B9 sets out to boost alternative for unbanked with further raise

B9, aimed at helping the unbanked and those targeted by predatory lenders, has raised £2.6m.

The round was led by Sky Light Invest and included Mbanq and the founders of Wrike.

B9 has developed a fast-growing payroll solution platform, aimed at promoting creditworthiness through employment data and economic behaviour.

In 2021 it raised $5 million in seed capital from angel syndicates and angel investors.

B9 was founded by fintech veterans with extensive consumer finance experience across four continents. It’s customers are mainly first or second-generation immigrants.

B9 aims to help eliminate predatory lending with a no-interest (0% APR) pay advance offer. This feature helps customers who are outside the traditional banking system get bank-grade services on excellent terms, providing financial inclusion for people who are new to the US.

“While inflation is rising everywhere, it’s especially devastating to households with already tight budgets – which is why it’s imperative for us to move at the speed of light to get these solutions across the finish line,” said B9 CEO Sergio Terentev, who previously co-founded and led a NASDAQ-listed FinTech company Qiwi, prior to launching B9. “B9 is in growing demand – our customers have deposited paychecks from more than 14,000 companies, including Amazon, Walmart, Lyft, Uber, DoorDash, Instacart, and the US Postal Service, and that number is growing rapidly.

“We consistently strive to provide low-income markets with the banking services they need for how they live and work today. The economic environment, which is conducive to unprecedented demand, and the quality of B9 solutions allow us to reach profitability by the end of this year, just one year after we began operations.

“As the FinTech industry is one of our key focus areas, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to invest in a company like B9, which is paving the way for the future of banking for immigrant communities and other underrepresented groups,” said Anton Gazizov, CEO at Sky Light Invest. “Most of us have encountered at some point the deficiencies of the classical banking system, unfair exchange rates, unavailability of multi-currency cards, and so on. With FinTech companies often being much faster in identifying client needs and creating efficient, high-demand products to meet them, we look forward to seeing continued growth for B9.”

Since 2021, B9 has achieved $7.5m in total funding and revenue growth from $7,000 to $2m ARR in just 11 months. It has additionally doubled its revenue from January 2022 to date.

The company plans to use the funds to invest in product development, specifically to release inflation-fighting and revenue-generating features that help customers who are underserved by the traditional banks stretch their paycheck to accommodate the current economic circumstances.

Recently, the company announced the launch of a new debit card and cashback program that gives back to B9 members up to 4% of the value of their transactions to help fight inflation.