Few things are easy in our financial organization if you don’t have regular employment. It’s hard to prove( regular) income, which makes applying for a charge card or personal loan much more difficult and time-consuming. That’s particularly tough, since freelancer income is variable, and these sort of income-smoothing tools can be critical to make ends meet. Despite those challenges, freelancing is the new normal: If current trends hold true, a majority of the workforce in America could be freelancers within 10 years.
SF-based startup Oxygen hopes to give those freelances some breathing room in their fiscal lives. Through a digital banking app and a membership program, the startup gives freelancers simple access to credit that can be pulled down or paid off instantaneously at any time.
The company has raised $2.3 million in the first open of its seed round from investors including Digital Horizon Capital and Cynthia Chen. It participated in Y Combinator’s accelerator program last summer.
Hussein Ahmed, the founder and CEO of Oxygen, is used to breaking down old-time the organizations and understands the acute ache of freelancers. A single founder originally from Egypt, Ahmed drove as a consultant in the Bay Area after get his MBA at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and his PhD in Computer Science at Virginia Tech. “I tried to take a loan out from LendingClub” and they couldn’t verify his income, he explained to me. They then “asked for 10 pages of documentation” because he was a freelancer.
That experience was ultimately lead to the core give of Oxygen, which is efficient and on-going access to a personal credit line. “When you have this cash flow problem, you can merely make one tap, ” Ahmed said. “Open the app, take the money out and repay it whenever you can.”
Oxygen is unique in that it doesn’t cost costs for taking out a loan, but instead assesses a monthly membership fee of $29.99 if a user outlines down their credit limit. “If you aren’t using the currency substitute then you aren’t the monthly fee, ” he said. That simulate seems attractive to at least some freelancers, as Oxygen has checked 80 percent month-over-month rise since its November launch, according to Ahmed.
The company has also taken advantage of some key growth hackers. Oxygen bought advertising on the back of SF Muni bus, which is significantly less visible and popular than advertising on the side of a bus where pedestrians on sidewalks are more likely to see them. Ahmed, though, discovered possibility. We “decided to go for the back of the bus which is 10 x cheaper than the side of the bus, but if you are working for Instagram or DoorDash, then you are actually expending your epoch behind the bus, ” he explained.
In addition to Digital Horizon Capital and Cynthia Chen, Oxygen received funding from ZMT Capital( China ), Locus Ventures, Endure Capital, PioneerFund, Magic City, Light Bridge, Strawberry Creek, Base Ventures, The House Fund and Sam Yam.