C funding spherical – believed to be the most important ever raised for a social affect fintech firm. The funding contains $81 million fairness funding led by new buyers Smash Capital, BlackRock, and $155 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Financial institution.

Earnd, the Sydney-based monetary wellbeing startup launched in 2018 and bought by UK-based Wagestream final 12 months, has now formally re-branded as Wagestream. The Sequence C capital can be primarily used to scale up Wagestream’s presence exterior the U.Ok. – together with Australia, the place hundreds of workers can already entry the app by means of employers together with Pizza Hut, Hungry Jack’s, JD Sports activities, BPAY, Freedom Furnishings and Carnival Australia. 

The rise in price of residing in Australia continues to outstrip wage rises, leaving the common employee greater than $800 worse off in 2021. With a social constitution at its core, Wagestream was based by a gaggle of monetary charities to unravel this downside – giving these staff easy accessibility to a set of truthful monetary companies, delivered by means of their employer and constructed round versatile pay (also referred to as earned wage entry). 

Harnessing the ability of versatile pay, Wagestream is a complete answer for monetary wellbeing which supplies workers the power to trace their shifts and pay day-after-day, select their very own pay cycle to align with their payments and bills, set and obtain cash targets with automated financial savings and chat to a private cash coach after they want extra assist.

Katie Duxbury, Head of Payroll Companies at Bupa, which rolled out the app to its workforce in 2021, mentioned: “Wagestream has been superb for our folks. By providing a spread of charity-backed monetary wellbeing instruments constructed round pay, we’ve been in a position to empower them to construct higher monetary well being – all managed by means of one sensible app.”

“Previously, many employers seen monetary wellbeing within the office as a long-term aspiration; now they realise it’s a disaster, however one they will do one thing about,” mentioned Josh Vernon, co-founder of Earnd and now CEO of Wagestream Australia. “For instance, 93% of firms we not too long ago surveyed plan to place a monetary wellbeing program in place – up from 51% only one 12 months in the past. By addressing the monetary wellbeing of their folks, employers turn out to be the hero and remedy their very own HR challenges within the course of – from recruitment, to retention, to productiveness.”

Staff entry Wagestream by means of employers in industries resembling hospitality, healthcare and retail, who subsidise the service. Constructed round current monetary inclusion and wellbeing analysis, the app gives a wide range of instruments to simplify cash administration and assist folks enhance their monetary well being over time. 

The funding spherical is led by new buyers Smash Capital – a U.S.-based funding agency targeted on later-stage shopper Web and know-how firms. Smash’s prior investments embrace Epic Video games, Reddit, SonderMind, and DuckDuckGo, amongst others. Smash’s founders beforehand led investments for The Walt Disney Firm and main enterprise capital companies. The spherical additionally contains new buyers, BlackRock and joined by follow-on investments from current shareholders Balderton Capital, Northzone, charity fund Honest By Design, and new financing from Silicon Valley Financial institution.

“The mix of monetary exclusion and a rising price of residing have created extreme monetary stress for hard-working People,” mentioned Brad Twohig, managing companion at Smash Capital. “We’ve invested in Wagestream as a result of its workforce has reimagined the world of labor making it extra accessible and rewarding for tens of millions of individuals.”

Emma Steele, Companion at Ascension (which manages the Honest By Design fund), provides: “it’s time for fintech companies to achieve and embrace the two.7bn international frontline workforce in a good monetary system. As a pre-seed backer of Wagestream, we’ve watched the enterprise shortly evolve from its ‘beachhead’ versatile pay instrument proposition to a worldwide fintech scale-up, bringing a broad vary of monetary wellbeing instruments to over a million folks and rising at a formidable scale. We’re so happy with what the workforce continues to realize – they’re an plain proof that purpose-led imaginative and prescient and business scale go hand in hand.”

Half-owned by charities and affect funds, Wagestream is accountable to an Affect Advisory Board and is the one supplier in its sector to be a member of the Monetary Inclusion Motion Plan (FIAP) – the monetary inclusion and wellbeing initiative led by Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, the Centre for Social Affect and EY. It additionally publishes a bi-annual Affect Evaluation, which tracks the affect of its monetary companies on end-customers. The app outperforms international benchmarks on monetary inclusion set by impartial affect measurement agency, 60 Decibels, with 77% of individuals reporting feeling much less confused, and 72% reporting an improved high quality of life.

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